Home of Economy-Herald pie contestant Tammy Schmitz broadcasts her love of cooking
Schmitz is sponsored by her employer, Alerus.
GRAND FORKS – Tammy Schmitz enjoys cooking. Of course, anyone who is friends with her on Facebook already knows that.
Schmitz has compiled some 40 cooking videos, most of which she streams live and then publishes on Facebook – entirely for the fun of it.
“I just try to show people how to cook for themselves,” she said. “I like to throw things together, just naturally – what would you like to have for supper? I don’t follow a lot of recipes.”
Whereas cooking obviously brings her joy, she is quick to note she’s not an expert baker.
“Baking,” she said, “will be a challenge for me.”
Schmitz is among 16 bakers who will be competing for a first prize worth at least $1,000 in the Home of Economy-Herald Greater Grand Forks Pie Bake-off, a competition that seeks out the best pie-bakers in the community and beyond. She is sponsored by Alerus, where she is a corporate project manager.
“This will be my first time actually competing,” she said, noting that she’s excited to represent her workplace in the contest. “I think it will be fun.”
In the weeks leading up to the start of the contest, she’s been practicing, both at work and at home. In June, Alerus held an employee event in hopes of seeking out potential bakers; Schmitz delivered, serving her take on key lime and rhubarb-berry pies to her coworkers. Rhubarb-berry could be her first choice for the first round of the pie bake-off.
“The rhubarb-berry came out strong,” she said.
And if she advances past the first round?
“Maybe something outside of the box. Maybe lemon,” she said.
In a bio sent to the Herald, she said her husband, Roger, “loves to cook and adventure as much as I do.”
Schmitz – a Grand Forks mother of four grown children/step-children who in her free time also is a consultant for Pampered Chef – grew up on a farm near Buxton, where “there was always food around.” There were cookies in the oven and both of her grandmothers were good pie bakers.
“Growing up on a farm, cooking was a part of our daily lives. My mom is an amazing home cook and I learned from her. Going through pictures, there are pictures of me cooking lefse with my grandma in the early days, grinding potato dumplings with my grandpa in the kitchen where my parents lived and I grew up,” said Schmitz. “It was part of something that we always did and learned. I just have always cooked for fun.”
She said she plans to have fun in the contest, too – no matter how her work is judged.
“The fact that we are not going to have to bake in front of people makes me a little less freaked out. You have an opportunity to figure things out. I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m a little anxious, but it will be fun trying.”