From left, Utah baking artists Jennifer Vespar, Emerlie Miller and Mandy Clifford pose for a photo during a competition on Food Network Canada’s “The Big Bake.” The women won the contest on their Season 2 episode, “Caketastic Carnival,” which can now be viewed on Food Network GO with any cable network provider. (Courtesy of Food Network Canada’s “The Big Bake”)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Three talented local pastry artists have teamed up to compete — and win — Food Network Canada’s ‘t’he Big Bake“, and their episode can now be viewed in the United States.
Jennifer Vesper, Emerlie Miller and Mandy Clifford had never competed together before, but their combined talents created an impressive and dynamic 4-foot cake in the shape of a blue-ribboned pig holding carnival tickets and spinning on one leg. Next to the pig was a 5-foot cake shaped like a popcorn machine that popped popcorn out of waffle paper, according to Vesper.
Their masterpiece stood on a 2 1/2ft platform, requiring the women to use a ladder to decorate parts of the cake, said Vesperswhich itself measures 5 feet.
At the time of filming, in January 2021, Canadian borders were closed due to the pandemic. Vesper said to enter the country they had to be hired as contract workers so they could be considered “essential workers”. The women had to sign an agreement not to participate in anything recreational and had to self-quarantine in their hotel rooms for 14 days after arrival.
During those two weeks, the women used DoorDash and room service for food and were able to step out onto their balconies for a breath of fresh air. Vesper said she spent her time doing tiptoe circles as quietly as possible to avoid gaining weight before going on TV. She also watched episodes of “The Big Bake” to prepare.
Once on the show, Vesper was in charge of the cake structure, something she’s experienced at as she once built giant, spinning candy ornaments for Macy’s Christmas window displays in Salt Lake.
“One of the compliments the judges gave me on the show that didn’t air was that they were like, ‘That was the fastest we’ve ever seen a structure go together,'” Vesper said.
All three women agreed that the most stressful part of the experience was the time limit. They had only five hours to complete the great undertaking. Vesper said it was the hardest job she had ever done in her life and her legs were shaking from climbing up and down the ladder and running around the room so much. She added that despite this, the judges and production team were very kind and created a truly carefree environment.
“They made it fun even though it was super ridiculously stressful,” she said.
Emerlie Miller said the five-hour limit was incredibly stressful because the three of them only had 15 hours to work on two huge cakes that were on a huge screen and telling a story.
“I made tiny two-tiered cupcakes that took me 12 hours to decorate,” Miller said, putting the experience into perspective.
Another stressful part for Miller is that she used to be their team’s baker, but due to over 20 food allergies, she won’t eat the cakes she bakes and has to trust her instincts to make them unfold. good.
Miller said many of her food allergies didn’t develop until her teens and 20s, so she still vaguely remembers how certain flavors tasted. Because the name of their episode was “Caketastic Carnival”, the flavors she used in their cake included tastes you would find at a carnival like chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, banana caramelized sauce, maple syrup and pretzel.
“The Big Bake” judge Eddie Jackson told the team it was the best cake he had ever eaten on the show, Vesper said.
Miller said this is the third Food Network show she has been on. She enjoys the energy of competing against other professionals who are passionate about what they do.
“We play with sugar,” she said.
mandy clifford said she had previously entered a competition on Food Network and loves competitions.
“I mean, it was very difficult; and the time commitment was also difficult, but I’m glad I did it,” Clifford said. “It was a really fun and very rewarding production.”
“Caketastic Carnival,episode five of the second season of Food Network Canada’s “The Big Bake,” which aired in Canada in May 2021 and in the United States in March 2022. It can now be viewed on Food Network GO with any cable network provider.