Strathmore resident Jerry Bizot, who you may know as Santa Claus, has stepped into the baking contest world! 

'The Greatest Baker' is currently running, and Bizot thought it would be fun to get involved this year. He is also a third generation baker, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

"At the moment it's an online competition where you generate votes from your friends, family, and peers, you post some things you've baked online and tell a bit about yourself." 

For voting, there is the chance to vote for free once per day, or there is also the opportunity to donate for votes with all of the money going to pediatric cancer research, which made entering an easy decision for Bizot. 

Bizot was born in Strathmore, as were his mother and grandmother, and has spent his life here. His grandfather and father both baked in Strathmore as well.

"The bakery was my grandfather's here in Strathmore called The Strathmore Bakery, it was right next door to the old Strathmore Standard, and my father was a baker and worked for Calgary Co-op and for Dave's Bakery when it was in existence here."

Bizot chuckled as he shared memories of being in the bakery with his father and grandfather, saying one of his most vivid memories was greasing bread pans when he was 9 or 10 just to help out and learning to flip donuts, making bread and working side by side with his father. 

It wasn't always smooth sailing for Bizot as he took up baking though.

"The first thing I ever actually attempted to make on my own was a lemon meringue pie when I was 12 and it turned out to be a lemon meringue brick, I figured why not go all in." 

After many years of baking he now says that his go-to that is favoured by many people is his rum butter tarts.

"That was a recipe my dad did and what he used was 151 Jamaican spiced rum in his tarts, I just changed it up a little bit and used Bacardi Dark, it is more of an orange and oaky flavor."

Bizot also picked up more than just baking from his dad, "My dad was the town Santa Claus for 30 years, he was also the Deputy Fire Chief and was involved in the Boy Scouts, my mom was involved in the Boy Scouts, we were very community orientated."

For Bizot, baking for others brings him joy, saying there is no better feeling than knowing something you made brought happiness to someone else's day.  He also shared his passion for creating new recipes, more recently he created two versions of a unique cookie.

"One is a blueberry cream cheese cookie and the other one is a cherry cream cheese cookie and both have a cream cheese glaze on top, they're off the hook." He's not holding back on the recipes, saying there is a peanut butter and jelly cookie in the works. 

Bizot attended school for a while until the teacher saw in him a very high skill set and encouraged him to step out of the classroom and begin his career, "He gave me a business card and told me to go and see this guy and he would hire me on the spot." He did just that and now says baking is still something he would never give up, "My baking is more like a hobby and a recreation just to stay connected with my dad and my family roots." 

In Strathmore, Bizot said there is one spot that makes something that reminds him of his grandfather, "It's a vanilla slice, actually if you go to the Four Sisters they make vanilla slices that are comparable to what my grandfather made. If I know somebody that makes good stuff, I will say their food is awesome, and believe me the person in the bakery that works for Four Sisters is incredible."

As for the contest, there are two days left to help Bizot climb the ranks. Currently he is sitting in 11th place, voting is set to close on Thursday evening at 8pm - vote here. 

Bizot has a lot more recipes in mind to try, however, baking wasn't the only thing he got from his dad who passed a few years ago. 

"He made me promise to a couple of friends to do Santa for the kids so I carried through with the promise. Then they got us to do it again because, well, they were looking for a good Santa and they knew that my dad was a good one so they needed somebody, so I got a new suit and and off I went." 

Whether it's through Santa or baking, Bizot and his family have always been connected to the community. And through these things, Bizot himself is able to share his passions while staying committed to important family traditions.  

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