Thousands applied, 10 were selected. Ready, set, BAKE! These three unassuming words are hovering over my head as I take part in Season 5 of “The Great Canadian Baking Show!”
If you asked me what some of my favourite things are, orthodontics and baking would surely top that list (closely followed by naps, travel and dogs). Growing up, I had a massive sweet tooth. Back then, chocolate was my weakness and the toothbrush was my mortal enemy. And as a result, all my baby teeth were riddled in decay. To add insult to injury, when the poorly maintained baby teeth fell out, the permanent ones showed up with some confidence-blasting generalized moderate crowding.
I have no hesitation in saying my life changed when I got braces. I went from hiding my smile when laughing, to actually having confidence and significantly improved self-esteem. Orthodontics helped so much, that in turn I wanted to help others feel just as confident with their smiles; and so, my Tooth Fairy journey began!
Around the same formative years, I got into baking. I began making cupcakes, muffins, cookies and small cakes. In the first semester of hygiene school, after many exams and tears and even patients lost, I would go home, have a good cry and bake something to soothe my soul.
Baking may also have helped me land my first ortho job! I went around to all the offices in my area to drop off my resume, and one office in particular was so kind and arranged for me to meet the orthodontist on the spot. I felt so welcome, and after a good chat with him I sent the office a gift basket of – can you guess it – chocolate. Lo and behold, I received a call shortly thereafter that they wanted me to come aboard.
When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, I had time on my hands. I did a lot of continuing education, wrote articles, received additional accreditations and, of course, I baked. Like everyone else, I made a copious amount of sourdough and banana bread, but also, being a huge fan of “The Great Canadian Baking Show”, I applied for Season 4. It was mostly out of curiosity, but I didn’t even get a call back. That rejection motivated me even further to try to get onto Season 5, so I resolved to practice the most I ever have for a year straight and reapply with a better portfolio of bakes under my belt.
In March of 2021, proudly displaying a Rubik’s Cube in my video, I applied again. It was made of 9 different flavoured and coloured French entremets, and I had even built a rotating stand for it out of tempered chocolate. (See it on my Instagram page @luxe.baker.)
There were three stages to the audition process: a phone call, followed by a Zoom interview with a producer where you prepare something in advance, and finally the hardest part, a Zoom bake-along. The bake-along was extremely intense and producers from the show watched, asking culinary questions or interviewing me, seeing how I baked and did under pressure with distractions. If you thought hygiene school was bad….
So here we are today, balancing my passions for teeth and the sugar that destroys them, and I am proud to say I have achieved what I set out to do. I am on Season 5 of “The Great Canadian Baking Show”. Will my cakes be underbaked? Will I use any dental tools in my creations? Will I stop asking hypothetical questions? Tune in and find out!
The Great Canadian Baking Show airs on Sundays at 8PM ET on CBC and can be streamed on CBCGem!
About the Author
Alina is a Registered Dental Hygienist with 11+ years of experience in dentistry and orthodontics. Alina has obtained a Certificate in Adult Education and is a Certified Training Practitioner. She is an educator on Invisalign and profoundly passionate about all things orthodontics. Alina is also a current contestant on Season 5 of The Great Canadian Baking Show. Find her on Instagram @luxe.baker or contact her by email at email@example.com