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Filipino Canadian chef competes in

international baking championship

Chef Austin Granados is the owner of Cake-ology bakeshop in the heart of the Exchange District in Winnipeg, at 185 Arthur St. Photo courtesy of Chef Austin’s family

Winnipeg pastry chef, Austin Granados is one of the 10 bakers from the US and Canada competing on Food Network’s Summer Baking Championship Season 2 in California.

Hosted by Jesse Palmer, every episode serves up a thrilling creative process by the contestants resulting in delicious treats for the judges to relish. With every episode, the winner of the challenge receives a special prize.

For the second episode aired on May 20, 2024, the Granados family held a watch party with family and friends for Austin. The room was full of excitement as the attendees cheered every time Austin was shown on screen. And at the end of the episode, the cheers went even louder when Palmer announced Austin to be the winner of the Main Heat challenge.

Pilipino Express recently spoke to Austin about his experience so far, in the competition.

PE: First off, congratulations on being selected to compete at Food Network’s Summer Baking Championships! How is it going so far?

Chef Austin: It’s going good. We just finished another episode and there’s many more to come.

PE: How long do you stay in California for each episode?

Chef Austin: It depends on when you get eliminated. I was there for the majority of the time. There are 10 bakers. In the first and second day, everyone was there to mingle and get a tour of the kitchen. And the third day, that’s when we did our challenges.

PE: What is the most challenging part of the competition? And how did you overcome it?

Chef Austin: The most challenging would probably be the time – finishing the task within the given time. It can take a shoot 90 minutes or as long as two and a half hours. Depending on the pre-heat and the main heat (event).

The pre-heat challenge, you get an advantage to get to the main heat. And in the main heat, some of us get eliminated.

And time is definitely on the clock. But all we have to do is stay focused, make sure that you’re finishing the components of your vision at the end. If something does go wrong or if you have to pivot, then by all means you have to scrap one of the components out and just present what you have.

PE: Are you able to incorporate Filipino ingredients in your creations?

Chef Austin: Oh yes. You get to request ingredients. Mine was ube, pandan, cassava and others. But they give you what’s available in L.A. for the show in general.

PE: Who among the three judges is the toughest to impress?

Chef Austin: The toughest I should say, is Duff Goldman. He’s like the “ace of cakes” guy. But everyone is like super stern. They’d say something good and something constructive. But if they don’t like your flavours or your components, they would tell you straight up.

PE: During the second episode when we had the watch party on May 20, you won the main heat event and won a special prize! Tell us about that.

Chef Austin: The challenge was making a cheesecake with your underwater item. Mine was a starfish. And I made a basque cheesecake and then there’s a hidden flavour to go along with your theme. I got pineapple. So, I made a roasted pineapple burnt basque cheesecake with a hidden roasted pineapple layer with a little bit of vanilla, cooked it down until it darkens in flavour, with a little bit of honey and vanilla bean, and incorporate that into the cheesecake. And then it was a water element that you must submerge. And so, I used a tapache, basically like a fermented pineapple drink using the rind of the pineapples.

PE: What do you consider important traits in joining a competition such as this?

Chef Austin: You must be team player. Even if we are doing individual things, you have to make sure that you’re sharing all the ingredients necessary because you only have a small amount. So, you have to work together even though you’re (going) against them, you’re still friends at the end.

PE: For this particular episode you won the Main Heat Challenge and won a Disney Cruise for four!

Chef Austin: Yes! I am definitely going to bring my fiancée and my parents.

PE: I know that this is somewhat a dream come true for you, what do you want to say to others, especially the young ones who might also be dreaming of becoming a chef like you?

Austin: You know, I’ve had a lot of mentors that really pushed me to follow my dreams and my passions, so I encourage you to follow your dreams and your passions. And I know the people surrounding you will always support you, just like how my family and friends supported me.

Chef Austin is the owner of Cake-ology bakeshop in the heart of the Exchange District in Winnipeg at 185 Arthur St. The popular place serves up different types of custom cakes, various types of French pastries such as cream puffs, tarts, laminated doughs such as kouign-amann and supreme, one of their best sellers that they make only once a month.

The Summer Baking Championship winner will receive $25,000 USD as prize. the show airs every Monday from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the Food Network.

– by Lucille Nolasco-Garrido