Celebrity baker gives Okanagan cafe owner a sweet surprise

Marilyn Courtenay (left), owner of the Boarding House Cafe in Vernon, received a special visit from Natalia Shevchenko, winner of the Great Canadian Baking Show’s third season, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Using the awe-inspiring technical skills she displayed on the CBC Television series, Shevchenko baked and decorated a cake inspired by Courtenay’s favourite board games. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

The owner of Vernon’s board game cafe received a double-sweet surprise when her daughter came to visit Saturday morning, and brought with her the reigning winner of the Great Canadian Baking Show.

Marilyn Courtenay knew her daughter, Yin Ming Gillespie, had arranged some special plans for her visit from Edmonton, where she currently lives.

What she didn’t know was those plans included bringing along her friend Natalia Shevchenko to the Boarding House Cafe on 31st Avenue.

Shevchenko emerged last fall as the winner of the baking competition show’s third season, hosted by comedians Aurora Browne and Carolyn Taylor on CBC Television.

“I recognized Natalia right away,” Courtenay said with a laugh, adding she and her daughter had watched the entire third season together. “I saw what she can do, and look what she’s done for me!”

After arriving in Vernon on Wednesday, Shevchenko flexed the dazzling skills she displayed on the CBC series by baking a chocolate cake with caramel flavours in the shape of Courtenay’s favourite board game, Carcassonne. Using an edible printer, she added images of Courtenay’s other favourite games and topped the masterpiece off with a miniature version of the cafe building — also edible.

“It was just amazing,” Courtenay said.

READ MORE: Owner of Vernon’s first board game café a lifelong gamer

READ MORE: Vernon business delivers cure for boredom in self-isolation

“I think she was shocked!” said Shevchenko, who also whipped up some Boarding House business card cookies to hand out to customers Aug. 15. “I was baking all day Friday because I wanted to make (the cake) fresh and beautiful.”

Shevchenko specializes in exquisite Eastern European baking, having grown up in Ukraine before emigrating to Canada several years ago.

“In Ukraine we don’t have places like this!” she said of Vernon’s first cafe dedicated to board game lovers. “It’s great because you can come with your family and everybody can find their own game and play with some coffee and sweets.”

Shevchenko says she’s been plenty busy with baking orders since competing on the TV series — many of which she shares on Instagram — but she was happy to help Gillespie put the icing on her homecoming.

“I like making people happy … For her it was a very nice surprise, and she loved the cake!”

The Boarding House Cafe has grown its game collection to more than 350 games since opening in December 2019. After switching to delivering food and games during a pandemic-related closure, it’s back to welcoming guests from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, opening at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

For more on the Boarding House Cafe, go here.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

restaurant

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP looking for man in relation to assault investigation

The police are not releasing further details of the investigation

New trial ordered for man found guilty of the 2010 murder of his wife in Arrow Lakes

Peter Beckett was found guilty of murdering his wife 10 years ago

My Kelowna: Filmmaker captures underground arts and culture scene

Aaron DeSilva launches a five-part web series highlighting Kelowna

Charges recommended for Mountie investigated in Kelowna shooting

Police watchdog recommends charges after shooting puts man in hospital

West Kelowna’s Grizzli Winery to launch take-home floral creations workshop

The Workshop teaches the community to build creations such as table centerpieces and vase arrangements

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Princeton police rescue cat, after eldery woman calls for help

Constable armed with wire and bolt cutters saves pet

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Crews to film Hallmark holiday movie in Summerland

The Angel Tree will be community’s third film project in 2020

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Long-term care study credits fewer COVID deaths in B.C. than Ont. to funding, policy

The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Orange Shirt Day trashed by hate flyers in North Okanagan

Hundreds of fortune-cookie sized notes to white supremacist’s website scattered

Former Shuswap resident’s book describes how child’s death transforms mother’s life

Destanne Norris to hold book signings in Vernon and Salmon Arm

Most Read