May 20, 2024 - News

Philadelphia woman gets her shot on "The Great American Baking Show"

Philadelphia baker Victoria Walters

Victoria Walters didn't have much time to practice with a newborn to tend to. Photo courtesy of The Roku Channel

Victoria Walters believes she has all the ingredients needed to become "America's best amateur baker."

Why it matters: The Philadelphia native has risen faster than yeast in an oven in the world of competitive baking.

Driving the news: Walters is among the eight contestants competing in Roku's second season of "The Great American Baking Show," which airs later this week.

The intrigue: Walters hadn't entered a baking contest before she landed in the iconic white tent in London in front of British baking judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

How she got here: Walters — a photographer, a capella singer and mom of one — learned to bake from her Italian mother who had her stirring cake mixes by age 2.

  • She carried that passion into adulthood, making cakes and cookies for friends' parties and get-togethers. Walters even baked the cakes for her wedding.
Victoria Walters, left, at her station on the set of "The Great American Baking Show."
Victoria Walters, left at her baking station, along with judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, middle.

Fast forward: Days before casting closed, Walters tells Axios a friend persuaded her to try out for the show — an American spin-off of the widely popular "The Great British Bake-Off," which gets more than 16,000 applicants.

  • She survived a call with the show's producers, a baking quiz (she only missed two questions) and an audition in New York.

Then, months before filming started, Walters had to adjust to an entirely new diet due to her newborn's food intolerance.

  • She couldn't eat eggs or dairy products while nursing, which meant she baked a lot of vegan cookies.

What they're saying: Walters took lessons from raising an infant into the kitchen — especially during the taxing technical challenge, where bakers must produce a masterful dish on a deadline with only the help of a vague recipe and a short list of ingredients.

  • "Motherhood prepares you to handle a lot," Walters says. "You have to roll with the punches to do it. … I have this baking superpower now, and I truly can bake anything that anyone asks me to."

What's ahead: Root for Walters when the latest season drops Friday.


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