London, Ont. bakery co-owner reaches quarterfinals in international competition

Olha Prytkova, co-owner of Happiness Cafe, is one of 1000 remaining bakers vying for the title of greatest baker in North America. Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

One of the co-owners of a London, Ont., bakery has reached the quarterfinals of the “Greatest Baker,” an international contest hosted by the cake boss himself, Buddy Valastro.

More than 50,000 people originally signed up to compete for the title of Greatest Baker, from professional bakers to home cooks.

Olha Prytkova, co-owner of Happiness Cafe, is one of 1,000 remaining bakers vying for the top prize of the contest: a two-page spread in the international baking magazine, Bake From Scratch, $10,000, and a meet and greet with Valastro.

“It will be great to bring this title to London, because (the contest) is going across all over Canada and U.S. And to bring this to London, it will be a huge achievement, not only for us, but for the city as well.” Prytkova said.

Located at 430 Wellington St., Happiness offers custom cakes, doughnuts and other desserts, all baked in house.

Story continues below advertisement

Prytkova began baking as a hobby when she moved to Winnipeg in 2016, living there for a year before moving to London in April 2018. It was then that she decided to turn her hobby into a business.

“When we moved to London, I decided that I really want to keep going on this, it makes people happy. I kind of get to be a part of special days by creating custom cakes, seeing smiles on faces with each and every bite of the cakes, that makes me happy as well.”

She says the blue colour that she picked for much of the café’s design reflects the feeling of happiness.

The outside of Happiness Cafe, located at 430 Wellington St. Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

The way the competition works is that bakers are placed into groups, then go through multiple rounds of public voting to reduce the group sizes to a final competitor.

Story continues below advertisement

The top competitors of the group make it to the quarterfinals, where the remaining finalists are again split into groups to determine who moves onto the semi-finals. The same process is repeated for the finals at the end of January.

While Prytkova is happy with how far she’s come in the contest so far, she says she wants to go all the way.

“It’s still not the end, we need to keep going. The next step is to get down to the final 100. You can find the link (to vote) on our website, on our social media,” she said. “I’m posting it every single day because we really need your support.”

She adds that a win would bring business to the café, something that has been a challenge with downtown construction.

The grand prize winner will be announced on Feb. 9. Until then, you can vote every day online.

Sponsored content