I was so pleasantly surprised when Vandana Jain started following me on Twitter after I had sent out tweets raving about The Great Canadian Baking Show. Consistently her super colourful and inspiring bakes on the show moved me to write her and tell her how much she rocks. I am so excited and honoured she agreed to this interview.
Don’t forget! The finale is this Wednesday December 20th at 8 pm/8:30NT on CBC. Please note I would have loved to have done an interview with Linda but I could not find her on social media!
What inspired you to apply to The Great Canadian Baking Show Vandana?
I’m a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off (watched all 8 seasons!) and when I heard they were doing a Canadian version I was tempted to apply but at the same time hesitant because I know Canada loves to bake and there would be so much competition. It was my husband Vikash that actually convinced me to give it a go and try! In the end, I’m sure glad he did, it’s been quite the adventure!
What homemade treat got you onto the show?
I made a fusion recipe, chai flavored banana fritters. I spiced the fritters with fresh ground cardamom.
I know you like to combine eastern and western flavours and food. Which bake were you the most successful at doing that?
I was really proud of my British high tea. I used my mama’s recipes for this so it personally meant a lot for me to learn about my East Indian heritage. I sure had to work really hard at that showstopper! It was a very challenging bake for me, with lots of elements, especially in the time that was given. I know I took a big risk on that challenge, but that made it that much more rewarding when the judges really liked the bakes. It was the challenge that gave me more confidence to really try new things and push myself to see where my boundaries are.
People in Regina and The Prairies in general must be super excited with how great you have done on the show. Are you getting much fan email/tweets…?
I’m so overwhelmed by the support I’ve received being on this show. I certainly didn’t expect the amount of kind comments and encouragement that people have been showing me. It’s so touching to receive kind words from people all across Canada. I think my favorites have been people that have messaged me saying that I’ve inspired them to try baking and experiment with flavours they have never tried before. That really means a lot to me and is so rewarding, I’m very grateful.
Does your family watch every episode together with you? Who is your greatest supporter?
Yes, my family watches each episode and definitely have been my biggest supporters each step of the way! I’ve been in awe of all the support from family, friends, coworkers, and most of all people that just love to bake!
What do you still have to learn when it comes to baking?
I think when it comes to baking you are ALWAYS learning. It was such an amazing experience to have our bakes judged by Rochelle Adonis and Bruno Feldeisen, they are amazing world class chefs and give you so many great tips along the way. Their expertise and knowledge really showed when they are critiquing the bakes, and this actually motivated me to keep pushing myself to strive to get better and keep learning! I think that’s what is so great about baking, there is always something to learn and because everyone has their own baking styles and flavours, the opportunity to experiment is endless! The show sure inspired me to continue to learn and experiment in the kitchen.
What do you consider your forte in the kitchen?
When it comes to strengths, I think my ability to take risks and try new flavour combinations would be what comes to mind. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. But that’s the fun of it, it’s all about exploration in food and when you look at all the different ingredients and flavours that are used in different countries around the world, it’s actually very exciting…there’s so much to explore!
If you could bake for anyone, who would it be?
I would love to bake just once for Paul Hollywood, just being a huge fan of the British series I am curious what his thoughts would be on some of my flavour combinations. I wonder if I would get a “Hollywood Handshake” at any point haha.
What was the greatest challenge about being on the show?
I think being on this show really took me out of my comfort zone. Being a home baker, you never have an opportunity to be taken out of your everyday life and completely focus on something you are passionate about. Being able to bake in the tent allowed me to discover things about myself that I never knew. I honestly surprised myself at some of my own bakes. I’ve never had an opportunity to really push myself like I did on this show, and I’m very grateful for that. It has really changed the way I view things, it makes me never want to limit myself in what I can accomplish.
Is there a cookbook in your future?
Being on the show has definitely inspired me to keep going and keep creating new recipes. We will have to wait and see where this adventure goes next! You can find me on my new site here!
Follow Vandana on social media via @vandanabakes: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Debra She Who Seeks says
Interesting interview. My sister lives in Regina and is rooting for Vandana of course! She was raving to me about Vandana’s beautiful High Tea artistry.
Suzie the Foodie says
Thanks for reading Debra! Oh of course, it is set up to be quite regional. We have Regina, Montreal and High River in the finale! Yes, Vandana’s high tea was so beautiful. I wrote to her about that in particular on Twitter. It was stellar!
Cathy Fletcher says
What a sweet woman! She inspires the home baker in all of us to try something new…unafraid!
Suzie the Foodie says
Absolutely Cathy!!! Her take on High Tea was brilliant and she really made it her own. She totally inspired me.