Made For TV: Carrie Baird of “Top Chef”

Executive Chef Carrie Baird of Bar Dough represents Denver on Bravo’s reality competition series “Top Chef”

Executive Chef Carrie Baird of Bar Dough is one busy lady. After stints at rioja and Euclid Hall, Baird made time to join the season 15 cast of “Top Chef.” DiningOut chatted with Baird about her experience on the show and where Denver is heading as a food destination.

DiningOut: Was the premiere the first time you ever saw yourself on TV?

Carrie Baird: Yeah, 100%. My picture was in the paper once when I was a teenager, but never TV until now!

What was it like working with the other talented chefs on the show?

All of us have skills—we run restaurants and cook for a living. I think that’s the appeal of “Top Chef,” you have to have the chops to be there and it’s hard, it’s so hard. But over the course of the show, we got to know each other really well.

What did you learn about yourself as a chef from the experience?

That I’m way tougher than I thought I was. I’m pretty cool under pressure, which was pretty neat to discover. I’m good at service, but I’ve been doing that my whole adult life. To be thrown into an entirely different type of pressure and stress, well, I handled it pretty well and I surprised myself.

What was it like filming in your hometown?

It was tough, the cast lived in a house together for two months. I live in Capitol Hill so I would see my house every day and my cat in the window. I was flagged as a flight risk because I lived four blocks from the cast house, but we weren’t allowed to leave. It was torture.

What does mentoring mean to you as a chef?

I love my mentor Jennifer Jasinski, she did so much for me in every way. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here. I hope to keep that teaching mentality going.

Where do you see the direction of the Denver food scene heading?

I think what’s neat about where we are heading is that so many people are moving to Denver, so you get so many different cultures and influences. Denver is creating its own hybrid cuisine. I see so many people coming here with these different roots and cultures, so there’s this unique and tasty food scene growing. We don’t have to be defined; we’re not New York, we’re Colorado. I think Denver deserves this recognition, and Bar Dough is at the forefront which is really cool.

Peter Gietl