Jo has been crowned the Best Amateur Baker following eight weeks of hard fought culinary battles in the second series of The Great British Bake Off.
“I feel really, really emotional… totally overwhelmed,” said the Essex based housewife after her victory. She fended off tough competition from the technically outstanding Holly, but impressed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with her delectable flavours and improvement throughout the series.
“Jo, out of everyone, had the furthest to go,” explained Paul. “Her progression in the whole Bake Off has been superb”. Mary added that Jo “got better and better. She has achieved great heights – I hope she is chuffed to bits.”
A raspberry and blueberry mille-feuille saw Jo off to a reasonable start in the Final’s opening Challenge. Mary described her effort as tasting “really, really good” although Paul stated that “appearance wise it does need some work… take care on your piping.”
However, the Surprise Technical Challenge propelled Jo’s baking star into the ascendancy, with her sachertorte scooping first place after the blinding judging. Both judges loved the taste, with Paul especially keen on the tinge of apricot that came through. The only criticism was Mary’s belief that it was “a little overdecorated”.
Neck and neck with Holly going into the final Challenge of making petits-fours, Jo opted to bake Mini Victoria Sandwiches, Raspberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio Mini Meringues and Mini Banoffee Pie with Banana Mousse. Her concoctions worked a treat, with Paul raving about her “unbelievable” mousse and Mary describing the Victoria sponge as “one of the best that I’ve tasted”. With Mary’s years of experience, that is a huge honour.
On the strength of her flavours and improvement, Jo ultimately triumphed in The Great British Bake Off. As runner-up Mary-Anne put it, “she produces beautiful food”…