Dalhousie University dentistry professor Sachin Seth made it to the season two finale night of the Great Canadian Baking Show on Nov. 7 where Andrei Godoroja of Vancouver, B.C. claimed the top spot of the season.
Although Seth didn’t walk away with the champion title, he did walk away from the experience with a lot to say.
Dal Gazette: So you made it to finale night.
Sachin Seth: I made it to finale night. I guess I’ve got to be really happy about that. Obviously, I wish I’d won, and certainly I am biased, I think I should have won, but at the end of the day, it’s the judges’ opinion that matters. Just got to go with that.
DG: What was going through your mind when you heard you’d be in the final three?
SS: A couple different things: the first thing was ‘Yes, I made it. This is what I wanted to – this was my goal, to get to the finale.’ And not because it was about winning or the chance of winning, it was really about wanting to be given the opportunity to experience this whole process in its entirety.
It really would’ve bummed me out if I got into this show and didn’t get to go through every technical bake, or every signature bake, or every showstopper. So win or lose, I got to experience every part of it.
DG: Was there ever a time where you thought you were going home?
SS: Yes, I certainly thought that at International Week. I think mentally, I had just sort of given up. I was tired and a lot of stuff at school was going on, just sort of the time of year.
It was May, I was really busy with my real job and I just thought ‘I think I’m going to go home this one.’ I sort of gave up and was like ‘That’s fine, I’m going to go home. It’s fine. Don’t worry, it was a good run, four episodes – great.’ But by whatever means, I pulled it out.
DG: What was it like doing the final signature, technical and showstopper bake?
SS: Oh boy. It was hot. It was hot.
The final signature bake – up until the last show, my time management was always great and I’ve got to say it kind of hit a brick wall with that last show. It was a lot to do in a small period of time. Anyone who knows me and knows how I perform on the show, I’m really good with my time, I got it really down. So the signature was really just a time push; and the technical, having watching it last night and being part of it, it was so tight.
They were really looking for things to single us out. They were really nitpicking on things, and that was a really fun process to go through that technical. It was a good one, there was very little direction given, so it was a good challenge.
When I reached the showstopper, the day started out really good […] feeling like everything was going along, but before I knew it – I was over halfway done and I hadn’t even started two-thirds of what I needed to do.
The stress level went through the roof at the halfway point, and the heat felt like it tripled. It was so hot. I’ve never been under such duress physically as I had during that. It was 40 degrees outside and then in an enclosed tent, with ovens going and you’re running around – it was brutal.
After that was all said and done, it was like release; I didn’t even know if I could stand up after it.
DG: Why did you choose to honour your wife with your last bake?
SS: I was just thinking of flavours that I was passionate about and that I thought would represent me and part of my life. When I put it all together I thought: ‘Geez, this is sort of like our wedding; so let me just make this sort of homage in honour of our wedding.’
Obviously, I’m East Indian and I had an Indian wedding, so that was the kulfi flavour I pulled out there. Then I thought – strawberries and champagne – that’s a nice toast thing and we had strawberries and champagne the night before our wedding as a little celebration.
Then of course, you need a strong cup of coffee the day after. It just sort of all came together like that and I thought what a nice little treat for her.
DG: What would you say was the hardest challenge?
SS: The finale.
That showstopper was the hardest physically challenging. The mental one for me was the International Week showstopper. I just reached sort of a creative roadblock there and I couldn’t think outside of the box enough for that one. I’m thankful I made it passed but I keep coming back to that one as the low point for me.
DG: What was your favourite challenge?
SS: I loved every single technical. From the beginning to the end I enjoyed every single one of those technicals whether I placed first or fifth or whatever. They are so much fun for someone who likes to bake because it’s a challenge.
I took great pleasure in those. Those aside the one piece I was most proud of was my Chocolate Week showstopper – my mirror-glazed entremets cake.
DG: Was there something that shocked you about this experience?
SS: Something that shocked me – a couple things that I learned about myself, one of them being that I’m more competitive than I thought and number two, I can do anything I want.
I can do what I want to do if I just put my mind to it. This was just so much outside of my regular comfort zone. Being a dentist, being an educator, it’s all a controlled environment for the most part, and this was just so out of my comfort zone.
DG: Is there anything you would change?
SS: No, no, you know there are things that I wish I did better on but I don’t think that that’s fair to say that I would’ve changed those. I think what I chose and how I represented myself, I am certainly very proud. I did not say anything that I regret and certainly everything I put out on a plate I was very proud to put my name on.
DG: Do you still keep in touch with the other contestants?
SS: Not with all, but I will say that Megan is one of my very good friends. That was one shocking thing about this journey; I didn’t think that would ever happen. I went into this thinking this is not about making friendships.
Truthfully, it was not about the friendships, even though some people enter the competition going ‘I want to meet people,’ that’s fine, that wasn’t my thing. I wanted to experience the process; so making friends was the last thing on my list. But that corky girl, I was very happy to have become her friend.
DG: What’s next?
SS: Well, it’s back to life at the dental school, that’s just where things are now.
What has changed for me on the baking front: I’m starting to get a lot more requests for people wanting cakes and cupcakes for their parties (most recently Dal Med’s 150 celebration). I actually really enjoy that sort of thing, so I’m going to entertain that as a side thing to do, and I’m also getting requests for children’s birthday parties to come in and do cooking demos and decorating cupcakes with little kids.
You can follow Sachin Seth on Instagram @sweettoothhfx to check out his latest creations and cooking endeavours. And keep your eyes open on campus for some of his goodies as they were spotted at a fundraiser in the dentistry building.