Sweet, sweet victory: Edmontonian wins Great Canadian Baking Show

For Edmonton baker Nataliia Shevchenko, victory was as sweet as her personal specialty, honey cake. 

Shevchenko has been crowned the winner of Season 3 of The Great Canadian Baking Show, a series which brings together amateur bakers from across the country to compete in a series of themed culinary challenges. 

“The key was believing in myself,” Shevchenko said. “I wanted to go there but I wasn’t sure I would be able to do a good job.

“I can’t believe it still. I can’t believe it.” 

Based on the beloved British format, the CBC series is known for its unusually friendly approach to competition and Season 3 was no exception. 

“I just feel like everybody was a winner there,” ​​Shevchenko said in an interview Friday with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“We were all friends and we all deserved to be winners. Even with all that stress, we had a lot of fun. All the competitors and the judges, they are such kind people.” 

The pans have been put away and the tent is down – we’ll talk to the winner of season three of the Great Canadian Baking show! 6:27

Shevchenko, who works as an administrative assistant in downtown Edmonton, was officially revealed as the champion Wednesday night when the finale aired on the CBC network.

Shevchenko had to keep a lid on her win for five months. The final episode was shot in Toronto in June. 

“We had to keep it a secret for so long,” she said. “It was very hard for me and for my husband especially. I had to keep it a secret from my coworkers and they were asking every day.”

Shevchenko, 33, has only been in Canada for a short time. She moved to Canada three years ago after falling in love with her husband online.

‘Just a crazy baker’

Growing up in Ukraine, baking was a staple in Shevchenko’s household. She learned how to make traditional Ukrainian recipes from her mother as a young child. 

She specializes in bread and technically-sophisticated cakes inspired by her Eastern European roots. 

During her final round in the baking tent, she won over the judges with a towering gold cake, called the ‘motherland monument,’ layered with prune sauce and cognac. 

She’s back at work in the office but has plans to launch a baking show on YouTube in partnership with fellow Edmonton contender Chris Koo, who left the baking tent in the season semi-final.

“I work as an administrative assistant every day full time but every time I come home from work I want to bake something,” she said. “I love it.

“I’m just a crazy baker.”

Read more at CBC.ca