A Saskatoon baker walked away from a Food Network competition with a big cash prize this week.
Annissa Cheyne, owner of the Sweet Wheat Bakeshop, raked in a $10,000 prize after winning the Food Network’s ‘Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown,’ which aired on Monday.
The complex creation that got her the big win was a 16-foot construction featuring a giant rotating carousel made from gingerbread. Cheyne says she and her teammate Justine Martin from Ontario wanted to create a carnival theme. The carousel was able to spin thanks to a turntable underneath the structure.
“It’s lots of fun. The things you can do with edible materials are mind-blowing,” Cheyne said.
A creation as extravagant and intricate as hers was sure to take a lot of time, but Cheyne said her team only had 10 hours to complete the project, and she said it flew by in no time.
Structures entered in the competition had to be a minimum height of 24 inches, and had to be made from at least 70 per cent gingerbread. At least 90 per cent of the constructions had to be edible.
“You really need to get the recipe right.” Cheyne said.
This competition was different from other Food Network Challenges, she said, because entrants were allowed to bake in advance ahead of the 10-hour time slot. She said that was because each piece had to be measured and baked to precision, in order to fit together perfectly.
On the flight taking her to the competition, the baker said she had gingerbread crammed into her carry-on bag, checked in her luggage, and even in her laptop case.
Cheyne said her only previous gingerbread competition experience came during the Festival of Trees at the Western Development Museum.
“I didn’t even realize that gingerbread competitions were so intense down in the States,” Cheyne said.
This was not the local baker’s first Food Network Win. In 2019, she and her assistants won $10,000 on an episode of Food Network’s ‘The Big Bake Holiday.’
Cheyne specializes in custom cookies, and also teaches decorating workshops.