We sat down with finalist Dave for a quick bite and a chat about his time in the tent. Here’s what Dave had to say:
You were all named Star Baker at some stage throughout the series, can you describe the emotion of getting that accolade? And did you relax a bit as you went through or did you want to up your baking game?
I never imagined in a million years I would get Star Baker! It was incredible, especially so early on in the competition. I couldn’t really relax after that, each week was so different and a new challenge to face – I wanted to up my game. I felt like this achievement gave me a boost, like I should believe in myself a bit more.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to fellow bakers and you guys had to do that over six weeks, how difficult was that?
Every time someone left, the group dynamic changed so that was really tough. I’m not usually an emotional person but in the tent, emotions run high and I really felt it when Mark left. We got on so well and he was my baking buddy and an all-round great guy. We would always have a toast to the person leaving in the evening and try and give them a good send off.
Approaching The Final how were your nerves? Did it feel like a competition or three friends going back into the tent for one last time?
I was nervous about The Final as I actually hadn’t really planned the bakes until quite far into the competition, so the only practice was on the two days prior to filming. It did feel like three friends going into The Final, but the thought of being so close to winning gave it a bit of a competitive edge.
Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from friends or family ahead of The Final?
I had close friends and family spurring me on and telling me I was good enough to do this. Stacey said that I had already won in her eyes so anything from now is a bonus!
Did you ever think that you would spend that amount of time in the Bake Off Bubble?
Even though I didn’t think I would get that far, I did have enough toiletries to last seven weeks – I am always prepared!
How did you adapt to your new bubble life?
I adapted quite well as I have stayed away from home with my job. But it was really hard to not see my family at all, especially Stacey (and Yoki). Towards the end I was really missing my home life, just being able to take the dog for a walk with Stacey, having dinner together – the simple things I took for granted. I was heavily distracted with all the practicing and intense filming days so I think it went quicker for me than it did for Stacey.
As each week went by, did it get harder to impress Paul and Prue?
Every week was hard to impress them as the challenges were so different – it was hard to know what they expected.
It got tenser towards The Final, how supportive were Matt and Noel?
Matt and Noel always had your back, they were encouraging and just so fun to be around so this took some of the tension away. They were both really supportive.
Did you ever finish before they shouted: ‘You have 10 minutes left, bakers!’
Yes, quite often which made me really worry that I didn’t go ambitious enough and maybe I should have done more with the time. But finishing early meant that I didn’t rush or make mistakes.
What’s been your favourite and least favourite challenge or theme this series?
Japanese Week was my favourite! It was the most fun and I was able to be more creative. 80s Week was my least favourite; I don’t really like quiches and wasn’t really sure how to get the best out of the challenges set.
Did the technical challenge fill you with dread each week and how did you cope with it?
Yes – my least favourite of the three. I like to be prepared and the technical is blind so I would always worry I would misjudge timings. I would find myself looking around the room to see how or what the other bakers were up too, and this would make me doubt my own judgment.
What’s the best thing overall about taking part in Bake Off?
Baking for Paul and Prue and being part of the Bake Off family now. And meeting Matt and Noel of course.
How have you found it watching yourself on TV, and have you been recognised yet?
It is cringy hearing my own voice – do I really sound like that! – and a lot of people noticing my happy ‘shoulder wriggle’ that I didn’t know I did. I have been recognised a bit – even with a face mask on! When we were in hospital having baby Ronnie, the midwives and doctors asked where they knew me from. The doctor who delivered Ronnie is a big fan of Bake Off so was very excited about it.
Were you aware of the innuendoes during filming… or is it all part of the baking process and you don’t notice as you are too busy baking?
To be honest – I hardly noticed what was happening around me. I can only concentrate on what I am doing and usually zone right out! I did overhear some but it wasn’t until I watched it back on TV I noticed how much I missed.
Have you missed not being in the tent?
Of course, I miss the tent but I don’t miss the pressure. It was bittersweet because I was eager to get home to my family but at the same time really enjoyed the experience!
Can you remember the best comedy moment in or out of the tent?
Probably watching Matt and Noel messing around in the golf buggies! Those two worked so well together and were always making us laugh
What is your favourite bake to make or most asked for bake?
I always get asked to make a rainbow cake – usually for children’s birthdays. And another bake I always make is my triple chocolate brownies. One party, I took along over 100 brownies and they said it lasted them a week after the party.
Will the Class of 2020 Bakers keep in touch with each other?
Most definitely, we keep in touch and will try and meet up when possible. Some of us have already met up. It’s hard to all meet up at the moment because of the current restrictions.
Would you do it all again?
Yes, I would do it all again. It was an incredible experience!
Worst and best moments for you of being in the tent overall this series?
Worst moments: when one of the technicals got to me and I had a big flap on camera – not my best moment! It was difficult when the temperature of the tent was so high – finding a balance between drinking and needing the loo was hard to manage!
Best moments: the laughs in the tent, Matt and Noel mucking around and getting told off.
Do you think GBBO has changed your life in any way?
It has given me more confidence to take risks, I have learned a lot about myself and my abilities. I have also made lifelong friends.
What do you hope is next for you in the baking world?
I hope to have a career in baking, specifically to get into sugar work and chocolate sculpting.
You can now apply online to be a Baker for the next series. Would you encourage any amateur baker out there to apply for Bake Off Series 12? How did you overcome your reservations and who or what made you send off that application form, and are you glad you did?
Do it! You have nothing to lose by applying – whether you are new to baking or have been baking for years – it doesn’t matter as long as you have a real passion for it!
I never imagined that I would be picked for the show as I hadn’t had a lot of experience and never really felt that I was up to the standard of previous contestants of the show. But what I did have was a great passion for and interest in baking – a real fascination with what I could do with a few basic ingredients. That feeling alone was motivation enough for me to submit my application.
My baking journey has been completely self-taught and all within a short space of time. I found that experimenting with flavours and trying new things kept me going back for more – like an addiction and a form of escapism for me.
My family and friends would always say I should apply for the show … so I did! And to have the opportunity to bake for Paul and Prue is an absolute privilege. All their feedback I have taken on board and this will help me to continue with my baking journey.
As Dave says, you have nothing to lose by applying! Head to applyforbakeoff.co.uk to apply for Series 12.
Dave will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 27th November at 8pm on Channel 4.