This past week was my two year anniversary of my successful in person audition for the Third Season of the Great Canadian Baking Show. My friend Cj suggested I write about the experience and I thought it was a great idea, so here we are.
My audition was scheduled to begin at 9:30 in the morning in Montreal on a Saturday morning and I live about two hours away, but let’s back up about a week. The weekend before my audition I was scheduled to travel to London (UK not Ontario) for work and that was non-negotiable. I was to return the Thursday before the audition, and I had taken the following Friday off in order to prepare. During my down time in London I was constantly writing down ideas and sketching out options on which one of my signature baked items to bring to the audition as instructed.
I knew whatever I brought had to travel well, as I would be driving to the audition by myself and would need to have whatever it was solid and steady so a cake was quickly ruled out. Pastry is my go to for a signature most of the time as I really learned to bake making croissant. I wanted to bring something that no one else probably would so I drew on my time in Sweden and brought Semlor. Then I started to think “whoa, I need to make these the night before as I want to get on the road no later than 7am so will the whipped cream hold up in the fridge overnight?” I used powdered sugar to stabilize the whipped cream but I had to have a backup in the event I got up the morning of the audition and there was just buns in a pool of cream. So on the Thursday night I got home, I started a croissant dough, and the Semlor dough in tandem so I had a back up. Luck (maybe skill?) held out and on Saturday morning the Semlor stood and held perfectly so I packed them into the car along with my nerves, my apron and coffee and headed to Montreal.
I arrived in plenty of time as I wanted to leave early enough in the event I got lost. Being late was not an option. I was one of the first to arrive and slowly but surely the hallway was beginning to fill up with bakers with their carefully packed baked goods and an energy that was kind of electric. As the other bakers began to unwrap their creations I was absolutely blown away! Pastries, cakes, pies and all sorts of treats began to reveal themselves and the talents of their creators. This was going to be a tough crowd to stand out in. One by one we were led into the room where our creations were photographed and then placed on a table. Everyone was chatting and happy to be there, we had our own photos taken and just took joy in the moment as we had all found our people. People who bake.
I won’t get too deep into the process (some things should remain a mystery) except to say that we all talked to the many GCBS folks who wandered about the room while we went about our tasks. The best part of the experience was when we all got to taste each others signature bakes that we brought. There was an amazing Ube cake, and a cookie dough cake, and a gorgeous pie and Rosie’s amazing cake wrapped in tulips made from modelling chocolate. I met so many talented and fun people that day and it is one I will never forget.
When I left Montreal, I felt I did ok but there was so much talent in that room that I really didn’t think that I made it. I was happy and proud of what I had done and grateful for that experience on it’s own. Little did I know.
If you are in Canada and you bake, applications for Season 5 of the show close on April 5. If you haven’t submitted your application, why not? The entire process is fun from start to end and I learned so much and met so many amazing people. Apply now.