I’ve had three weeks on the trot where I’ve been surrounded by my GBBO family. The Great British Bake Off has given a lot of happiness to millions of people, but to me it’s given me a wonderful bunch of friends too.
Just a quick Sunday night blog as I’ve had a rare day off today and I’ve been enjoying it so much I almost forgot to post an update. Today’s been a lazy day, doing a bit of gardening and playing in the park with the kids and our dog. I’ve been making my rhubarb tarts (recipe here) all week. But as I still had loads of rhubarb left over, tonight my kitchen is full of the smell of rhubarb, ginger and raspberry crumble – it’s incredible!
It was another dramatic week in the world of Bake Off as Mary Berry announced she was leaving the show and Paul Hollywood said he was moving to Channel 4 to stay on as a judge. I spent a fair bit of Thursday giving my thoughts to different news broadcasters, including a visit at home from the BBC Ten O’Clock News (above). I was pretty sure Mary would stay with the BBC after Mel & Sue’s decisions last week, but I’m still sad to see the programme as we know it end like this. I applied for Bake Off because I’m a huge fan of the show. The ingredients worked. Now, they’re going to have to experiment with different hosts and judges and these things don’t just work overnight. I was pleased to read that the BBC is looking for a baking-related vehicle for Mel, Sue and Mary as I think there’s a lot of potential in that – I’d certainly tune in!
I had a smashing day out with my parents, my wife Sarah and the kids yesterday at Thame Food Festival. I was demonstrating my rhubarb tart on the Baking Stage (hosted by Suzy Pelta), signing copies of my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself (only £7.99 here), and judging the traybake category in the Big Thame Bake – it’s a hard life but someone has to eat a dozen different cakes for breakfast! The best thing about the day was bumping into so many of the friends I’ve made over the past two years. The food business is a really interesting world but (and of course I’m biased) the bakers and the home economists have been some of the friendliest people I’ve met. In addition to seeing my buddies Will Torrent (king of chocolate) and Richard Holden (king of BBQs – in the picture above), I met the lovely Jane Devonshire, this year’s Masterchef winner.
Chetna (above) was also at the festival demonstrating recipes from her brilliant book The Cardamom Trail. She very kindly looked after my sleeping baby while I was on the stage! I see a lot of my Bake Off year’s bakers and have met many of the bakers from series 1-4 too, including Miranda Gore Browne who was also at Thame. However, until yesterday I’d only met Stu and Ian from series 6, as they came along to my book launch. We’ve all talked a lot on social media, but there hadn’t been the opportunity to meet in person yet. Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend a good chunk of the day with series 6’s Paul Jagger (above) and his lovely wife Viv. We had so much in common, as did our wives, and we’re going to arrange another catch up with them in Wales soon.
I also finally got to meet the undisputed megastar of the Bake Off world and winner of series 6 – Nadiya Hussain. Nadiya is a phenomenon. The crowds she drew for her demo and book signings were like nothing I’d ever seen at an event before. Everybody loves her and having met her, it’s so easy to understand why – she’s funny, warm, charismatic and very talented. She has had the most incredible year and deserves every minute of her success as she works so hard for it too. My daughters were so delighted to meet her as they get excited every time they see her on a magazine cover in the shops. It was so good to get the chance to talk about our Bake Off experiences together and we’re really looking forward to meeting up again.
Anyway, if Channel 4 is looking for a new Bake Off presenter, I think my youngest daughter (above) might be just what they need – what do you think?! Until next week, I’m off to stuff myself with rhubarb crumble. Happy Baking!