When Karis Dekwant had to cut her bible school studies short this year in the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic and return to Inuvik from Sydney, Australia, she turned back to her passion — baking elaborate cakes.
Now, she’s found herself in the running for the Greatest Baker of 2020 competition, a worldwide online contest decided entirely by fan votes.
“All I can do is promote myself and get my friends and family to vote,” she said. “Honestly, the town has been so incredibly supportive. I’m actually so shocked as how many people are sharing things and saying incredible, kind words.”
Currently in the lead of her group, Dekwant has to survive four rounds of online voting as the list of potential winners narrows down. The first round of voting finishes Nov. 5 and anyone with a Facebook account who is interested can vote once per day, or purchase extra “Hero” votes if they’re really supportive.
If she’s the last one standing, Dekwant will get a feature in Bake from Scratch magazine, a year’s supply of Stuffed Puffed marshmallows, a cheque for $10,000 and receive worldwide recognition as the Greatest Baker of 2020.
Having been practicing her craft since she was 14, Dekwant is already a well-known baker in her own right — she entered the competitive cooking world when she was still in high school, participating in the Skills Canada Baking competition in Grades 9 through 12. And she won first place twice.
Since then, she’s established a home-based business providing specialty made-to-order cakes for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, special events and just about everything else. Since 2017, her cakes have been enjoyed all throughout the north, with orders going out to Ulukhaktok, Yellowknife, Norman Wells and throughout the Mackenzie Delta.
She mainly bakes cakes, but also loves to make cupcakes, french macaroons and chocolate strawberries. She also caters to dietary needs such as gluten-free cakes.
“I’m just super-passionate about it. It’s my creative outlet,” she said. “I just really enjoy designing things and work that into something people can eat.
“I really like when people are like, ‘You know what? This is the cake flavour I want to do, these are the colours I want, you can just do whatever you like.’ I feel like in those orders I make some of my best cake designs.
“I like sculpting things, like little animal figurines and cars, though I’m still working on the realistic human forms.”
She added that if her fans get her past the first round of voting, the votes will be reset and she will have to start the next round from scratch.