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A chin-wag with Joe Wilkinson

Do jokes win baking prizes? Generally not, so novice baker Joe is hoping his natural talent will get him through the Bake Off…

So, Joe: can you bake?


Who taught you to bake or are you self-taught?

The honest answer is I practised the biscuit challenge and my wife said ‘what the hell are you doing?’, and that is the extent of my education with baking, so it’s by the seat of my pants, which is probably the best.

Are you a Bake Off fan?

I am. It’s just a great way to spend your evening watching other people bake.  You invest quite a bit in the characters and you always lose your favourites early, it’s heart-warming telly.  My favourite moment was a couple of series ago when they included a round that was ‘make a cake look like something else’ and Flo made a watermelon, and I was like wow, it was mad.  That was my favourite moment, yes I am a fan.

Who do you think is your biggest competition in the tent?

I think Toff is a bit of a dark horse, I think she doesn’t probably know it but she’s probably a bit of a natural. I think she has instincts which I don’t have.  Sally’s very good, but I think Toff might be the one to beat.

Have you had any major baking disasters before, apart from your chocolate mush?

When I bake it’s a disaster, always, basically.

What’s your strength – the decoration, the crumb or the flavours?

I’d say, decoration. I think that’s the only bit I’m slightly in control of, everything else is more technical.

Are you more likely to get a Hollywood handshake, or a soggy bottom?

Well, I’m hoping for a Hollywood handshake, but they’re not that forthcoming are they?  I can’t see it, but I’d love it.

Why are you supporting Stand Up To Cancer?

It’s a fantastic charity and sadly too many people are affected by cancer.

Do you have any tips for hosting your own baking fundraising event?

Don’t get me to bake anything, ask me to bring something from the shop.

Are you competitive?

I didn’t think I was, but now I’m here it turns out I am competitive.

How do you feel about the technical challenge? Are you good under pressure?

Terrified. I think it’s going to be my downfall. I genuinely don’t have any baking instincts which is what this round is all about.