Saskatoon baker rises above competition on Food Network reality show

A Saskatoon baker is hoping a victory on a baking reality show will translate into fame and fortune for her company.

Annissa Cheyne and her two assistants won first place on Monday night's episode of Food Network's The Big Bake Holiday, a competition that pits top bakers from across North America against each other.

Cheyne and her team created a five-foot-tall cake of a bear and owl roasting marshmallows over an ice fishing hole. The cake featured an actual working campfire and fish that moved.

"I've never done something that big," said Cheyne, owner of Sweet Wheat Bakeshop. "It's really hard."

Cheyne won $10,000 along with international attention. It was an especially impressive accomplishment given that baking is a side-project for the Saskatoon woman, who also works a separate full-time job.

"One competitor was from Chicago and he owns a couple of bakeries," she said. "I'm like, 'I'm from Saskatchewan, working part time from my mom's kitchen.'"

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She said baking in front of a camera crew was a bit unnerving. While crews were respectful and tried to stay out of the way, they documented everything, including mistakes.

"If you dropped something or did something wrong, they were filming you," she said. "Which is not what you want in that moment."

Cheyne said she learned a lot from the experience.

"I would say you're never too part-time or too amateur or too new to something to be good at it," she said. "To be on the show is just such an incredible honour."

While there were some minor issues with the cake, she said it worked out fairly well.

"I'm such a perfectionist," said Cheyne. "But in the grand scheme of things, when you're making something that big, it doesn't have to be perfect on every single angle."

The episode of The Big Bake Holiday was filmed in July and aired on Monday.