Filipino engineer demonstrates baking, decorating skills on TV show

Toronto, Ontario

Refreshing takes on the halo-halo, pan de sal, lumpiang gulay thrill famous judges

Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Halo-halo cake? Yes, please.

This amazing creation is by The Great Canadian Baking Show (GCBS) contestant, Jomar Manzano, who is a structural engineer from Toronto, Ontario.

Now on its 6th season, GCBS features 10 amateur bakers who are going to take on the challenge of showing their technical skills and creativity in baking. This year’s group includes a personal trainer, a doctor, a scientist originally from France and some Baking Show superfans who have dreamed of baking in the Tent for years.

Manzano, 36, spent most of his life in Winnipeg before moving to Toronto for work.

He found his chosen family there while singing in the Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus and they get to sample his baking experiments, which often incorporate the Filipino flavours he grew up with, according to his bio.

Manzano is precise by trade as a structural engineer so he feels the pressure in the competition. 

Halo-halo cake was one of Manzano’s entries for Episode 1 which was Cake Week. It had jackfruit jam, pandan cream and assorted fruit toppings.

Although, Manzano only made it to Episode 4, he tried to showcase as much Filipino food as he could.

“I was on The Great Canadian Baking Show. I can’t be any more proud of myself. I think Canada has just had a taste of Filipino food and I hope that my experience here tells other Filipinos out there to go out and showcase our food,” he said during Episode 4 which was Botanical Week. 

Jomar’s chocolate pan de sal buns shaped like a Portrait of a Bread Queen showcased his amazing baking skills.

Manzano also did chocolate pan de sal (buns) and Lumpiang Gulay (vegetable spring rolls) Patties for Bread Week. The patties was his entry for the stuffed flat bread category and was a tribute to his mother, who taught him the recipe for the filling.

Jomar’s stuffed flat bread featured Lumpiang Gulay (Filipino vegetable spring roll) filling. 

He competed with fellow Toronto residents—Kristi Carey and Chi Nguyễn, Winnipeg’s Nigel Batchelor, Zoya Thawer of Edmonton, Lauren Tjoe of Tsawwassen, BC, and John Fowler of Victoria, André Hayde and Rosemary O’Neill of Ottawa, and Montreal’s Lydiane Gaborieau.

Season 6 premiered last October 2 on CBC and CBC Gem. 

Season 6 contestants of The Great Canadian Baking Show

The judges are Bruno Feldeisen and Kyla Kennaley who comment on the bakers’ works for the Signature Bake, which shows the baker’s personality; the Technical Bake, which is a classic recipe where the bakers use their own baking knowledge; and the Showstopper which is a creation that is professional-grade in both taste and appearance. 

For each season, thousands of bakers across Canada submit an online application to appear on the show and only the top 10 are chosen after the screening. 

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