‘Showing love through baked goods’: St. John’s native to bring Newfoundland flavors to new season of Great Canadian Baking Show

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VICTORIA, BC — The Great Canadian Baking Show (a show that got some of us through the long, dreary winters) returns to television on October 2 and, for local fans, a land- Neuvien joins the cast this year.

The premise of The Great Canadian Baking Show is familiar to reality TV fans: 16 bakers are vying for the title of best baker, so it’s a departure from the usual formula. While other shows devote a lot of airtime to petty squabbles and nasty competitors, the happy bakers of The Great Canadian Baking Show root for each other, creating smooth, soothing television.

John Fowler was born and raised in St. John’s. Although he currently resides and works in Victoria, BC, he draws inspiration from the kitchens back home.

“My grandmother is the reason I cook,” Fowler says. “She could bake anything – loaves of bread, muffins, squares and beautiful wedding cakes. We would have everything regularly. She would always chase people out of the kitchen when they tried to help, and I’m like that too.

Fowler’s grandmother dreamed of owning a bakery in St. John’s.

“Unfortunately that dream didn’t come to fruition, but she inspired me so much,” he says.


Originally from St. John’s, John Fowler says he draws a lot of inspiration from his Newfoundland grandmother when he cooks. – Contributed

Inspired by Newfoundland

Fowler couldn’t say much about his on-air baking plans (due to a pesky nondisclosure agreement we had to abide by), but did share some of his coolest Newfoundland ingredients. taken.

“Newfoundland blueberries are impossible to beat,” he says.

“The west coast ones are delicious, but not the same as those (backbreaking) little blue gems you get in Newfoundland. Molasses is my other favorite Newfoundland ingredient. I have to have it at home – molasses with butter and white bread, molasses cookies and rich, dark molasses cake. I treat it like a gourmet ingredient.”

Another feature of Fowler’s Bakery is buying local produce and supporting local farmers.

“I’m always inspired by what’s in season – blackberries, apples and peaches. I think supporting local growers and farmers is so important.


Being part of the Great Canadian Baking Championship was a dream come true for John Fowler, who was born and raised in St. John's.  - Contributed
Being part of the Great Canadian Baking Championship was a dream come true for John Fowler, who was born and raised in St. John’s. – Contributed

Fowler loves to cook and hopes the show inspires people to come into their kitchens.

“I love the meticulous nature of baking projects – the creativity and the artistry too,” he says.

“Most of the time, I like to do something special for the people who matter to me – to feed my friends and family and show my love through baked goods. Even if the baking is terrible, receiving a homemade treat makes people feel loved.”


“I love the meticulous nature of baking projects – the creativity and artistry too.”
—John Fowler


Read cookbooks like novels

This isn’t Fowler’s first attempt at cooking on the show. He auditioned and nearly got on the show in season three.

“I started to assume they didn’t want me and almost gave up on the dream,” he says.

“Then I was asked to audition for this season. Day one was surreal – I almost cried when I walked in; I just couldn’t believe I was going to cook in ‘The Tent’.”

Each episode of The Great Canadian Baking Show presents a technical challenge: the stuff of nightmares. Bakers always look tense, puzzled and sweaty, trying to pull off a baking miracle in an intense timeframe.

Fowler prepared for technical challenges by studying and studying.

“Read, read, read,” he says. “Although it’s almost impossible to anticipate or prepare for a technique, you can look at as many different recipes as possible. I have a stack of cookbooks by my bed and treat them like novels. When you watch the show, it’s funny that you think, ‘this looks easy; how can you mess this up?’ When you’re in the tent, it’s a different story, that’s for sure.



“They are part of the family now”

Famous, the Great Canadian Baking Show is slow, friendly and kind. The hosts are jovial, and the judge’s criticisms are always fair and improve the work of the baker. The contestants appear to be part of an extended family of bakers, and the finale still features the bakers getting together for pints and dinners.

Fowler says that impression is quite accurate.



“I’m not sure ‘friends’ is a strong enough word to describe other bakers. We have all had a unique and incredible experience that has bonded us for life. They’re part of the family now,” he said.

“The Great Canadian Baking Show is different from other shows – the competition is you against the clock, and everyone cares about each other and will help each other through tough times.”

The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC starting October 2 and streams live and on demand on CBC Gem.

You can follow Fowler’s culinary adventures on Instagram @johnnyboybakes.


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