Andrea Nauta of Comox has loved baking since she was a little kid, even watching baking shows, saying they were “pretty much the only shows” she would watch.
She is now a contestant vying for the title of Canada’s best amateur baker on the TV show, The Great Canadian Baking Show. She is a military spouse and mother of two girls. She is also listed as a barista, which she did for years, but she’s has moved into daycare – and she bakes a little.
The third installment of the series, based on the British show, The Great British Baking Show, is now airing on CBC on Wednesdays at 8 p..m. as well as on the CBC Gem streaming service.
Along with nine other people from across the country, Nauta has to tackle the three challenges in each episode – a Signature Bake, a Technical Bake and the Show Stopper. All of this happens in the Baking Tent that houses all of the baking ovens.
“It was absolutely amazing walking into the Tent,” she says. “It was like a dream come true.”
In the opening episode, she came up with a personalized cake incorporating some seaside themes and a favourite number.
The Show Stopper required contestants to make a cake honouring a province, so she managed to work a chocolate cake with cookies and cream in with the colours of the B.C. flag.
The Technical category is a real challenge, with some of the information not listed – for example, baking time or some of the ingredients. In this one, the competitors cannot even talk to each other.
In all of these categories through, everyone is facing close conditions and time constraints, all under the watchful eyes of the TV cameras. Nauta says it’s fun but also a bit overwhelming – quite different from baking in her own kitchen.
Nauta actually auditioned for the show a previous time in Toronto. She made it through the audition process, and she had a cake chosen to be one of the baked good to be drawn by the artists on the show, though she did not make the final cut.
“The whole experience was really cool,” she says.
However, she was back again for a second attempt in Vancouver and this time she made it. She found out when the producers called her while she was on a break while working at Starbucks.
“I just lost my mind…. I was just so excited,” she says.
Although she was thrilled, when she went back to work, she had to keep the information she was on the show under wraps from everyone.
“I was just like jumping in my own skin,” she says. “I had to keep it secret.”
On her bio on the show webpage, she describes her baking style as “rainbow sparkles” and her signature dish as her macarons, which she makes in a variety of colours and flavours.
“I love macarons. They are my absolute favourite,” she says. “It’s just so much fun.”
If macarons are her strength, she admits bread falls at the other end of the baking spectrum. As to how all of her creations pan out, people will just have to tune in this season to watch to see whether Nauta rises to the top.