The Great British Bake Off Final
UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner of The Great British Bake Off - a well deserved champion. What did you think of the final?
Tonight’s the night. The decider of the Great British Bake Off – this series has been a towering croquembouche of competitiveness, calamity, and great big “Land of the Giants” cakes.
Edd Kimber winning last year's series
“I wondered how I would feel watching it again, but it’s actually been very enjoyable. I may have been lucky last year because not as many people knew about the show, but I think this year they’ve had a lot more people to choose from,” said Edd. Increased competition has made it even more compelling, bringing a greater level of skill in the technical bakes. “I think the croquembouche challenge was the hardest challenge they’ve done so far - Holly’s gingerbread house underneath was impressive.”
Holly's hidden gingerbread house
“There have been some very good highs, but I also think there have been many more lows this year.” Right from the first episode, the drama began. Remember Rob’s tiered showstopper? “It was looking really good, but then … Splat! It went everywhere. I made an audible gasp because I knew exactly what he was feeling – I could see it in his eyes. How do you recover your composure from that, with a camera and five producers around you, asking: how is it going?”
Competitiveness, composure and of course, the series has not been short on controversy. “I was quite surprised that Jason went when he did. I understand what Mary was saying - that he didn’t have the knowledge and the skill to get through, but up until that episode he had been doing very well. So I’d like to have seen what he could have done further along the line. When he got it right he did really well.” So, should the final three have been different? “I think the final three is fair. I made a prediction on the final three very early on.”
Jason's pina colada macaroons
So what will the finalists be facing tonight? Whose approach to the bench will be revered, and whose will be dreaded? “Paul is very hard to read. He would come over and make these comments with a straight face and you weren’t quite sure if he was joking. He would put you on edge a bit – especially when the cameras weren’t rolling. Mary is a little easier to read because she doesn’t really hide what she is thinking. She’s also more traditional in her style so you know when she’s not really going to like something.”
And what of Sue “neck support” Perkins and Mel “Hello, sailor” Giedroyc? “Mel and Sue made me feel much more relaxed and helped to lighten the mood . The only thing is that sometimes Mel would come round to chat to you and she would eat your ingredients.”
Ok, but it’s crunch time. Who’s Edd’s favourite baker? “Mary-Anne is amazing for her inventiveness – she doesn’t seem to care what the judges think. She impressed me in the first week when she made her meringue pie with two different types of meringue. What she made looked delicious and although she doesn’t always have the tidiest or prettiest looking things, it always sounds great and for me that’s more important. But Jo’s been there the whole time as well with a high skill level.”
Mary-Anne's deliciously different meringue
So what do the finalists have to look forward to after the cameras are off? “You have to be careful not to think that you are going to be very famous.” But it has given Edd the chance to make baking his life: “Everything I do in some form revolves around baking.” His advice to the finalists is, ‘Do what you enjoy and be realistic. Keep baking – it’s brilliant.”
Who was your favourite baker in this year’s series? What do you think makes a good baker? And what was your favourite bake?
Michael Kibblewhite works for the BBC Food website.