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The City Journals

Brandon Roush takes the cake on ‘Baker vs. Faker’

Apr 09, 2018 11:08AM ● By Holly Vasic

A Brandon Roush addition to Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island, a cookie sundae, in the case at the bakery. There are other cookie sundaes out there but not like Roush’s. (Holly Vasic/City Journals)

Brandon Roush just won an episode of the Food Network’s “Baker vs. Faker,” and he couldn’t have done it without Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island, right here in Holladay (4704 S. Holladay Blvd.). Raelynn Potts, aka Aunt Rae, is thrilled for Roush not only for him winning, but all the personal touches he has brought to her business. 

Two and a half years ago, Potts finally made the leap into business ownership after 20 years working at the University of Utah and receiving an MBA. She thought about it for a long time and considered what her business would be if she ever did open one. 

She wanted three things: a place for people to come together, a place for kids to be entertained so families could experience it and a place to be open late. “There was not really a lot of options for people. With those three things in mind I was like, ‘Well I’ve been baking my whole life,’” said Potts.

When her idea began to get off the ground, Roush answered an ad on Craigslist and met Potts. “He came in and it was a great match,” said Potts.

Roush brought some recipes into Auntie Rae’s they still make today, such as his cookie sundae and scone recipe — they serve at afternoon and high tea — among others. “They were his own kind of creations and they fit well with what we are trying to do,” said Potts. 

Not only did Roush bring something into Auntie Rae’s, but he also got something out of it, and not just the joy of baking and a paycheck. During the second round of new hires, Roush saw Potts interviewing a beautiful young lady he hoped she’d bring on, which she did. “We became best friends right away, she was really easy to talk to,” Roush said about his now wife. “I think she initially thought I was a weirdo because I was being extra friendly to her but she started liking me pretty quickly.” They now live in Michigan with their baby Emma. 

Just as a runner prepares for a race, Roush had to practice for the competition to be prepared for “Baker vs. Faker.” The show consists of four contestants, two professional bakers and two amateurs, who face off in two rounds, and are judged by a panel who doesn’t know who is pro and who is not. As the shooting date came closer, Roush tried all kinds of ideas to keep sharp and on his toes, and Potts and Roush’s wife got to try all of them. 

Roush said most of the shooting took place in one very long day. “Thankfully I won the first round. The first round ended up being a cream pie challenge, and thankfully one of the best products that Auntie Rae’s offers,” Roush said. “The second round was definitely a lot more intense and I was actually literally down to the wire.” 

Roush just hoped that the dessert was baked through when he pulled it out of the oven and that it tasted good enough, which it did. The crew then came to Holladay to film him at Auntie Rae’s, where he was working at the time. The experience, and prize money, has blessed Roush and his new little family. Especially with moving back home to the Midwest where he was raised and wanted to raise his own children. “It was just a wonderful experience. I loved the aspect of working with other talented bakers and it was really nice to just hear any kind of criticism, positive or negative, from Food Network chefs. That was just a great environment. Winning was so huge for us. My wife was 32 weeks pregnant at the time and we were in the process of getting our move together to Michigan,” Roush said.

Check out episode 11, season 2, on Google Play, Amazon or iTunes, titled “Tropical Storm,” to see Roush baking up a storm. Drop by Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island to enjoy Roush’s cookie sundae or another dessert favorite.