The Untold Truth Of Baked In Vermont

Vermont may be best known for its maple syrup and ice cream, but it's also home to a number of great bakeries. King Arthur Flour, Klinger's, and other prominent New England baking operations all got their start in Vermont. It's no wonder, then, that celebrity baker Gesine Bullock-Prado chose the tiny state as the headquarters for her famous baking school, Sugar Glider Kitchen, and as the setting for her Food Network program "Baked in Vermont."

Bullock-Prado's last name might ring a bell. She is the younger sister of Sandra Bullock, and the high-performing siblings' careers have frequently overlapped. Before her career in baking, Prado-Bullock trained as a lawyer at Southwestern Law School and joined the California State Bar at the age of 27. In 1995 she co-founded Fortis Films with her sister, the production company behind some of Bullock's highest-grossing films (via Variety). Prado-Bullock served as lawyer and president of Fortis for nearly decade, before upping stakes to settle with her husband in Vermont.

"Baked in Vermont" taps into the former-lawyer/movie-producer's long-time passion for baking. Almost immediately upon arriving in Vermont, she opened a bakery in Montpelier (Gesine Confectionary), which ran from 2005 to 2008, as Burlington Free Press reports. She then launched Sugar Glider Kitchen, a baking school run out of her 18th century farmhouse (via Discovery). "Baked in Vermont," which originally aired in 2017, chronicles the goings-on at Sugar Glider, with Prado hosting friends and family and demonstrating a wide range of baking recipes.

A family tradition

In an interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Prado shared that her love of baking started at an early age, and is closely tied to her relationship with her mother, Helga. Prado's mother was high-achieving: a professional opera-singer, the mother of two would regularly travel overseas for performances and sometimes bring her daughters along, as reported in The Guardian. She was also, according to Prado , a "health food nut" –– both a vegan and a macrobiotic –– and took great care with the kinds of food she provided her family.

Prado's only reprieves from healthy eating were family trips to Germany every summer, where she had access to German-staples like pork and sugar. But besides overseas holidays, Prado's mother was also an accomplished baker in her right, and would "pull out the stops" on special occasions, allowing her children to eat sweets and baked goods. It was the passing of her mother in 2000 that motivated Prado to put law and film production aside and pursue her passion in baking.

No place like home

"Baked in Vermont," much like Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa," is produced in the host's own home kitchen. Prado lives in an 18th century Vermont farmhouse with an adjacent custom-built bakery, Sugar Glider Kitchen. The building was originally a carriage house belonging to an historic tavern. Fully renovated, Sugar Glider Kitchen is sleek and modern-looking, with plenty of stainless steel and polished wood. It was recently outfitted with two industry-grade UNOX steam-injection ovens, as shared on Prado's Instagram account.

Prado moved to Vermont in 2004 with her husband, Raymond Prado, who first introduced her to the Green Mountain State, as Prado told Burlington Free Press. After a few years in Montpelier, the state capital, they settled further south in Hartford. Besides Prado and her husband, the Hartford property is home to a motley crew of two dogs, two cats, three ducks, five chickens, and one goose. The life seems to agree with her. ""I write my books, I teach my classes, I have to get outside because I have these animals to take care of. It's this really lovely, bucolic routine," she told Burlington Free Press.

A passion for teaching

After making the jump from the administrative side of the entertainment industry, Prado's career in baking was, itself, full of twists and turns. Upon arrival in Vermont she quickly founded Gesine Confectionary in Montpelier, a commercial bakery which ran for about three years, as Burlington Free Press reports. After relocating to Hartford and opening Sugar Glider Kitchen, she transitioned into teaching, offering lessons to small classes of students. Of her transition out of commercial baking, Prado remarks on her website that "all that business was cramping [my] relationship with butter and sugar."

Sugar Glider has thrived as a baking school and partly on the strength of that success Prado secured her Food Network show in 2017, and a series renewal in 2018 (via Burlington Free Press). Even after making her jump back into the entertainment industry, Prado continues to teach baking, and classes at the Sugar Glider Kitchen normally sell out within minutes of opening.

Powering through 2020

Like many other cooking and baking shows, "Baked in Vermont" sat out much of 2020. The first season of "Baked" had a run of six 30-minute episodes, and returned in May of 2018 with another 10. In its first few years it has generated a decent amount of buzz, with searches for the show's title peaking around the air dates of seasons one and two (via Google Trends). In terms of audience, "Baked in Vermont" has found a reasonable following: according to Parrot Analytics it ranks in about the 70th percentile among all reality shows for audience demand.

Since 2018, Prado has served as judge on many baking shows, most recently on Food Network's "Best Baker In America," and her involvement in these might account for a quiet 2020 for "Baked in Vermont." The Sugar Glider Kitchen, meanwhile, has temporarily closed as a baking school, due to COVID-restrictions, but Prado plans to begin offering classes once again this summer and fall. During her off time in early 2020, she kept busy with a King Arthur Flour-sponsored baking show with Jeffrey Hamelman, titled "The Isolation Baking Show" (posted on YouTube).

No word yet on Season Three

Fans of "Baking in Vermont" will have to keep waiting for news of the show's third season. Both Series Date and Premiere Date confirm that the Food Network program does not, as of yet, have a third season in the works. Delay of a third installment may be due Prado's chock-a-block schedule: after wrapping the second season of "Baked" in 2018 she began a campaign of television appearances, now in its third year, giving interviews on talk shows and serving as a guest judge on numerous baking shows.

Currently her baking talents are on loan to Food Network's "Best Baker in America," now in its third year. Prado also published a cookbook in late 2018, "Fantastical Cakes: Incredible Creations for the Baker in Anyone" (one more title for her growing bibliography), while maintaining classes at Sugar Glider Kitchen and residencies at King Arthur Flour in Vermont and Stonewall Kitchen in Maine. Needless to say, by the time season three airs, there will be plenty of catching up to do.