Blyth's Jess Miners-Bromley moves on in international cake competition
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
In food news, local cake queen Jess Miners-Bromley is moving onto the next round in The Greatest Baker Competition.
Over the past few weeks, the Blyth-based baker has risen above thousands of other competitors from all over the world, securing herself a sweet spot in the quarterfinals - a situation that still feels a bit surreal to her. “It’s pretty crazy, actually,” she said. “I guess I’m realizing now that it’s real. Next is the hard part of the contest - in the quarterfinals, every vote really matters!” She originally joined the competition on a whim, but making it this far along has the passionate pâtissier eyeing the big prize - a feature in Bake From Scratch magazine and $10,000.
Even though the competition is far from over, Miners-Bromley has already been enjoying the perks of publicity - her home baking business, Bakery Bliss, is busier than ever. “I’m getting a ton of orders coming in, which is cool, and just a lot of interest in the business itself.” Her current coterie of confections includes everything from custom cakes to humble brownies for Huron County sweet-seekers, but she’s always looking to expand her dessert repertoire. This year, she’s planning to master the flaky croissant and its creepy little cousin, the cronut. She’s also hoping to experiment with tropical fruits. “There’s some pretty cool fruit out there! I want to work with passion fruit and guava. And I really want to incorporate freeze-dried fruit into frosting and cakes and just experiment with flavour.”
Checking out the techniques and concepts of other oven enthusiasts is an important ingredient in her quest to keep it fresh. “There are a lot of great bakers all over the world and I love looking at their stuff for inspiration. I really admire Rainbow Cookie Co. and Fabulace Cookies - they’ve got really different styles than mine.” When it comes to deciding on her own personal favourites she tends towards the simplicity of tried and true treats like chocolate chip cookies and old-fashioned donuts.
While the internet is certainly an infinite chasm of cookie and cake content, when it comes to choosing her favourite repository of recipes, Miners-Bromley prefers to peruse an old cookbook that was passed down by her grandmother. The well-loved volume has seen better days, but that just adds to its charm. “It probably has a name but the cover fell off and got lost years ago!” she exclaimed.
Miners-Bromley’s food philosophy is more about the journey of developing her skills than producing a perfect product. She finds value in every baking experience, whether it foments a funky new fan favourite or ends in an epic frosting fail. “I‘m O.K. with making a lot of mistakes - it’s how we learn!”
If, or when, the day finally comes to open her own brick-and-mortar bakery, Miners-Bromley wants to be known for offering great customer service and a vast variety of treats. “I want to have a little bit of anything! Slices of cake for sure, though.”
When this round of voting comes to a close on Jan. 18, the top bananas from each group will go on to the semifinals. The cream of that battle crop will then go on to the final round of voting in February, from which only one baker will emerge victorious.
Miners-Bromley is thankful for all the members of the community that voted for her on The Greatest Baker website, and hopes that that strong support will carry her all the way across the finish line. So vote early and vote often, Cake Squad!