We sat down for a quick bite with each of our three Finalists to chat about their time in The Tent. Here’s what Series 10 winner David had to say…
What’s the biggest thing that you will miss when Bake Off is over for 2019?
There are so many things to miss, the new purpose in your life each week, the fun and excitement, the new world of TV that I’d not experienced before, but mainly it’ll be the hugs. All the bakers (and Sandi) gave such warm hugs.
Overall so far what would you say you have done best in throughout the series: Signature, Technical or Showstopper?
I definitely did best in the Technical. Despite coming second most of the time, overall I did better than the other bakers.
Did you discover any new flavours while in the tent?
I fell in love with pandan marzipan. The toasty popcorny flavour blew my mind. I like experimenting with flavours a lot so most of the flavours I’d used before. Kevra water from India was a new one for me and to be used with caution as it is very floral.
Best comment from Paul or Prue?
When Paul said my custard pies were perfect, that was enough. I didn’t need any further comments from him.
What’s been your favourite challenge/theme this series and least favourite and why?
My favourite challenge was the pastry Technical. It was so interesting and fun to do.
Did the Technical Challenge fill you with dread each week?
No, I looked forward to the Technical. I didn’t practice the Signature and Showstopper as much as the other bakers so I felt the Technical put us all on a level playing field. In general, I was the most chilled in the tent which really helps in the Technical.
How emotional is it when you’re waiting to hear who Star Baker is and who is leaving the tent? Was there a specific week where you thought you might be leaving?
I was convinced I was going to be leaving on Bread Week. In fact I had to give Helena £10 because we made a bet. Apart from that I always felt quite zen at that stage. There is a long wait before it comes and I practiced mindfulness.
Approaching the Final, how were the nerves? Did it feel like a competition or three friends going into the tent one last time?
I found that the nerves diminished as the competition progressed. Each week I felt more privileged that I had managed to get through and if I bowed out the next week I would feel satisfied. Having completed 27 bakes I felt good going into the Final weekend and nothing was going to stop me enjoying myself.
How have you found watching yourself on TV?
It’s a very bizarre experience. It looks like you, but it’s not you, it’s your Bake Off avatar. My friends all find it very funny as I look so well dressed and tidy on TV. I am not going to describe to you what I look like normally day-to-day.
What’s the best thing about taking part in Bake Off?
There is no ‘best thing’ about being on Bake Off. The whole experience is a whirlwind of positivity.
Did you receive any advice/words of wisdom ahead of the Final?
That Final week is such a blur for me. I’m sure everyone gave me a pearl of wisdom, but I just knew that I had to treat it like every other week. My partner simply said “you do you honey” and that’s what I tried to do.
What was your lowest moment and your highest moment in the Tent?
I see myself as quite a level headed person and even for me the Bake Off experience was like a sawtooth: you are constantly up and down. My lowest moment was my bread Showstopper and my highest point was my Hollywood handshake.
Who did you want to impress – Paul or Prue or both equally?
I think I wanted to impress the judges equally. When you spend all that time baking you just want people to enjoy eating it.
How helpful/supportive were Sandi and Noel?
Sandi and Noel were absolute stand-outs for me! I was terrified that I would learn that they are not as they seem on camera, but was so happy to find out that they really do care so much for the bakers and genuinely spend so much time with us. Sandi seemed to have an endless supply of hugs to dole out and she always knew exactly what to say to pick you up. Noel was amazing because he is an expert at disarming you in a stressful situation and leaving you relaxed.
Was there a challenge that you normally do well at home but didn’t work out so well in the tent… and vice versa?
I make bread all the time and was annoyed when it didn’t go to plan in the tent. There were so many other bakes that I’d never really done before and turned out well. Often my tent versions were a lot better than my practices at home.
Did you ever think that you would be a Finalist, and when did you think you might have a chance of making it to the Final?
I never thought I’d make it to the Final. It seemed like everyone else wanted it more, but maybe that was to my advantage because I was so happy to have just made it on the show, I was chilled.
How do you now cope with being recognised?
I’m still a bit bashful, but I’m starting to get used to it. At first it feels creepy that people are looking at you, or you think they’re checking you out, but then you realise that they have simply recognised you from Bake Off.
How has it been at work while the series has been airing?
Work has been a lot of fun. I think my boss is a bit frustrated as I am constantly stopped and asked questions by colleagues. I probably do half my workload on a Wednesday after everyone has watched the episode the night before.
Throughout filming in the summer what was your best invented ‘white lie’ to keep it a secret from friends and workmates?
Luckily, summer is a busy time for everyone and people tend to go on holiday. I don’t think my friends and workmates particularly noticed that my routine was different. Towards the end I definitely had a lot of people exclaiming how tired I looked.
Best baking gadget in your kitchen?
I’m not one for gadgets, I don’t like clutter in my kitchen and I like the process of doing things the traditional way. I didn’t get a stand mixer until I applied for Bake Off and always whipped everything by hand. I did get a new microplane and LOVE this for zesting.
As Finalists how close did you all get? Was there still a great support right up to the end?
I was so happy to find that Bake Off is not like traditional competitions. I am not a competitive person and love being a team player so I would have bowed out of a cut-throat competition. Steph, Alice and I all spoke on the phone throughout the final week of practice and gave tips and listened to each other’s failures and stresses. We really all felt like winners just getting to the Final. Steph and I met on the first day and when we heard everyone else talking we decided that we were both going to be going early in the competition. It is amazing that we kept getting through each week.
Will this be a life change for you, or will life carry on as normal?
This has already changed my life. There is no going back. Apart from anything else I can never watch my favourite TV programme the same way again. I have been christened with a new name “Bake Off David” and this in itself is life changing.
Would you do it all again?
I would do it again in a heartbeat! Where can I sign up?
What are you hoping for now… is there an ultimate baking dream?
Baking has always been therapy for me. Whatever comes my way I hope it doesn’t tarnish my love for food.
Would you recommend amateur bakers to apply for the next series of Bake Off? And did you have any hesitation?
Yes I would recommend it to everyone. Do not wait until you think you are ready before applying, you will never think you are ready, just take the first step and see what happens.
No hesitation for me, what is there to lose? I really enjoyed the whole process of applying, auditioning, preparing, practicing, filming and broadcast. Whichever stage you get to, it is a lot of fun.
Applications for Series 11 of The Great British Bake Off are now open. So if you or someone you know is a Star Baker in the making, apply now: www.applyforbakeoff.co.uk