Gay man gets on Food Network; Competes for $25K
By: Audrey Cole/Reporter—
BOSTON—What initially began as a festive family tradition to “go all out” for the holiday season, turned into Bostonian Kobe Doan landing a coveted spot as one of ten bakers vying for a $25,000 grand prize on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship.
A local dental office insurance professional by day, and a baking connoisseur by night, Doan hopes he makes the LGBTQ+ community he belongs to proud by being out on a national TV platform. As someone who did not grow up celebrating the holidays, Doan is basking in the magic of the season.
In this exclusive interview with The Rainbow Times, Doan shared his inspiration for baking and how competing on the show has helped to expand his family and his skillset. He delves into a world of passion and pride, of strength and adversity, and explains why macaroons will never be foolproof.
Q: What did it mean to be selected for the Holiday Baking Championship on the Food Network?
A: I grew up watching the Food Network. I chose watching it over watching cartoons (or any other channels, for that matter). Doing so, my passion for food grew into an obsession! It meant the world to me. It was a dream come true.
Q: When did you first start baking? Do you do it professionally?
A: I’ve started baking here and there for quite some time. It has only become more serious in the past 2 years. Baking is now my stress relief. The outcome of your creations is just so satisfying! I do not do it professionally; I am a home-baker who thrives to become better over time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pursue it as a full-time career, which is my goal.
Q: What do you think it represents to have a member of the LGBTQ+ community as a contestant on the show? Are you “out” on the show?
A: I am out on the show, and pretty proud of it. It’s hard to judge what it represents, but I hope I set an example for those who are struggling to be themselves. I hope they can use me as a means to be who they are without being afraid to do so. Life throws many challenges at you. It’ll be hard … very hard at times … but it does get better. I hope the audience can see past that I am [a member] of the LGBTQ+ community, and instead focus on how happy I am being who I am. I hope to do the LGBTQ+ community proud.
Q: What is your favorite thing to bake when you aren’t in the kitchen?
A: My favorite thing to bake is macaroons—I have spent countless hours, days, weeks, _months_ to perfect a recipe of my own. These cookies will never be foolproof! Temperature, weather, ingredients … anything can ruin your batch. I’ve had countless occasions where I’m crouched beside the kitchen cabinet having a Julie & Julia moment basically crying hysterically! (laughs)
Q: Why is holiday baking particularly important to you?
A: Holiday baking is important because it’s a season my husband and I choose to celebrate all out. We invite all our friends and family to come celebrate with us. I was not fortunate enough to grow up celebrating holidays, so I promised myself once I have a family of my own it is a must! Now that I have a family, holiday celebrations are another dream come true.
Q: What is the grand prize from the show?
A: The grand prize is $25,000 and the winner will give a live cooking class on the Food Network Kitchen app!
Q: We are in suspense. When will we know if you’ve won?
A: You’ll have to tune in to the Food Network: Holiday Baking Championship to find out! It airs at 8 CST/9 EST time. However, I’ve already won the experience of a lifetime! I’ve made friends for life with the contestants. We chat nearly every day and I miss them so much! My dream of being on [the] Food Network also came true. The experience alone is worth more than the prize itself! (laughs)
And, just maybe that grand prize will go to Doan.