Assiginack bake-off looks to generate some lockdown fun

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ASSIGINACK – The pandemic has induced folks across the globe to hone their baking skills and it is impossible to miss the numerous baking challenges taking place on television and online streaming sites. Assiginack events co-ordinator Jackie White got into the action recently with a kids’ Mother’s Day bake-off that proved successful, so successful, in fact, she decided to launch a full on bake-off, complete with prizes.

“It’s really all about having some fun,” she said of the bake-off contest. “Everybody is getting pretty tired of the lockdown and we need something fun to do.”

Ms. White is no stranger to baking events; those paying attention to the world of online bread baking will be familiar with some of her efforts. There have been many bakers posting their efforts online and numerous pandemic-inspired online contests.

“There are so many amazing cooks and bakers on Manitoulin,” she said. “I thought to myself ‘why don’t we do one?’”

In the Mother’s day event, Ms. White set up distinct instructions. “I gave them all of the materials and the children had to work with one,” she said. “Kids are incredible, they have so much talent. It has been such a long year on everyone, I thought ‘let’s just have some fun’.”

So was born the Great Manitoulin Bake-off. While the event is being hosted by Assiginack, the event is open to any ratepayer/resident of Manitoulin. Ms. White explained that “the first round of the competition may be images only,” so judged on appearance alone, but she hopes, depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time, that in the final three weeks the judges will also be able to taste each entry.

There will be two separate categories, one for kids and the other open to adults. Registration can be found online at Assiginack.ca and entry is $5 for youth 16 and under and $10 for adults 17 and up.

“You cannot work as a team,” cautioned Ms. White. “The entrant must solely bake the item yourself, although kids can have help with safety precautions such as placing baking in and out of the oven.”

As part of the contest, entrants agree to not show their baking creations until after they have been posted on the township social media/website. “This is to keep the element of surprise and not inadvertently influence the judges,” said Ms. White. 

This amazing creation was the work of 13-year-old Mya Balfe in the Mothers’ Day baking event.

A panel of judges will score the first three rounds, with some of the participants going on to the next round in each category. That number will be based on number of entries. When the final round of judging is complete, one first and one second place winner will be determined in each category. There will be four rounds and elimination in each of the rounds will take place. If registration numbers do not comply with four rounds, it will be shortened to fewer rounds.

Ms. White stresses that the aim of the Great Manitoulin Bake-off is just to have fun.

“Sure, there are prizes,” she said, “but what the heck? Why not just enter and see how it goes.”

The theme and rules for each round will be sent out via email based on the email address provided at time of registration.

Registration for the Great Manitoulin Bake-off closes June 7 at 10 pm. Both the youth and adult categories run simultaneously.

Round one starts June 8 with an email sent to participants stating what the “bake” will be and what criteria are involved. On June 15 all baking images are to be in by 6 pm, based on instructions given, and judging will follow. Those going on to the next round will be announced on June 18.

Round two also begins with an email announcing the bake on June 29, with those baked items being brought in by 6 pm—judging will be from 7 to 9 pm. On July 2 the round three contestants will be announced.

July 6 will see the round three email arrive in the remaining contestants’ inboxes. Bakes will be brought in by 6 pm on July 13, with judging taking place, once again, from 7 to 9 pm. Those contestants going on will arrive at contestants’ inboxes on July 20, with bakes being brought in by 6 pm on July 27. The final winners, first and second in each of the youth and adult categories, will be announced on July 30.

While Ms. White encourages people to come for the fun, there will be prizes, a door prize that one entrant will win from each category announced in the first round.

There are prizes for first and second place in each category.

Ms. White requests that everyone, as this is a first time, please be patient. “Every effort will be made to ensure the playing field is fair, but rules and timelines may be subject to change.”

In the end, it is all about having fun with a little friendly (and delicious) competition.