Stouffville chef and baker ‘cooking’ the competition



Fresh off creating the Guinness World Record for the largest butter tart, Stouffville baker and chef Marco Cassano is headed to the Royal Chef Challenge in November.


Cassano, the owner of Annina’s Bakeshop in Goodwood, recently competed in The Road to The Royal Chef Challenge at the Markham Fair in October.


Cassano took on two other chefs in two 30-minute rounds – one round for an entrée and one for dessert.


“I just went into the competition doing what I do every day; cooking, not really thinking about that it was a competition. I put together the ingredients that I would normally use on a regular basis to come up with the final product, including the secret ingredients,” Cassano said.


By winning the regional competition Cassano has advanced to the semi-final round being held on November 4 and 5 at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The top two regional finishers and a top Toronto chef will battle for the title of Royal Chef Challenge Champion during the final round at The Royal on November 12.


“I don’t do many challenges or competitions. I just normally do what I do because I enjoy doing it so if I come in last I come in last and if I come first I come first. I still do what I do,” Cassano explained.


Cassano took on another challenge in September by taking on a Guinness World Record for the largest butter tart.


Cassano assembled a team of 20 bakers, some of his students, some Durham College professors and staff at Annina’s Bakeshop and got to work.


“The reason we made the biggest butter tart was that I got bored. It was something we do for fun for the store,” he said. “We’re known for our butter tarts so we said ‘Let’s make the largest butter tart’ and we just went from there.”


Cassano also raised funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation. The tart was divided into five-pound pieces and was sold for a $5 donation. Also, 10 per cent of sales of regular tarts from the bakery contributed to the foundation.


“Being able to give a kid a wish is amazing because every child deserves to have a smile on their face.”


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