Daily Dose — Kootenay man claims Great Canadian Baking show title
There’s no need to travel the country to find the best baker in Canada.
A simple commute to the diverse community of Creston will locate the winner of the Great Canadian Baking Show (GCBS) Season 7.
The local teacher Loïc Fauteux-Goulet claimed the top prize in the national baking competition series, a cooking competition series that premiered on CBC Television in 2019 and is an adaptation of the Great British Bake Off.
Each season features 10 amateur baking contestants selected from across Canada to participate in a competition of themed baking challenges.
After two judges taste and critique the entries, they determine which contestant is crowned each week’s “Star Baker” and which contestant will be sent home. In each season finale, three bakers compete to be named the winner of GCBS and take home the GCBS cake stand.
Fauteux-Goulet, 32, has been baking for a while, but two things encouraged him to elevate his skills.
“One of them was meeting my partner who is also a baker, I wanted to impress her. And the other was as we started to watch the baking show I was inspired from week to week to try some of the challenges and make baked goods that I hadn’t made before. I expanded my culinary horizons,” he says.
Fauteux-Goulet applied to the show five times total, before taking the title.
“After a couple years of watching the show, I randomly said it looks like so much fun, I’d like to be there. At that time, I definitely didn’t have the skills to be on the show. Applying each year was a huge source of motivation for me to have a better portfolio and try new bakes. Last year for season 6 I was noticed and went through the audition process but was not selected. And this year, season 7, was my year in the tent.”
Being on camera was new to Fauteux-Goulet, as it was to most of the bakers in the tent.
“I was compelled to do a good show. There are quite a few cameras on set. You sometimes interact with them, sometimes not. I felt very comfortable in this environment and I enjoyed it,” he explains.
There were certainly unexpected challenges throughout the competition, says Fauteux-Goulet.
“The first bakes did not turn out exactly how I wanted. I decided to go back to those preparations I had planned and revisit them in light of what I now knew about the tent. It’s a pretty intensive experience.”
In some ways, he was pushed to his limits.
“Constantly practicing, baking and being on set, and back at the hotel practicing more. People got tired but it was also so fun. We all called it Baking Summer Camp because we were tired but happy. It takes a lot of stamina to go through it. Things don’t always go well. There are pivotal moments where nothing is going well and you have to decide what you’re going to rescue.”
Fauteux-Goulet stayed in Toronto for several weeks during the spring for the duration of the show. But he says home was in his heart the entire time he was gone.
“I wanted to bring a little bit of Creston with me, whether that was through the ingredients or stories. When I came back here, Creston came together through the baking show. We had weekly viewing parties at a local brewery where we had about 100 people every week. That was an insane amount of support.”
Fauteux-Goulet says the moments after his win were “absolutely surreal.”
“The finale did not feel like television. There were guests and family members, and the two other finalists who were my best friends under the tent. It felt like we were sharing that moment. It took quite a while before I could associate this happy moment with being on the finale of a TV show.”
The GCBS cake stand or ‘plate’ is what the winner receives as an honour.
“The plate has just arrived,” says Fauteux-Goulet. “We moved into a new home recently so I’m still thinking of the best location to put the plate. Like I said in Episode 7, I will be serving and eating cake on the plate once and a while. It’s not going in a trophy cabinet.”
Fauteux-Goulet and his partner plan to root down in the Kootenays for good.
“I moved to BC about 10 years ago. I was on the Island, Okanagan, Prince George, briefly abroad and then back to BC. We’ve moved around a lot. After my first year here, it was clear that I had chosen BC. This is my home and where I’m going to stay.”
Fauteux-Goulet and his partner enjoy everything the Kootenays has to offer.
“We are big outdoor people so we mountain bike, ski tour, rock climb, cycle, paddle board. I try to enjoy the environment that I live in. We enjoy harvesting, whether it’s berries or picking at harvest time. That’s a moment of the year that I’m inspired by local ingredients for baking.”
The thing that was most incredible about being on the show was the positive vibe, says Fauteux-Goulet.
“It’s a feel-good show. We would be walking towards the tent a minute away from a challenge and a question popped up and everyone focused on you, troubleshooting your problem before you got in there. It was even more supportive than what it looks on TV. The focus was to make sure that every baker was always succeeding to the best of their abilities. That was fantastic.”
He has kept in touch with his co-competitors.
“I’ve visited many of the bakers, we’ve called each other. It’s a group of friends. From a more Kootenay perspective, I liked how inspiring the environment is.”
Overall, it was a very positive experience for the Season 7 winner.
“My greatest pride of the show was to always remind other bakers how lucky we are to be there, even if it’s stressful, even if we’re having a tough day. That was a dream to me to be in that tent and make sure that we savour those moments and come back happy the day after even if we had a tough day. This was the biggest thing I accomplished more than any of the bakes.”
The GCBS can be watched for free on CBC Gem’s streaming service.