She’s only 14, but her baking skills are being recognized across the world.
Lauryn Hayden a young teen from Guelph has made it into the top 15 in The Greatest Baker online competition, an annual worldwide competition where contestants enter a chance to win $20,000 and a year’s supply of Stuffed Puffs, and be featured in the Scratch Magazine.
Currently, Hayden is in fourth place in her group and is competing to win the top fifth place in the competition. Voting ends on June 3.
“It's crazy,” said her mom Erynn Hayden. “We didn’t expect her to get this far into the competition.”
“She consistently stayed in fourth place. There has been so much support from family and friends.”
Hayden, a student in Eastwood Collegiate Institute, an arts high school in Kitchener, has a passion for arts that can be seen in her baking.
She finds online recipes and adds her own touch to it, whether it's making crepe cakes created in the form of roses or steamed buns with faces on them.
Leading up to the competition that launched early May, Hayden baked as much as she could so she could submit photos online.
“It’s been a lot of fun just getting this far, so no matter what happens, the experience is what makes it all worthwhile and even though I’m young and I’m not as experienced as some of the other people. I can still keep up and do my best in the competition,” said Hayden.
“My favourite thing about baking other than eating the stuff is getting to share it with friends and family because I love to see their reactions like ‘You actually made this?’ And it's just a wonderful experience for me every time I get to make something for them.”
Hayden recalls getting her first shot at baking as a child when she used to help her dad make pancakes for breakfast.
Soon enough, she baked her first cupcakes using a spice mix, added frosting she created herself and took it to school. Recognizing this passion, her parents gifted her her first baking kit for her 11th birthday.
“They were just so proud that I could make it on my own and that I didn’t need any help,” said Hayden.
“After that, I've been so drawn to baking and I’ve been using my skills. I've been slowly building my collection of baking gadgets.”
Baking has also helped Hayden get through the pandemic. “If I’m feeling bored, I’ll go into the kitchen and start making something,” said Hayden.
She said there’s so much she can do with the $20,000 to pursue her passion for baking.
One of her main goals is to purchase baking supplies.
“I've been slowly getting more and more tools that I can use but there’s still a lot of things that if I had, it would make my life so much easier,” said Hayden.
“Sometimes I'll take a class with someone and they'll teach me how to do something so they have the tools, but as soon as I go home, I don’t have the tools and I’m still trying to collect those things so I can build it at my own time.
Erynn said she's always surprised to see and taste her daughter's creations which always have a unique artistic spin on the original recipe she finds.
“For all occasions, for Mother's Day or my birthday, she’ll always make me something special and bring it to me and I’m always blown away,” said Erynn.