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Baker Bettie's baking school mixes 1950s vibe with modern principles

Foodie Friday: Bettie's Chicago baking school
Foodie Friday: Bettie's Chicago baking school 02:58

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A River North bake shop is giving visitors a blast from the past and simple steps to bake.

Digital journalist Jamaica Ponder takes us to Bettie's Chicago, where the vibe is vintage.

Kristin Hoffman, more famously known as Baker Bettie, takes her students through her cookbook; helping them to gain confidence in the kitchen, using the esthetics of the 1950s in her retro shop, and the principles of today.

Bettie's Chicago is a multi-functional shop, adorned with vintage collectibles, spaces for photo shoots and social media, and a fully functional 1950's-style kitchen and educational space.

The day CBS 2 came for a visit was right in the middle of their baking boot camp. Students were learning to make an apple pie.

With Baker Bettie leading the group, one would never guess how her persona originally came to be.

"Baker Bettie really grew out of my shyness. When I first started the website, I was very shy, and I didn't want people to know my true identity. So I decided to make an alter ego. I've always been into the 1950s. So I created Baker Bettie as a persona, and over the years it's just kind of evolved from that," Hoffman said.

Hoffman originally started posting as Baker Bettie on her food blog 11 years ago. She said she's since grown to be more outgoing, much due to the Baker Bettie persona.

"I think that me growing out of my shyness truly just took practice. I didn't want to feel that shy, but I also really wanted to teach. I wanted to make baking feel approachable for people, and I thought that putting myself in front of people would be the best way to do that," she said.

After several years of teaching around the city, Hoffman knew she wanted to build her own space and thought: why not make Baker Bettie right at home?

"I kind of always wanted to own a 1950s diner, but I've worked in enough restaurants to know that I don't want to run a restaurant. So I was like , why can't a baking school also look like a 50s set?" she said.

Classes at Bettie's Chicago range from focaccia art to intensive baking, with people coming from across the city and out of town to learn from Baker Bettie. Hoffman said says her students come from a wide range of backgrounds – something she aims for in making her classes and workshops accessible and easy to replicate at home.

"I truly believe baking is for everybody. It doesn't need to be fussy. It doesn't need to be finicky. I think people think that it is. I like to break down baking science in a really simple way," Hoffman said. "I think people hear science, and think that sounds intimidating, but I keep it very simple. I think is the biggest thing that helps people feel like I can go home and do this."

You can visit Bettie's Chicago at 853 N. Larabee St; bakers, cooks, and anyone in between. Hoffman said Baker Bettie was made for everyone.

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