It was a sweet ride for a few weeks for Vancouver Island’s Andrea Nauta on The Great Canadian Baking Show, but it came to an end on the third episode of season three.
The week’s baking assignments involved bread, which, as she had admitted, was her weak point when it comes to baking.
“I’m not a bread person, so it’s nerve-wracking,” she said at the outset of the episode.
For the opening Signature challenge, the contestants, now down to eight from the original 10, had to make povitica, a yeasted sweet bread from eastern Europe made in rolls and layered. Nauta concocted a “mocha coco loco” that made use of her passion for coffee as a flavour, and things seemed to turn out relatively smoothly.
In the Technical challenge, the bakers had to put together a brioche à tête the “old-fashioned” way with no mixers in a little under three hours, making sure to fuse the head to the top of each brioche. The judges felt Nauta’s batch was a little dry but had good flavour, and she finished in the middle of the pack.
The final challenge, the Showstopper, required Nauta and her peers to create a bread sculpture using two different yeast-leavened breads with different colours and flavours in 4.5 hours. The idea was to have them go “Michelangelo” on the dough.
In the episode, Nauta admitted she was a little bit nervous.
“Bread is so finicky, so anything can happen,” she said.
She used three types of dough to sculpt a bouquet of flowers from bread, but it was the vase portion that did not quite turn out as planned. The dough, she said, was not shaping how she wanted and ended up a little stumpy. The judges felt the vase as the base was a bit undercooked and doughy.
“This is the week that I was dreading the most,” she said at the end of the episode.
Following the airing at home in Comox, she told Black Press her worry about the bread challenge.
“I knew it was going to be the one thing [that could eliminate her early],” she said.
She had practised similar bread sculptures before but did not bring along her own moulds, so she had to fashion one from scratch when she went to Ontario for filming.
Having to face the time constraints and stiff competition too provided an obstacle for the Showstopper. She saw plenty of possibilities, but the challenge was to pick one that she could complete in time.
“It was hard to come up with ideas for the Showstopper,” she said. “I had so many ideas in my head.”
Still, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the show, as she had always loved cooking shows from when she was a youngster. In a way, the experience was a chance to live out a dream and to make some close friends along the way.
“My baking family is what I call them,” she said. “It’s a lifetime friendship that we’ll always share…. We all shared an amazing experience.”