One more St. Albert pastry chef is about to become a national celebrity. Brittany Allen, owner and executive pastry chef at Confections Cake Co., is set to compete in the Food Network Canada’s second season of The Big Bake.
This competitive baking series brings together three professional teams that will attempt to outbake each other for a $10,000 grand prize.
“I always dreamed of being on a cake show even when I couldn’t make cakes. It’s a dream come true. It’s a pretty big deal to say, ‘I’ve been on the Food Network.’ Not only that, but I’ve been on it with two of my best friends,” laughed Allen, a graduate of British Columbia’s North Island College culinary program and Vancouver Island University’s pastry arts program.
Allen’s episode titled “Flights of Fantasy” airs Tuesday, April 13. Dubbed Team Cake-A-Licious, Allen’s artistic squad also features Red Seal baker Alex Lovett and self-taught baker Jocelyn Leyte. Both are employees of Confections Cake dessert bar.
“Jocelyn is a sculptor and she’s amazing at making characters and she’s hilarious. She makes us laugh. And Alex bakes the most amazing things. She’s great at making flowers and can invent whatever you want,” said Allen, a two-time winner at the Snowflake Festival.
“We make a great team. We’re great friends and we work well under pressure. Alex and I even finish each other’s sentences. We’ve worked together for so long, it’s very easy.”
Episodes require each team to bake a towering five-to-six-foot cake within the space of five hours. Teams are judged on design, execution, creativity and taste. In addition to designing, baking and decorating a cake, teams are also tasked with adapting their engineering skills to create a dynamic moving element.
For anyone who viewed Episode 1, which aired on April 7, the results were spectacular. All three cakes told a story with artistry, humour and motion. From a crow flapping its wings in an Italian piazza to a gliding chair lift on the snowy alps, the cakes were jaw-dropping to say the least.
Due to contractual obligations, Allen is tight-lipped about what viewers can expect to see during Flights of Fantasy. However, the Food Network hints at monstrous and magical elements, possibly fire-breathing dragons and mystical unicorns.
“I was happy with our theme. I wanted something where we could add a twist. I didn’t want to do a frilly cake. I wanted to do something fun, challenging and bit out there like those,” she said pointing to the skull, dragon, Game of Thrones and Star Wars cakes positioned throughout her trendy dessert bar.
Allen initially applied to the inaugural Big Bake competition in 2019 and was selected as alternate in case one of the feature teams was unable to compete. For the 2020 competition, the Food Network invited her to apply. Unfortunately, the spring series was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Hosted by former CFL player and The Bachelor Canada alumnus Brad Smith, the show features judges Eddie Jackson, an NFL player turned celebrity chef; Anna Olson, cookbook author and YouTube sensation; and Ron Ben-Israel, one of the world’s pre-eminent cake masters.
“I was so glad I got to meet Ron Ben-Israel. Israel was one of my idols. Because of COVID, only one judge was allowed per team. He was ours. He’s the king of wedding cakes and his flowers are awesome.”
Soon, the nail-biting competition will be viewed by the public.
“I’m nervous just to see myself on TV. It was such a blur. It happened so fast. Jocelyn and I watched the first episode and we were having flashbacks. It was such a crazy time.”
If Team Cake-A-Licious wins the grand prize, Allen explained the money is being plowed back into Confections Cake Co.
“My girls and I talked about it. We talked about keeping the business going, so we’re going to keep pushing through. I’d probably give them a bonus.”
Would the team apply to other baking shows, or was one enough?
“It was hard work. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But we had an awesome time. We were excited to do it and we felt pretty cool. Yeah, we’re ready to do it again. Bring it on.”
The Big Bake airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. MT.