Sandra Bullock's Sister Is About To Be A Food Network Star

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If you've heard the name Gesine Bullock-Prado and wondered if she was related to Sandra Bullock, the answer is yes: she's the superstar's sister, though she's becoming famous in her own right. The Vermont-based baker and founder of Sugar Glider Kitchen has been quite busy as of late, especially since her show Baked in Vermont! premiered on the Food Network on December 2, 2017. The six-episode series features Bullock-Prado as she curates menus, teaches cooking students, hosts parties, and showcases her amazing baking skills. 

But Bullock-Prado hasn't always been a full-time pastry chef extraordinaire who churns out perfect pies and pastries at a regular clip. Here's the intel on Gesine Bullock-Prado, who's about to become a Food Network star.

She grew up vegan and not by choice

Bullock-Prado isn't a vegan anymore, but she can empathize with plant-based dieters as that's how she grew up, though she revealed in an interview with Bakepedia that it was "not by choice." The reason that she (and her sister) cut their teeth on veggies is because their mother, Helga, had an "iron grip" on her children's eating; she would also restrict their sugar and fat intake. As Bullock-Prado informed The Guardian, "We both suffered from an acute sugar shortage due to our mother's health food initiatives and we bonded by scraping together what we could to get our sugar fix."

Fortunately she isn't mad about it, and has used her skills to make baked goods accessible to all kinds of eaters. She told Bakepedia, "Once I got over my deep seated resentment at being raised in such a cruel and butter free manner, I started appreciating that there were new fangled Vegan products out there that I didn't have access to as a kid. As pastry professional, I can help children living in similarly harsh culinary conditions and make their lives sweeter." 

Her family was close-knit growing up

Even though Bullock-Prado and her sister are frequently in the public eye because of their celebrity lifestyle, their upbringing was both intimate and reserved. In an interview with The Guardian, Bullock-Prado said, "We were raised in such an unusual way that we were taught to be relatively private people. I have friends and we're close. But when you are very private, family becomes more and more important. They are the only ones that you want to share certain things with." Additionally, Bullock-Prado noted that family is still paramount for her today, and she maintains regular contact with her father and sister, despite her sister's extremely busy schedule.

But just because their family was close-knit doesn't mean Bullock-Prado and her sister were always BFFs. She continued, "Our age difference made it impossible to be chummy when we were younger. I was a pest, an annoyance of a younger sister. No girl in her tender years, navigating through the trials of puberty wants her annoying geek of a little sister hanging about." That changed when they came of age. She said, "It wasn't until I got older that the age gap disintegrated. Once I was in high school, we became genuinely close."

She co-founded Fortis Films

Bullock-Prado had an extremely successful career long before her baking enterprise took off. In fact, her previous gig was, for many, the be-all and end-all of dream jobs: she was the president of her sister's production company, Fortis Films, which was founded in 1995. Of her sister's motives for founding the company, in a 2001 interview with Variety, Bullock-Prado said, "She wanted to find things [that were] not coming her way and develop things that she wants to do — as well as passion projects."

In spite of the glamour and glitz, however, Bullock-Prado was unhappy. In a promotional video for her memoir, she said that, "Even with the travel, the exotic adventures, the great friends and family, and a really happy marriage, I wasn't fulfilled. And I was terribly confused." She found the A-list life, according to The Guardian, "relentless, exhausting and disillusioning." So in 2005, she quit her job, left Los Angeles, and moved across the country to Montpelier, Vermont. There she set up a commercial bakery and prepared for the next step in her career.

Her mother is a huge inspiration for her baking

Bullock-Prado's mother was no slouch in the kitchen, despite her restrictive tendencies. In fact, she was so masterful with food that she's the primary inspiration for Bullock-Prado's baking and cooking. In an interview with Texas Monthly, Bullock-Prado noted, "We base everything we make on what our Mother taught us. Despite her dietary restrictions, she was a fabulous chef and baker. We have that to look up to." Clearly, Helga has left her culinary mark on the world.

But knowing her mother had those talents was sometimes a double-edged sword, as Helga only let loose in the kitchen on special occasions. Bullock-Prado told the Journal Sentinel, "She was a really wonderful baker. It was very sad knowing this about my mother and knowing it only came out at specific times of year. I took it upon myself to teach myself." Judging by her success, she's honored her mother's baking legacy.

Her mother's passing was a catalyst to change her life

Bullock-Prado turned to baking for comfort when her mother passed away. She discussed the experience in a promotional video, saying, "[M]y favorite baker of all-time, my mom, she died. And in my grief I baked to soothe my heartbreak. And with each pastry grew the revelation that in order to be really happy, I had to build my life from scratch — one cake at a time." Her grief, then, gave her the space to realize that her true passion wasn't on the red carpet — it was in the bakery.

Bullock-Prado also observed that she should have realized that baking was her calling a long time ago, back when she was still in school. She told the Journal Sentinel, "When I went to University of Virginia and law school, in times of stress I would bake more and more. That should've been an indication that my passions were elsewhere. When I was supposed to study for the bar, I baked instead." It wasn't until she lost Helga that she got the courage to follow her dreams. She continued, "It took my mother dying, and dealing with that. I was with her when she died. I realized I didn't like what I was doing for my day job." So she left, and shot for the moon.

She's no stranger to television

Bullock-Prado is poised to rise to Food Network stardom, but she's no stranger to television. In fact, she has appeared on numerous television shows, notably as a regular on The Today Show. Additionally, she's appeared on The Wendy Williams Show, on which she made holiday treats and whipped up a batch of vegan sweets. She's also appeared on the Food Network show The Kitchenalongside suave Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian.

She's a prolific author

Bullock-Prado doesn't spend all of her time in the kitchen. Rather, she's also an author who maintains an active blog and has written several books. Her first book was her memoir, My Life From Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a Time, which published in 2010. She followed that up with Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes, and Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar in 2011 with co-author Tina Rupp, who joined her on her subsequent titles as well. She turned to pies in 2012, publishing Pie it Forward: Pies, Torts, Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented. Then in 2013 she published Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes From Inside Out.

Despite her numerous works, it's unlikely that she'll collaborate with her sister on a family cookbook. She said as much in an interview with Texas Monthly. "Our lives are so different," she noted. "We're so busy that when we're finally together, we just want to spend time together. We're not going to work together. We're just going to play together."

Her sister is proud of her

When asked in an interview with ET how proud she was of her sister, Bullock said, without hesitation, "Incredibly proud." 

However, she was initially nervous that her sister's work — in particular, her memoir — might not be very good. She continued, "When someone tells you they're going to write a book, especially a family member, you just sort of roll your eyes, and go, how do you kindly tell them it sucks? And I was prepared to tell her it sucked in the nicest way I could." 

But as it turned out, she didn't have to do that. She continued, "I was bawling and laughing the entire time I read it." So the book didn't suck after all, which Bullock was clearly pleased about.

Her husband is a Hollywood storyboard artist

When Bullock-Prado decided to leave Hollywood for Vermont, she didn't leave her husband, Raymond Prado, behind. Rather, he came with her, though he remains employed in the film industry.

Prado got his shot in Hollywood when, while in Los Angeles for an interview, he was a contestant on Win, Lose, or Draw — and he won big, earning $15,000, enough to finance his move to the west coast. In an interview in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine he said, "I had no idea how to do it, but ever since I was a kid I wanted to make movies. Once I got the check, I packed my bags and went."

After that, Prado worked his way to the top as a storyboard artist. He's worked on a number of big-budget films and shows such as The Hunger Games, Stranger Things, and X-Men. He continues to work from rural Vermont, where he grew up, on Hollywood productions.

She has a special connection with birds

Bullock-Prado has a special affinity for all kinds of birds. On her blog, she wrote, "I raise chickens and ducks and I have a close, personal friendship with a goose. When I was a kid, mom and I rescued abandoned Starling hatchlings and raised them to adulthood and then I rescued and released chickadee hatchlings here at Freegrace." She also wrote about visiting a falconry to fly hawks and meet owls.

Bullock-Prado might have inherited some of that love from her mother, who also had a connection with birds. She wrote, "[M]y mother's nickname since childhood was eule (owl in German) and... since she passed, I wear the gold owl pendant she wore since I was born. It's no surprise that owls are kinda a big deal with me." 

She runs marathons

You might not know by looking at Bullock-Prado that she's a baker with an incorrigible sweet tooth; she's quite sveldt. So how does she stay so thin while eating so many sweets? The answer, as she told Runner's World, is running. "I run my a** off, literally," she said. According to the publication, Bullock-Prado has run four marathons with a personal best of 4:15.

But she doesn't just run to stay skinny. Running also helps her connect with her mother, who was also a runner. She continued, noting that when her mother was dying of cancer, she "was caring for her, and one day while she was resting, I ran around the neighborhood where she trained. It was a way of connecting with that part of my mother." For Bullock-Prado, running became a "moving prayer" as she noted on her blog, helping her process her loss and understand the universe.

Bullock-Prado has also contributed recipes to Runner's World in her capacity as a chef, writing about baked goods that are delicious either before or after a run. 

She'd like to bake for Mark Twain

Of all of the people in the world, living or dead, there's one person Bullock-Prado would like to bake for the most: Mark Twain. She told Cake Spy in an interview why that's her number one choice. "He loved his pie. While he was spending an extended period of time in the UK, he wrote fantastic letters to his housekeeper back in the states just listing all the pies he wanted to eat when he got back home." It's not surprising, then, that she chose him — they both share a deep affinity for sweet treats.