Hurrah – the popular Great British Bake Off is back on TV! Of course it’s a little different with the new presenters – are we all missing Mary Berry? – but it’s still a great show. I love that there’s a real mix of contestants. This year we have everyone from Liam, a 19-year-old university student whose friends call him ‘Cake Boy’, to Flo – who at 71 is the show’s oldest ever contestant. Go, Flo!
It’s also interesting to know what got all the contestants into baking. One man started baking after his wife died, while one woman didn’t even know she was good at baking until she made a friend’s birthday cake. I first started practising making cakes around the age of 19 when I was studying at Sciences-Po – I found it helped me to relax. But it wasn’t until many years later, during a sabbatical from work, that I decided to see if I could make a career out of it.
I took a job as a commis chocolatière – a chocolate cook – just to dip my toe into the water. Well, the hours were long, it was tiring and repetitive – and I loved it! So I trained as a professional chef pâtissière then went on to work all over Paris before moving to beautiful Bedford. There was no doubt that I had found my passion!
And that’s why I enjoy watching the Great British Bake Off. You can tell how much the contestants really love baking and they can get quite upset when things go wrong. Last year’s winner, Candice Brown, got really emotional at times – but to me that just showed how much she cared. French pâtisserie is dominated by men so it’s great to see more and more women getting into professional pâtisserie (especially ones who wear fabulous lipstick!)
Watching the Great British Bake Off is also a bit of an education for me. I can see what flavours and shapes are popular and what British people are looking for in bread and cakes. I’ve always liked seeing what interesting ideas and flavours amateurs come up with. In the show, it amazes me what the contestants manage to make at such short notice without any professional training or equipment. I can’t wait to see this year’s show-stoppers!
* Love cake? Come into Délices and discover a taste of Paris