Monday, July 22, 2024

Langford man represents Vancouver Island on this season of the Great Canadian Baking Show


A local man is representing Greater Victoria on national television as he takes on Canada’s best amateur bakers in a (friendly) competition.

John Fowler was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Now he calls Langford home.

Fowler is a man of two coasts, and he tries to represent his roots and his new found west coast home in all of his baking. 

The Great Canadian Baking Show is in its sixth season, and Fowler is only the second person to ever represent Victoria on the show. The last person being Jude Somers in 2017 on the very first season. 

The show starts with 10 bakers who are whittled down to a top three, one baker being eliminated every week. 

Contestants have three baking assignments per episode. One ‘signature bake’, one ‘technical bake’ and one ‘show-stopper.’

(Images courtesy CBC. Episodic photography by Geoff George)

All three rounds are tasted and critiqued by experts and they decide who is to be eliminated and who deserves to have the title of ‘star baker’ each week.

On Sunday, October 23rd, Greater Victoria’s very own John Fowler was named star baker. 

“I’m still just as surprised now watching it, as I was when I did win it,” Fowler told Victoria Buzz on his recent win. 

“The bakers are phenomenal, they really are phenomenal,” he said regarding his competition. “The bakes they did for botanical week were out of this world, so to win within that group just feels surreal.”

(Images courtesy CBC. Episodic photography by Geoff George)

Fowler learned to bake from his grandmother who was known to be an incredible baker to many in his childhood home of St. John’s.

“People would ask her to do wedding cakes and parties,” said Fowler on his grandmother’s baking. “She always wanted her own bakery but sadly that never came to fruition.”

“So now, I’m carrying on her tradition of baking.”

He got his baking foundations from his grandmother but he needed passion, drive and creativity to get on the Great Canadian Baking Show and to win the honour of being named star baker last week.

“I did all the training before I even applied,” said Fowler on how he prepared for the competition show. “You can prepare in a sense of developing your own skills and reading a lot but when it comes to the technical, there’s nothing you can do to prepare for that.”

You just have to hope you have enough skills to get you through it, or luck as it may be.”

(Images courtesy CBC. Episodic photography by Geoff George)

Fowler and his fellow contestants are all in the same boat when it comes to being under a time crunch, dealing with figuring out new skills on the fly and managing their time properly to impress the judges at the end of the bake.

“I felt stress until we started baking,” Fowler told Victoria Buzz. “Once I started baking I got into the groove of it and the rhythm of it, but before that stress levels were just zero to 200.”

“Things can go wrong and they do go wrong and you just have to deal with it. You just do it and you hope for the best.”

When it comes to baking for himself, Fowler said nothing beats a touton–an east coast classic fried bread treat–best served with molasses. 

In Victoria however, Crust Bakery has two locations that are the places Fowler will go when he wants to treat himself locally. 

‘Chocolate week’ is the next challenge Fowler will have to face. To see how he does, watch the Great Canadian Baking Show airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Curtis Blandy

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