After 10 intense weeks of patisserie prowess, Mikey and Andrew from Gin & Bake were crowned the winning team of Bake Off: The Professionals 2021.
The nail-biting episode hosted by Liam Charles and Tom Allen ended on a dramatic and fabulous finale, as Mikey and Andrew survived all of the sweet but tough challenges to sail to patisserie victory.
The remaining three teams (The Lanesborough, Julien Plumart and Gin & Bake) fought tooth and spoon in a really tough patisserie final. For the first challenge they produced hats fit for Hollywood, which were constructed entirely from chocolate and modelled by the teams themselves as they paraded up and down the catwalk. Alongside their hats, the teams made 24 filled chocolates and 24 confections, all in just 4 hours. The final grand challenge was a gruelling seven hour challenge, where the teams created a Banquet fit for an awards ceremony of their choosing to feed 60 people.
World class pâtissier chefs and expert judges Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden judged 12 teams over 10 episodes, and set not one but two marathon challenges for the teams. From Jaffa Cakes to Illusion Desserts, to classics Tiramisu and Lemon Meringue Pie, then Pithiviers to Roulades and sweet and savoury Petit Fours, the teams revealed extraordinary skills throughout the series. Chocolate and sugar showpieces with themes ranging from Heroes and Villains to Robots, Time Travel to House of Horrors, Futuristic Jungles and back to 70s Disco, then a Teddy Bears Picnic and finally a Banquet fit for an Awards Ceremony.
Series producer Lucy Terrell says: “Mikey and Andy did absolutely brilliantly, I am so glad they persevered – all their hard work certainly paid off. They nailed the brief with their intricate hat construction in the first challenge, and they smashed it in the final ultimate challenge. There was tough competition from The Lanesborough and Julien Plumart, but Gin & Bake were a hard team to beat, and they took the crown.”
Judge Cherish said “The best dessert I tasted today was their rose lychee and raspberry petit gateaux, it was delightful.” Benoit added: ’To win this competition you have to be extremely consistent and that is what they have done brilliantly, especially towards the end of this competition.”
After their win, Team Captain Michael Coggan said:
“It was very emotional for us getting to the Final, and to win is just the next level. We won, we got the tray, we’ve done it!
“To be honest I don’t really remember the actual announcement, it seems a bit of a blur, it was like a kind of out of body experience, I felt that I was there, and not there. I had to stop myself from crying, there was a lot of emotion and it was very surreal. It’s only really sinking in now.
“Bringing back the win to Cardiff Bay was a very, very proud moment for us, especially as Cocorico won last year. I hope we have made Wales proud. I come from a very small town Bargoed in the valleys, an old mining village. Wales will always be my home, and it’s now becoming quite a foodie place and we were both so pleased to represent our country.
“Andy and I hadn’t worked together that long before the competition, only about 8 months, but we got on really well really quickly. Andy is very organised and focussed but I am a more relaxed chef – a fake it till you make it. We had never practised the Banquet before and Andy was stressing out a bit, and I hope I was a calming influence. I am super proud of him, and it helps that we bounce off each other. We have different ways of working but have very similar personalities. We lost our jobs due to Covid before we went to Gin & Bake, and hospitality has been hit so hard in the last year, so it has been an emotional year for us both. When restaurants did start opening up again it was amazing to see people supporting them.
“My favourite challenge was the Hat Challenge on the final, I was really proud of showcasing our creative style and chocolate work. And I think our worst week was in the semi final, there was a lot of tension and it would have been the worst week for us to go home, because you are in touching distance of the final…
“We got a Love It, Love It, Love It from Cherish in the Final which was pretty good, as Cherish is quite a tough judge to please. And we got a Boom from Benoit in Episode 8 for the Black Forest Gateaux, and that’s what we always really wanted going into the competition. So to get those from both of them gave us a great sense of pride.
“All the other teams were so talented and I think it could have been anyone’s game in the final. It is so good for us as chefs to make friends with similar people in the industry, and we all still keep in touch, it was a great bonding process throughout.
“The trophy has pride of place in my living room on a shelf – it’s not ever used as a tray, but it definitely gets a weekly polish from me so it’s always gleaming. It will always remind me of an amazing experience that I will never forget.
“I would definitely say to anyone out there who is thinking of applying to go on the show, do it now and don’t hesitate because you won’t regret it.”
If you are a pastry chef, chocolatier or pâtissier by trade, and want to test your skills against the very best in the business, apply now or forever hold your showpiece! Head to applyforbotp.co.uk now.