If you love watching The Great British Bake Off or similar competitive cooking shows, CTV is coming out with an all-new Cross Country Cake Off that is sure to hit the spot this holiday season. The four-episode series features a total of 24 bakers from across Canada (with five from BC), all competing for the chance to win a $50k grand prize.
During three regional rounds in Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax, eight local bakers present their homemade creations to two esteemed judges: Mary Berg (CTV’s “Mary Makes It Easy,” “Mary’s Kitchen Crush,” and “Masterchef Canada”) and Vancouver pastry chef (Kouign Café) Andrew Han. The competition is then narrowed down to two cake makers from each region, who move on to compete in the finale.
Earlier this year, eight cake makers from Western Canada presented their cakes at the Stanley Park Pavillion. One of them was Vancouver’s own Nancy Ho.
A mom first, creative second
As an artist and creative, Nancy Ho has her fingers in many pots. Right now, comedy and baking take the proverbial cake, in addition to being a dedicated mother.
“I started baking when my son was three and he was really into Angry Birds,” she revealed in an interview with Curiocity. “For the love of my child, I make cakes.”
Over the years, her son’s requests got more and more elaborate – as did her cake designs. “I definitely had some cake fails where I was like, ‘okay, I’m going to the store!’ And there were times when I was in the kitchen at three in the morning wondering, ‘what am I doing here?'”
As time went on, Ho began to experiment with different flavours, designs, and edible accessories – eventually creating more complex cakes, like a Jupiter-shaped cake complete with “gassy swirls,” and a pirate ship with rice paper sails – courtesy of her son’s Pirates of the Caribbean phase.
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Cross Country Cake Off
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When it comes to the show, Ho says she heard about a nationwide casting call from her sister earlier this year. “They wanted applicants who weren’t professional bakers for a living, so I thought I’d submit some photos of my cakes and a little brief about why I enjoy baking.”
And to that end, Ho explains that she loves sharing food with friends and family. “I can’t eat a whole cake by myself, so I like to share the calories with everyone,” she jokes.
On a more serious note, Ho said that she’s always enjoyed pursuing creative endeavours – from writing and painting to sculpture work and standup.
In fact, the latter is an integral part of the cake she designed for the show.
“I wanted the flavours to say something about myself. I’m a Vietnamese Canadian, and the cake itself is a representation of all the opportunities I had once I came to Canada – from doing standup comedy to playing ice hockey on a few teams, and receiving a Master’s degree in business,” she said.
Cross Country Cake Off’s special holiday season airs on four nights beginning December 15th and 16th, then December 19th and 20th at 9 pm PT on CTV, CTV.ca and the CTV app.
And just a note, if you have a sweet tooth, this may make you hungry!
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