The Great Bake-Off Ends

March 16, 2023

After nine short weeks, we can’t believe it’s here. We’ve reached the finale week of the Great Cannatown Baking Show, and our three finalists--Byrona, Tita, and Sloopy Joe--are grinding ganj and torching their nails one last time. They know they have but three opportunities to get the judges completely roasted off their gourds and rise higher than the others to join the ranks of the 10 previous GCBS winners.

Filmed at Waxford Park, twelve bakers have captured our hearts and boggled our minds in their quest for the best, depending on traditional methodology with innovative styling. Unlike some past seasons, this round of amateurs have been professional-grade, a far cry from the show’s first run, that saw most tasks centered around knifies, rolling blunts, and goo-balls.

Bakers in Cannatown, a long-favored position, are different than budtenders or stash caddies. They’re often confused with those who simply roll joints or make edibles. In reality, a Baker is almost all of those things, presenting eclectic and novel smaking experiences for their clientele. Likewise, the entire TV series began with Judge Paula’s request for a method of cheefing utilizing at least one piece of lawn machinery. Although doctors would later reattach the thumb of contestant Roody Jones lost to a weed-whacker, he would go on to be voted off during the episode.

There is no set theme for the finale episode, and the challenges will no doubt test the baker’s full range of experience. Last season, woodworker Gina Yeardly crafted a giant four-hosed spinning bong named El Nino to seize the victory. Another season saw a metal worker with a panache for pyrotechnics persevere. And no one will forget food sculptor Eddie Billart incorporating a hazelnut banger in a sculpture of an Oompa Loompa, letting the vapor percolate through a series of kumquats.

Over the past few weeks, the bakers have been faced with rosin, temple balls, turkish and moroccan bricks. From the volcano bong with fiery lava, to the giant hash fife, to the wax Michaelangelo, the show has produced some of the most innovative smakes on television. It has also been a season of emotion. In the episode “Crackalackin Like a Foo,” contestant Scott Sutton was memorably disqualified in a moving heartbreaker after a couple of serds were discovered in the judges’ bowl. They crackled when the bowl was sparked; it was a humiliating moment and Sutton was ushered away in tears.

The three remaining contestants exemplify the expertise capable of creating a smaking experience packed with theme park style theatrics. Let’s take a look:

The first finalist, Byrona, is a native Highlander who has the most experience in floral arrangements and pageantry. She shone right away in the first episode when her penultimate piece, a palette of waxes, was curated by a parrot.

Tita, second finalist, likes to play with machinery. One of her signature achievements was The Drum, a 120-gallon hit of GSC that just keeps giving. Always a fan of the large chamber, her show-stopper in episode seven incorporated the concept of swamp coolers into a “totally chill” design worthy of college Engineering textbooks.

The third contender is a "bad boy" that doesn't play by anyone's rules, partly the motivation behind the signature zero-visibility hot-box suction of his 2-seater roaster. Sloopy Joe, the Rosini waxsmith, is a real life H.G. Wells.

The semi-finale was a nail-biter. As usual, each Baker had to produce a take on a well-known smake for the signature challenge, this time, "Dank Tartlets" utilizing mint creme pat and yuzu jelly. The technical challenge called for a “Magnum Puffdragon” or, Magnum or Platinum Kush, finely ground and topped with hash shavings, traditionally served in a long form peace-pipe with breadsticks.

It was hard not to ignore the pressure; the bowls had to each roast just right. Not too hot, not too cold, to bring out all the flavors and highs. And the cocktail of hashes, derivatives and all other things had to be present in the smake. Denzel T. Huffington's show-stopping three-chamber cheefing helmet dropped jaws with its booming bass, but it was still not enough to best Sloopy Joe’s Vanilla Hindu Kush, finely ground and topped with Golden Goat caramel sugar wax, garnished with 1980’s Brooklyn Street Hash and smaked from a sun-ripened pineapple-bong.

This year, Paula and Rue say they're looking to be knocked out, to vomit or crap their pants, or to be dumbstruck by the sheer magnitude of the final smake. We can only imagine what hasn't been tried yet.