Tag Archives: Great Canadian Baking Show

The Great Canadian Baking Show: Judge Kyla Kennaley gets cooking in Season 4

Her Internet connection might be spotty, but judge Kyla Kennaley’s connection to the home bakers on The Great Canadian Baking Show isn’t. Kennaley, who is currently overseas in London, recently chatted with us online (via a persnickety connection) to talk about the newest season of CBC’s Sunday night confection.

Returning Sunday at 8 p.m., a new batch of 10 amateur bakers descended on the show’s tent to compete in weekly baking challenges under the gaze of judges Kennaley and Bruno Feldeisen, and new hosts Alan Shane Lewis and Ann Pornel. We dished with Kyla Kennaley on Baking Show, a resurgence of baking during the pandemic and her take on a controversial classic cake.

Before we talk about The Great Canadian Baking Show, what’s it been like to see so many people starting to bake during the pandemic?
Kyla Kennaley: I love it. I love that friends that I have kept in touch with loosely on Facebook since high school are sending me direct messages saying, ‘I’m feeding my sourdough starter, what do I do next?’ I love the engagement and that it’s connecting people.

What’s your take on Alan and Ann, the new hosts on the show?
KK: In Season 3, I thought I laughed more than I ever had in my life. And this year I learned, ‘No, there is another level.’ My only exercise is laughing and it kept me slim. They are hilarious and so engaged … and Alan is so tall. [Laughs.]

I’m always blown away by what the home bakers can do, and judging by what I’ve seen of Season 4, they are at another level.
KK: It’s phenomenal how talented the home bakers are. I had the luxury of a 2,000-square foot production kitchen and everything that I needed and I look at what they are doing in their homes and it blows my mind. The competition was tighter and I think it shows. They are constantly improving.

Do all of the home bakers come in with fully-formed recipes prepared? I assume they do, but that’s never expressly said during the show.
KK: Yes, and from what I understand they have to have their own version of the recipes. That’s a very important part of the show because it’s what it’s all about, and so the team can source their ingredients.

I find the red velvet cake to be a controversial one. Some people love it, and others hate it. What camp do you fall in?
KK: Because I had a café for 10 years and it was probably one of the most popular cakes at the time, being that it was the early 2000s. What I love about the recipe—and remember that I look at everything very technically and a purist when it comes to these things—is the story. It was invented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the 30s when there was a shortage of ingredients and they were trying to make something impressive.

So, I think it’s apropos that, in a very difficult time, what it’s like to look around for ingredients. I’ve never, in my life, gone into a grocery store like I have this year and said, ‘Oh my gosh, there is no baking soda!’

Flavour-wise, I’m a lemon girl. Give me a lemon cake any day!

The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Bake it till you make it! Ten new amateur bakers enter the tent for Season 4 of The Great Canadian Baking Show

From a media release:

CBC today revealed the ten amateur bakers who will compete in the upcoming fourth season of THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW, premiering Sunday, February 14 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service. Over the course of eight episodes, this group of diverse and talented bakers from across the country will don their aprons and head into the iconic tent to face a number of classic culinary-themed challenges that will test their baking prowess, creativity and skill in an effort to win The Great Canadian Baking Show title.

As previously announced, Season 4 of the fan favourite series will be hosted by comedians, actors, writers and Second City alumni Alan Shane Lewis and Ann Pornel. Esteemed pastry chefs Bruno Feldeisen and Kyla Kennaley return to the judge’s table to sample the bakers’ best offerings. The new season was filmed safely last fall on the grounds of the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols.

Based on the beloved British format, each episode features three rounds including the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Show Stopper – during which the bakers will rely on their personal interests, baking styles and cultural backgrounds to make their delicious dishes stand out to the judges. After the bakes are tested and critiqued, the judges decide who will be the week’s Star Baker and who will be sent home. In the final episode, the remaining three bakers face-off in a bid to be named Canada’s best amateur baker.

Following the pandemic-fuelled home baking craze, Season 4 applications reached record-breaking numbers for the series. The Canada-wide virtual casting sessions were rigorous, but these ten bakers met the challenge and came out on top:

  • Anjali Helferty, 36, a recent PhD grad from Toronto, ON
  • Bertie Diaz, 54, a corporate travel agent from Toronto, ON
  • Dominike Audet, 42, a radio host and novelist from Québec, QC
  • Larry Harris, 53, a business operations manager from Edmonton, AB
  • Maggie Frith, 42, a stay-at-home mom and former lawyer from Toronto, ON
  • Mahathi Mundluru, 24, a business analyst from Markham, ON
  • Oyaks Airende, 28, a project scheduler and engineer from Calgary, AB
  • Raufikat Oyawoye, 35, an IT support engineer from Milton, ON
  • Sheldon Lynn, 25, a software developer from Vancouver, BC
  • Tanner Davies, 28, a marketing consultant from Winnipeg, MB

Last season, 33-year-old administrative assistant, Natalia Shevchenko, of Edmonton, AB took home the title after competing against semi-finalists Colin Asuncion of Toronto, ON and Jodi Robson of Regina, SK. In the lead up to the Season 4 premiere, fans can satisfy their craving by catching up on seasons 1 -3 on CBC Gem.

THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW is produced by Proper Television in association with CBC and Love Productions. The executive producers are Cathie James and Lesia Capone, and the series producer is Marike Emery.

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Aurora Browne dishes on Baroness Von Sketch and Great Canadian Baking Show

There are three big changes viewers will notice when they tune in to The Great Canadian Baking Show on CBC this Wednesday night.

Gone is judge Rochelle Adonis, replaced by Kyla Kennaley. And co-hosts Dan Levy and Julia Chan have been swapped out in favour of Aurora Browne and Carolyn Taylor. Browne and Taylor are also, as legions of fans already know, the writers, stars and executive producers of Baroness von Sketch Show, which returns this Tuesday night to CBC.

And while I will miss Levy and Chan’s roles on Baking Show, I was immediately smitten by Browne and Taylor’s witty cold opening and their natural rapport with the 10 new contestants.

We spoke to Browne ahead of both programs’ debut.

How did yourself and Carolyn Taylor end up hosting The Great Canadian Baking Show in the first place?
Aurora Browne: The Great Canadian Baking Show approached us, at the beginning of this year. Carolyn and I have known each other for a very long time, obviously. Long before Baroness, even. It worked out in our schedule to be able to do it with only minimal overlap. Why not? It’s such a fun show. It’s fun and lovely and to be honest, being paid to taste things is like a dream come true. I don’t think that was difficult for either of us.

We actually spoofed it on Baroness. There’s a scene in the third season with Jen and Meredith. The patient is talking about her existential angst and how she can’t let go of any of her anxiety. The psychiatrist advises her to watch a gentle British baking show. We had a little, 10-second insert. Of course, it takes two hours to film, so Carolyn was like the Mary Berry character and I was a contestant. On the day that we were doing that, we were saying, ‘Oh gosh, I could do that all day,’ just talking about food and looking at food.

Two women smile into the camera.Was what you did as hosts scripted?
AB: They do have a very talented writer Elvira Kurt who has been our friend for a long time. She has actually worked on Baroness as well. A bit of the show is scripted. We don’t come up with all those puns on our own, that’s the job of a talented person. We were doing the cold opens of the show. That kind of stuff is scripted. Also sometimes, to be totally honest, there is so much technical stuff for some of the baking things, especially the French patisserie, I really needed that in the script. It’s like texty sci-fi shows you are remembering all these things. Thank goodness for the script on those parts, but the rest of it is just us interacting with the bakers. I think the best training that Carolyn and I could have had for the show is just attending a bunch of parties because it’s a party in a way.

Starting off with 10 people and then fewer as weeks progress you just have to be comfortable going in and chatting to them, it’s just like that part in the party where you wander into the kitchen and the host is trying to get something done or trying to get something in the oven and you ask them questions. Except here on the show they must answer our questions.

They were very easy to get to know, they were just such lovely, lovely people. They are in the middle of this very stressful situation with cameras in their faces and we were just there to encourage them and Carolyn and I didn’t find it hard at all. We were just encouraging them to do what they loved and to sometimes have a good laugh with them, and occasionally commiserate with them if they were having a stressful moment, which of course happens.

Let’s switch things up and let’s talk about season four of Baroness von Sketch Show. What was it like having Jennifer Whalen as the showrunner this season?
AB: Jen Whalen is exceptional. I mean it’s a massive job because you’re the one person who goes between all the departments. All four of us worked very closely on the creative and talking with each other about everything. Jen Whalen, I see her being the CEO of something, before very long. But we also have been doing this for several years now, so we have how we handle the editing and that’s in place, how we work out the sketches that are in place. I’m always just like thankful and in awe of Carolyn and Jennifer being showrunners and how willing they are to just always take those calls and emails. I personally need a little bit of time at the end of the day where I just won’t pick up the phone. I need to not answer emails. I’m always very grateful that those two have been willing to helm such a busy, busy show because we are all so involved.

But they are both fantastic at it and I hope someday that Jen Whalen is captaining the starship and I get to be her XO, I would happily be her second in command for anything.

Two women on a climbing apparatus.There are some great sketches in the first episode. Binge-watching television and translating that into kids’ years. Tony Nappo in the sketch where he uses his kind words to make women smile. The blood pressure cuff. All great relatable stuff. The end credits featured a large group of writers and story editors.
AB: We have a structure that really allows us to welcome in voices and ideas even for a short amount of time because we have a core group of four of us are always there. Then we have some staff writers who are with us all the way through. For Season 4 we had Jen Goodhue who has been with us for every season. We had Monica Heisey in and then Allison Hogg, who had also written for us before. Then with the other people sometimes they will only come in for say three days or four days. That fresh set of eyes is really invaluable and it makes for a really fun room. I don’t think there was one person that came in that one of us didn’t know already.

It’s a pretty joyous thing. Even though it’s a large group it was manageable and it just means that you have these really funny, really talented people who are really thoughtful and interested in the world and are really ready to sit and roll around an idea to get at what’s the essence of this, what’s the funniest take we can take on it. And we were so happy always to be able to offer a paycheque at the very least to our talented colleagues who live and work in this city and the country.

We are very happy to be able to make this show where we live, and other people can too.

Baroness von Sketch Show airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Family Feud Canada and Fortunate Son among CBC’s new series; Workin’ Moms, Diggstown and 22 Minutes renewed

A Canadian version of Family Feud with Gerry Dee at the helm, a drama based on Eden Robinson’s award-winning Trickster novels and a spy drama based on Heartland, Wynonna Earp and Jann executive producer Tom Cox were among the new series announced by CBC at the network’s Upfront presentation on Wednesday.

The network confirmed that Halifax-based legal drama Diggstown, sketch comedy 22 Minutes and comedy Workin’ Moms have all been renewed for new seasons.

Some sad news: CBC confirmed that Little Dog, Cavendish and Crawford have not been renewed.

Adapted from Eden Robinson’s novels and co-created by Michelle Latimer and Tony Elliot, The Trickster—from Sienna Films (Cardinal)—is described as a darkly humorous coming-of-age story that combines dysfunctional family drama with supernatural thriller. Jared, an Indigenous teen, meets Wade, a mysterious stranger who turns Jared’s life upside down.

Based on the real-life of Tom Cox’s family experience, Fortunate Son—created by Andrew Wreggit—is an eight-episode drama from Seven24 Films and Lark Entertainment about the matriarch of an American activist family who helps smuggle Vietnam war deserters and draft dodgers across the border. He is pursued by the FBI.

Gerry Dee is back on the CBC as the host of Family Feud Canada. Airing weekdays at 7 p.m., the 60-episode program showcases homegrown families from across the country competing to guess the most popular answers to fun, family-friendly survey questions from a sample of Canadians.

The Sounds, a co-production between Canada and New Zealand created by author Sarah-Kate Lynch, is being billed as a relationship drama about the goings-on in Pelorus Sounds, where nothing is quite as it seems. Peter Stebbings will direct all eight episodes.

New and returning unscripted series include Back in Time for Winter, Fridge Wars, High Arctic Haulers and Tallboyz.

CBC also made some casting announcements, noting Great Canadian Baking Show is swapping out Daniel Levy and Julia Chan for Baroness Von Sketch Show‘s Aurora Brown and Carolyn Taylor. As much as I’ll miss Levy and Chan, Brown and Taylor are going to be amazing.

And finally, Kurt Browning has been named head judge for Battle of the Blades with Ron MacLean back as the host. Olympians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will participate as guest judges. Those confirmed to take to the ice for the competition include figure skaters in Violetta Afanasieva and Vanessa James, and hockey players Sheldon Kennedy and Natalie Spooner.

The new series announcement comes just over a month after CBC revealed the projects returning for new seasons this fall and winter, including Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Heartland, Still Standing, Baroness Von Sketch Show, Anne with an E, Coroner, The Detectives, Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek.

Which new shows are you planning to check out this fall and winter? Let me know in the comments below.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

CBC announces hosts and judges for The Great Canadian Baking Show

From a media release:

CBC today announced the team of hosts and judges for THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (8×60), the public broadcaster’s homegrown take on hit format The Great British Bake Off. The series will be hosted by actor and writer Daniel Levy (Schitt’s Creek, The Hills: The After Show) and actor Julia Chan (Saving Hope, A Kid Like Jake), who will keep the judges buttered up and bakers laughing even when the going gets tough. Judging which competitors measure up are acclaimed pastry chefs Bruno Feldeisen, former executive pastry chef for the Four Seasons in New York and Vancouver and a multiple James Beard Award nominee; and Rochelle Adonis, the Quebec-raised, European-trained creator of a flagship tea shop and confectionary brand in Australia. Produced by Proper Television, THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW starts filming in Toronto this week following a nationwide search for Canada’s top amateur bakers, and will premiere Wednesday, November 1 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC.

Based on the beloved British format, THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW brings together 10 amateur bakers from across the country to compete in a series of themed culinary challenges as they celebrate their diverse backgrounds, families and communities. Each episode will feature three rounds including the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Show Stopper. After the bakes are tasted and critiqued, the judges will decide who will become the week’s Star Baker and who will be sent home. The final three bakers will compete for the Great Canadian Baking Show title.

THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW is presented with Robin Hood. The Robin Hood Baking Family consists of a portfolio of leading baking brands.

While waiting for the Canadian series, CBC audiences can whet their appetite with the most recent season of the British series (Season 7), which will air as THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW starting Wednesday, August 23 at 8 p.m. ET (8:30 NT) on CBC. Season 6 is available to stream now at cbc.ca/watch.

THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW is produced by Proper Television in association with CBC and Love Productions. The executive producer is Cathie James, and the series producer is Marike Emery. The format is owned by Love Productions and distributed by Sky Vision. In addition to the original British series, the format has been produced in 23 territories including America, Australia, France and Ireland.

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