Life Is What You Bake It by Vallery Lomas Cookbook Review with Video

Life Is What You Bake It by Vallery Lomas. I bought this cookbook, read every word TWICE and baked several recipes. Was it worth it??

Who is Vallery Lomas?

Vallery Lomas competed on the Great American Baking Show, Season 3, on ABC Network. She didn’t just compete – SHE WON! But you most likely never saw her bake in the tent.

Like me, Vallery dreamed of making a name for herself in the Baking World and she hoped that baking in the tent of Great British Baking Show fame would spur her in that direction.

But Vallery, along with the other bakers from season 3, ended up being collateral damage when allegations were made against one of the judges. All of the hard work, sweat and tears would be for nothing.

Or so it seemed.

When I began to follow Vallery on social media, I quickly realized that not much can keep her down.

Vallery has taken the lemons that life handed her and turned them into sweet and delicious lemon curd. (She used the hashtag #lemonstolemoncurd after the show and allegations went public). All of those hopes that seemed to be dashed and dreams that seemed to be busted have become a reality thanks to Vallery’s hard work, ingenuity, and perseverance.

I highly recommend that you follow her on Instagram @foodieinnewyork

as well as on her blog, Foodie in New York so that you can keep up with the amaing things that are sure to come.

Vallery Lomas from the Great American Baking Show, Season 3 Winner!
Vallery Lomas in the Tent, Photo by Mark Bourdillon for ABC

Who is this book for?

I read through this book for the first time in bits and pieces so that I could absorb each section individually. In a lot of cookbooks, I tend to want to skip the ‘story’ pages but I found myself reading every single word. Maybe it’s because I feel like Vallery is family since we have both been through the rigors of the Tent. Or maybe it’s because her writing is just so darn engaging.

In Life Is What You Bake It, Vallery shares many of her personal life experiences while masterfully relating them to baking.

She even made me cry! Who cries while reading a cookbook, you ask? Well, me, I guess. I don’t have recipes that have been passed down in my family. I don’t have stories of learning to make biscuits with Grandma while I balanced on a step stool to reach the counter. But I almost feel like I was there in the kitchen with Vallery and her family. The stories couldn’t be more precious. (Watch the video for more on this.)

I also sympathize greatly with Vallery’s struggles that she describes through the audition process and while filming the Great American Baking Show. I will never know the anquish of her win not being aired. But we share a similar passion for baking for others and connecting with people around the world through food.

I don’t think that you have to be a former contestant to enjoy Vallery’s book and love the stories. This book is for everyone, from brand new, beginners to experienced bakers. Everyone will learn something from the techniques that Vallery uses as well as the inspiration to work hard to get where you want to be!

You can buy the book from Amazon at this link:

What Do I Think of the Recipes in Life Is What You Bake It?

I chose three recipes to bake from Life Is What You Bake It – Mint Chocolate Moon Pies, Brioche and Banoffee Pie (I made minis!).

Each of these recipes, as well as the rest of the recipes in the book, are superbly written. Vallery describes each step of a recipe with enough detail to walk you through it without making you feel like a 2-year-old.

Let me explain. Some recipes can be written in a way that beginning bakers are not able to complete the recipe and are often afraid to try. Some one else could write the exact same recipe so that beginners will succeed but accomplished bakers won’t give it the time of day because it has been simplified and explained to death.

Vallery has found the perfect balance when writing the recipes in Life Is What You Bake It. Newbies and experienced bakers alike will feel comfortable with her instructions and will have successful results.

The inspiration for the recipes in this book are right up my alley since most of them come from the different places that Vallery has lived or visited. Others are inspired by special people in her life. You will cherish them just as she does.

Baker’s Trust

There is a thing that I heard a fellow baker refer to as ‘baker’s trust’. (That fellow baker was Andrea Maranville from GABS, Season 4!) What she means is that an experienced baker just KNOWS that a recipe will work if it is from a baker that they trust. No testing needed – it WILL be good because they completely trust the person that wrote the recipe.

I have a huge amount of baker’s trust for Vallery’s recipe. I just KNOW that her recipes are stellar, without having to test them first!

My favorite piece of Inspiration from Life Is What You Bake It

I read this entire book twice. Every word of it.

But there was one page that caught me both times that I read it. I asked Vallery for permission to reprint that part here (as well as read it in my video on youtube. Make sure to watch! There is info in the video that is not in this post!)

Here is the passage that got me.

If pie crust were a person, I’d want to be her. “Relax and chill” is her mantra, but she doesn’t shrink away when things heat up. She’d teach me the importance of rest and show me that sometimes you’ve got to take care of yourself so you’re ready when times get tough. In fact, she’s made for the heat. That’s because some of the hottest ovens we find ourselves in are just what we need to create the steam that’s necessary to be our best, layered selves. And it’s okay when things don’t go as planned: you can always patch the ripped dough – or a borken heart or a shattered dream – back together.

All the feels, am I right?

Pros and Cons

Normally I would include a list of pros and cons because, well, it’s me and that’s just how I work. But I haven’t finished a list for this book yet.

Actually, I have lots of pros (read above!), just no cons.

I’ll add to this post it I find any!

Buy The Book:

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Check out my recipe for Banoffee Pie!


  1. Tanya, what a great tribute! When I learned the season had been canceled, I felt very sorry for the contestants but not until I’ve been through all the preparation and the stress of being in the show, I could REALLY grasp the full blow it represented to all but even more so to Vallery. Beautiful post…

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