Joy The Baker Issues The Incredible Egg Challenge And Shares First Time Baking Tips - Exclusive Interview

Joy Wilson, most widely known as Joy the Baker, has been helping cooks and bakers to achieve delicious results in the kitchen for years. While Wilson has been sharing recipes, tips, and tricks on the internet since 2008, her blog isn't the only location to find her recipes. Wilson is also the author of three cookbooks, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of "Joy the Baker" magazine, which can be found on most grocery store shelves.

Wilson's passion for food is inspiring, as she teaches cooks and bakers how to pull it off at home. And with her love for eggs (and chocolate!), she has joined the American Egg Board in hosting the Incredible Egg Challenge this spring. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Joy Wilson shared all about how she got her start in baking, her top tips and tricks for those just getting started in the kitchen, her opinion on the ideal Easter brunch menu, and her surprising feelings about fast food.

How Joy the Baker got her start in baking

How did you get your start in baking? What sparked your interest?

Oh, taking it away back. I started baking when I was a kid. I feel like everyone experiments in the kitchen when they're young. My motivation was that my family was very health conscious, and they were early-adopter health food enthusiasts, and '80s health food was not good. The loophole in our family was that if you could make it from scratch, you could have it. I found a box of unsweetened chocolate in the pantry. I tried to eat it at first and I was like, "No, no, doesn't work. Okay." There were directions on the back, grabbed some eggs from the fridge, some sugar. I made brownies and that started me off baking. I've loved it ever since.

You're completely self-taught. Is that correct?

Yeah, I'm self-taught. I've worked in a ton of restaurants in every position from the back of the house to the front of the house, but yeah, I didn't go to pastry school. I learned the hard way with my people yelling at me in kitchens.

Joy the Baker shares about her partnership with the Incredible Egg

Tell us about your partnership with The Incredible Egg. What is the Incredible Egg Challenge all about?

It's very exciting. It's the second annual Incredible Egg Challenge and I get to be on as the host of the challenge. We have three competitors this year: chefs, crafters, bakers, and they have three challenges each week. The first challenge is a brunch counter, where they're highlighting eggs with all these beautiful brunch dishes. The second challenge is a dessert challenge, and then the third is an egg decorating challenge. You can really highlight the versatility of eggs through all of these different challenges.

And there's a component for other people to join in. Is that correct?

Oh yeah, totally. Everyone can participate by voting at home. Each week, they can choose their favorite challenger's creation and go online. It's and vote, which is so cute. We'll announce the winner on April 12th.

Joy the Baker's favorite spring ingredients and dishes for Easter brunch

What are some of your favorite spring ingredients to incorporate into recipes?

The ingredients I love to incorporate with eggs during the spring, because I feel like eggs are so synonymous with spring, I like to pair my eggs with fresh, bright ingredients. I find myself reaching for lots of herbs, like parsley and tarragon and chives, all of those ingredients and elements that remind me of fresh grass, like new growth. I like to incorporate that into my egg cooking this time of year.

What is your idea of the perfect Easter menu, whether for brunch or dinner?

I'm not much of a lamb person. I know that lamb is pretty traditional on Easter. I'm like, "Please no, that seems like a lot."

Yeah. Skip that.

I really love to make a simple quiche. Sometimes, I make several quiches, one with maybe a meat in it, like Quiche Lorraine with ham or bacon, one with vegetables. I made one that was a potato and leek quiche earlier this week. I like to do a couple quiches and some baked goods. We'll do some muffins. It's an ultimate brunch spread. We have sweet and savory.

What is your favorite homemade dessert, whether from your childhood or something you like to make all the time now?

My favorite homemade dessert is, and I don't get to make it all that often in New Orleans because of the humidity, but I love either a meringue or an angel food cake — meringue with soft whipped cream on top and fresh berries. I love all those textures, and then I also really love a simple angel food cake with whipped cream and berries.

Joy the Baker's top kitchen tips and tools

What are some of your top baking tips for people that are just getting started?

They're pretty simple. They might seem very obvious to people, but they're my tips because people don't do them. My first tip is, I tell new bakers to read the recipe. I know it sounds crazy, but read the recipe before you start baking, because there might be a little step ahead that you haven't anticipated that you're not familiar with. Reading a recipe is always super helpful. I tell people that baking is all about time and temperature. Temperature is really important to baking. You want your ingredients, as the recipe often calls for, to be at certain temperatures, because you're looking for certain reactions. You want your butter to be at room temperature so that it can cream with sugar. You want your eggs to be at room temperature so that they can fluff up well in the oven. Those little details are not for nothing, is what I tell new bakers.

What is the one kitchen tool that every baker must have?

Every baker must have a heat-proof spatula that you only use for baked goods. You're not stirring your stir fry or your sautéed onions with that spatula. It is your baking spatula and you put it in the drawer, and yes, that's important.

What's the one ingredient in the kitchen that you can't live without?

Oh gosh, not possible, there's so many. It has to be two, it has to be eggs and chocolate. We cannot do without those things.

Where Joy the Baker finds inspiration, her favorite chefs, and fast food orders

Where or who do you look to for inspiration when you're developing new recipes?

I love the classics. I find myself ... there's classics and then there's new blood in the baking world. I always look to Julia Child and Dorie Greenspan. They also worked together. They're like my baking queens, and then, I find myself on TikTok, lost to the world. What is happening here? It's fascinating. I wouldn't say that I find tangible inspiration there, but sometimes it's so interesting to see what people do with cake mixes, with Jell-Os. You're like, "Okay, so this is how some people bake. Show me, I'm curious." There's a lot there.

Who is the one chef that you'd like to have cook you dinner?

Nigella Lawson, obviously.

That was quick!

I want to be in her house. I want her to be wearing something beautiful. Oh, my gosh, can you imagine? It'd be great.

What is your go-to fast food order and at which restaurant? Do you have like a guilty pleasure fast food?

My God, I love fast food. I love it so much.

Not In-N-Out fries, though. I saw that you posted that.

They're trash. They're upsetting. It's rude how bad [they are]. I love McDonald's French fries. I will eat anything off the Taco Bell menu, I don't know why. I just started, you know, I go to Texas a lot now and Whataburger is legit. It's very good. So yeah, I'm an enthusiast.

Follow along with Joy the Baker on Instagram. Learn more about The Incredible Egg Challenge and vote for your favorites each Monday.