Tina Zaccardi wins The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition


Tina Zaccardi poses while baking on The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition (Courtesy of Tina Zaccardi).

By Sarah Huffman

Tina Zaccardi, an employee in Fordham’s Office of Strategic Sourcing, recently won the fourth season of “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition.” Zaccardi won the competition after baking traditional cannoli sicciliano, baumkuchen and a three tiered holiday celebration cake in the final episode of the competition.

The show is based off of the popular show “The Great British Baking Show.” Zaccardi said that she saw the show for the first time four or five years ago. After watching the show, she said that she promised herself that if they ever did an American version, she would have to try to compete.

Zaccardi said that she has been baking for as long as she can remember and that her interest in it blossomed from childhood. She said she became very interested in researching new techniques and playing with new recipes. As she practiced, she said she noticed growth in her skills and wanted to continue.

“I love baking cookies, it’s kind of my thing, but I do bake everything else,” Zaccardi said.

Zaccardi said that being on the show was a real milestone for her. The process to get on the show involved a 75-80 question application, three pictures of baked goods she had made, a long interview, a tasting interview where she had to bring baked goods for judges to taste and a test to see how she would handle being in front of a camera.

Zaccardi said being there was surreal and overwhelming, especially after watching “The Great British Bake Off”. She said the other bakers were great and they all got along very well. She said they all still talk and are even trying to put together a reunion.

When she won, she said she felt disbelief and excitement; it still has yet to sink in. Zaccardi works part time, three days a week, here at Fordham, but she said that when she is not at work, she is usually baking and trying something new. Although she said her life has not changed much since winning the competition, she works on leading baking classes and doing interviews. She also started her website, tinazaccardi.com, after the the competition to expand her baking career.

Currently, Zaccardi does not have anything specific lined up for the future, but wants to reach a wider audience, especially through her instagram, @theitaliancookie. She said she is open to writing a book or teaching classes.

Zaccardi said her favorite thing about baking is making people happy with her creations. She brings baked goods to her coworkers and she makes treats for her family.

She also said she considers herself a very analytic person and enjoys the precise measurements and careful process of baking. She said cleaning up is the only part she dislikes.

As much as she enjoys baking desserts, Zaccardi also enjoys eating them. “I think anything with a combination of chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite” she said.

When asked if it is hard to balance her passion for baking with the rest of her life, she said no because it is not a chore to her. Zaccardi said it is important to pursue the things you love and never give up on your dream.

“When you watch these shows, you usually don’t know anybody on them or anybody close to you and you don’t think that’s ever going to happen to you or somebody you know, but I think I learned from this experience that no matter how big our outlandish your dreams seem, don’t give up on it,” she said. “You just never know. When everything aligns for you, you never know what could happen.”