These ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ Judges Have the Best Job Ever

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Jan. 29 2022, Published 10:44 a.m. ET

Try not to drool: The CW has a new “ooey-gooey, decadent chocolate dessert competition series” on its slate. Great Chocolate Showdown makes its United States debut tonight, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. ET. And the Canadian import has a trio of talented judges… whose judging duties we very much envy!

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In the show, which premiered on Food Network Canada almost two years ago, 10 home bakers “must dazzle our panel of world-renowned chocolatiers and food expert judges with their delicious, inventive creations,” The CW explains. “In the end, three bakers take on the biggest chocolate challenge of their lives, but only one is crowned ‘Great Chocolate Showdown Champion’ and wins the $50,000 grand prize.”

Before you meet the contestants, meet the judges deciding their fate…

Anna Olson is “Canada’s baking sweetheart.”

Having hosted the TV shows Sugar, Fresh With Anna Olson, Bake With Anna Olson, Inspired With Anna Olson north of the border, Anna Olson has become “Canada’s baking sweetheart,” as her bio touts. She’s also the host of the “Sweet Something” Twitter video series and the Oh Yum With Anna Olson YouTube channel.

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And you can bet Anna has some recipes to share! She’s the author of Back to Baking, In the Kitchen With Anna, Set for the Holidays, Baking Day With Anna Olson, and other cookbooks.

“I have so many baking day memories,” Anna told the Toronto Sun last March. “The intent for [Baking Day With Anna Olson] was to bring together family and friends through baking — it’s a special time you set apart to create not only good food, but memories as well.”

Cynthia Stroud is an award-winning wedding cake maker.

Having left a corporate career behind, Cynthia Stroud is now the baker behind Pretty Gorgeous Cake Co. The company has become “the premier destination for wedding cakes in Hertfordshire, London, Essex, and Cambridgeshire” and has landed spots in the magazines Vogue and Brides, her website reveals.

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She has also turned her most popular flavors from her wedding cakes into a line of jams and preserves under the Pretty Gorgeous Jams label.

And during the pandemic, she has delivered thousands of meals to families in need through her Jedidiah UK charity.

In recognition of her baking mastery, Cynthia became a medalist of the Order of the British Empire in 2017, and she won the Best Cake Maker title at the 2018 British Wedding Awards.

Steve Hodge has quite the “Temper.”

Steve Hodge is the owner of Temper Chocolate & Pastry, a community-based pastry shop and café in Vancouver, British Columbia, which specializes in European pastries, cakes, and chocolates. (Think salted caramel bûche de noëls, Bailey’s tiramisu cakes, smoked sea salt and toffee dark chocolate bars, and even honey habanero chocolate bars.)

He’s also working on the second season of Project Bakeover, he says on Instagram. “Every day I challenge myself to come up with new flavors and confections that look amazing and taste delicious. It takes a lot of hard work,” he says in a Food Network Canada video hyping up the series. “Now, I’m hitting the streets to bring my passion and know-how to desperate bakery owners across America.”

Great Chocolate Showdown premieres in the United States tonight, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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