‘The Next Great Baker’ runner-up seizes opportunity
By Anna Flagg
An expert at cake designing and competitor on TLC’s show “The Next Great Baker,” Baylor alumna Megan Rountree now owns a bakery with her husband, Michael. The two started Legacy Cakes Bakery in Addison, near Dallas.
Megan, born and raised in Colleyville, graduated from Baylor in 2008 with a degree in entrepreneurship.
“Even before I started Baylor, I knew I wanted to do something with baking,” Megan said. “I love food, and baking is a great way to be creative with my job.”
Following graduation, Megan went to a year long patisserie and baking program, specializing in pastries and sweets, at Le Cordon Blue in Austin to learn baking techniques and perfect her skills.
After baking school, she took a job as head baker for Baylor Catering and then when she married Michael she moved to East Texas. Megan heard about the show “The Next Great Baker” a few months later.
“I follow a baking blog that was talking about the show, and it encouraged cake decorators to audition,” Megan said.
Megan completed a 16-page essay and a video interview and eventually flew to New Jersey for an on-camera interview last winter. She found out she made the show a few weeks later and had one day to prepare.
“I was really excited for Megan and knew this would be an incredible opportunity for her,” Michael said. “The only thing I was worried about was how they might portray her on television, since reality television can skew situations and personalities. Thankfully, there were no problems with this when the show actually aired.”
The show lasted for eight weeks and Megan competed against 10 other contestants.
Each week, there were small challenges to test taste quality and team challenges that called for huge baking projects.
For one of the challenges, Megan had to build a 6-foot-tall Monopoly-themed cake.
Another challenge included filling up the display cases of the famous Cake Boss Buddy Valastro with her own pastries and selling as many as possible in one day.
“The show was insane and I was absolutely exhausted after competing in the challenges,” Megan said.
The judges eliminated a contestant each week. Megan was the runner-up on the show, which aired in January.
“I learned more in those five weeks than in my four years of cake decorating,” Megan said. “I got great networking opportunities and friendships out of it all.”
After the show, Megan and her husband moved to Addison and opened up Legacy Cakes Bakery.
“With us wanting to start a bakery, the show was great publicity,” Michael said. “There were just too many things that worked out and fell into place, and it was the perfect time to open our bakery.”
The bakery is now in full swing. The couple bakes and decorates everything from small cupcakes and cookies to cakes for special occasions and weddings.
Each cake is custom made and custom designed.
“My favorite part of my job is getting to design those really fun, unique cakes that someone just imagined,” Megan said. “We get to make their vision come to life and be a part of people’s special days.”
Libby Rowe, the manager and head decorator for Legacy Cakes Bakery, said Megan is a wonderful boss.
“She keeps it very fun and lighthearted,” Rowe said. “She is always happy, which spreads to the people she works with.”
To find out more about Legacy Cakes Bakery, visit www.legacycakesbakery.com