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UK Libraries Philanthropy Director shows he’s one tough cookie on Food Network; show airs Dec. 24


By Whitney Hale
University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky Libraries Director of Philanthropy Daniel King knows all about giving, whether it is his work with many of the university’s generous donors or how he shares his own talents for baking with cookie lovers.

It is that second special set of skills that attracted attention from the Food Network and an invitation to compete on the second season of “Christmas Cookie Challenge.” Though his episode originally aired earlier this month, locals can see King again during a marathon airing of the show.

King’s episode “Christmas Comes in All Sizes” will air 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24, on the Food Network.

Hosted by Eddie Jackson, “Christmas Cookie Challenge” brings together five bakers to compete in a contest all about their holiday cookie-making skills.

Three judges, Kimberly Bailey, Damiano Carrara and Ree Drummond, evaluate the bakers in two rounds awarding $10,000 to the “holiday cookie master.”

King was selected for the competition after the show’s production company found examples of his baking hobby on his Instagram account @the.futile.gourmet. Curious about the fun opportunity, he traveled to Los Angeles this June to film the competition.

King was really happy to participate in the episode.

Daniel King


“Everyone on the show, especially the other bakers, were so much fun to work with! It was a stressful experience — baking in a completely unfamiliar place with unfamiliar equipment and against professional bakers — but I’m so glad I took the chance and did it.”

The local baker, who finds both Christmas and Halloween to be great baking seasons, says his favorite cookie changes from time to time. Right now, the winner is one with a sweet family connection.

“Currently, I’m a fan of a jam cake Linzer cookie I made to honor my grandmother’s jam cake (an eastern Kentucky dessert popular around Christmas).”

With such a connection to family recipes it is not all that surprising King has loved baking from an early age, but he says he began taking his hobby more seriously in recent years.

“I enjoy baking immensely as a creative outlet, but I also love the study of food from a socio-historical/anthropological perspective,” King said. “Historical dishes and customs related to food are so fascinating! Food is something that we all share — all of us, all over the world. What’s not to love about that?”


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