Under the bright lights of the baking tent, Richmond Hill native Jasmine Linton (Criminology) represented Carleton University with pride in Season 3 of the Great Canadian Baking Show. Balancing the artistic and scientific elements of ‘edible chemistry’ Jasmine didn’t let being the youngest competitor on the show slow her down. Instead she attacked each challenge with the wisdom and creativity of a Raven.
1. At what age did you discover your love for baking and how has it affected your life so far?
I first started baking when I was about two. I would visit my grandmother and follow her around the kitchen as she baked, doing whatever I could to be involved in the process. My love for baking only grew from there – I took certified cake decorating courses at eight, began selling cakes (on and off) at ten, entered a cupcake baking competition at thirteen and took part in a “dream careers” panel for baking at fifteen. Baking is a part of who I am and it’s helped me develop my creative skills while also learning a little bit about what it’s like to be involved in a small business.
2. What do you love the most about baking?
I love being able to take things that are so simple, like water and flour and create full-fledged products. I love the science of it and being able to see the changes in process as I follow the directions in a slightly different way or I try to experiment. It’s edible chemistry!
I also love the artistic element that comes in, especially with cake decorating and how new techniques are always being passed around – there’s always something new to learn! Not to mention, I get to create something beautiful that makes people happy which is always a bonus.
3. Take us through the selection process of the Great Canadian Baking Show. How did you become a contestant?
One of my sorority sisters let me know about the call for applicants and I spent a few weeks worrying about whether I was actually skilled/confident enough to apply. When I finally managed to build up enough courage to submit an online application, I got a phone call for a phone interview the next morning. After that it was a little chaotic – the in-person auditions involved a practice “technical” and bringing in a “signature” baked good… which took place right in the middle of midterms. I submitted my final midterm assignment, drove back to Toronto for the audition and then it was a few more weeks before they called me with the final decision!
4. What was it like baking while knowing you were going to be on TV? How did you prepare? How did it affect your baking?
It was terrifying – I’m very self-conscious and full of self-doubt, which is death to bakers in a way. Not believing in my own ability frequently leads to mistakes and there’s only so much wiggle room in the science of baking.
I did what I could to practice, trying recipes from cookbooks I’d never heard of before or things I wanted to try but had never gotten around to in case those skills I picked up would come in handy. Mostly, I practiced the skills I knew I had but needed more improvement on. I think my baking definitely changed for the better during this period – I was more experimental and more willing to try something over and over until it was as perfect as I thought it could be.
5. How would you describe your experience on The Great Canadian Baking Show? What did you learn from being on the show?
I would describe my experience on the show as life-changing! I met people from all over the country who I now love with all my heart and never would have met otherwise. I finally convinced my dad to let me apply to pastry schools (which will hopefully happen in the New Year). I stepped out of my comfort zone and was pushed even further out of it by all of the people involved. I gained so much confidence and trust in my own abilities that I genuinely don’t know if I would have ever gotten here otherwise.
From being on the show I learned to have more faith in myself and to do more things that scare me. I wouldn’t have been able to have this opportunity otherwise!
6. How do baking and criminology go together, are there any synergies that you see between the two?
I think the most apparent links between criminology and baking, in my opinion, is that they both help people and involve understanding the impacts of different events/actions. For me, what drew me to criminology was the curiosity that came from wanting to understand why people do things that hurt others and what justifications are used in that process. For baking, I also like to understand why certain combinations of ingredients create certain outcomes and how the omission or addition of one thing can completely change it.
With my understanding of criminology, I wanted to be able to take that knowledge and improve the system so that fewer people are left to suffer as a result of systematic slips and societal impositions. I wanted to make more people live the best lives they can and to make them happy by putting my time into something good.
In a way, baking is a quicker way to do that! By getting to do something I love (i.e. baking), I get to make people happier than they were before, even if only for a little while. I get to share something I worked on and it brings joy to those I share it with. It’s a very special feeling and it’s addicting.
7. If you could only bake one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
This is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked and I think my answer changes every time. Right now, I think it might be bread. There are so many possible variations and so many different techniques that can be learned. Making brioche or other enriched dough is different from making sourdough which is different from making a French baguette. There are certain skills that carry over between the different types, but there are also certain nuances you need to understand as you switch between the different varieties.
Also, it’s bread. In the words of Tan France, we love a carb.
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