Henry lit up the tent with his madcap bakes and witty asides. The 20-year-old English Literature student told us about his time on Bake Off:
‘To come so far, it’s hard to go out at this point of the competition, but it was so lovely to get to a week that had the word final in it, even though it was the Quarter Final!
‘I got both a Hollywood Handshake and Star Baker in Festival Week – who would have thought it – which was a complete shock to me. To get both was so lovely and that was a nice tick list checked off. After that I didn’t mind what happened and I made sure I had a decent shirt on the week I left! I think the Kardemummabullar in Festival Week was the bake I most enjoyed making overall, which was unexpected given that I found Bread Week the hardest. But now I find dough quite therapeutic!
‘One of my first connections with Bake Off was back in Series Two when it was filming close to where I live. I remember hovering in the back of the tent, and shaking Paul’s hand, not properly knowing who he really was; I was only 12 at the time. So when I got in the tent and got the real Hollywood Handshake, it brought everything full circle. A magical moment, even though I did tell Paul to shut up, but it was meant in a kind of ‘You’re serious?’ way!
‘The judges are so good at what they do. I’m so grateful for all the feedback and advice Paul and Prue gave me, they are both incredibly lovely. After filming Prue asked me for my tarte tatin recipe which was very flattering! Also she is one of the most stylish people I’ve ever met. Sandi gives the best hugs in the world, she also spent a fair bit of time feeding me various snacks, chatting through literature, and being generally wonderful. And as for Noel, he’s genuinely one of the kindest men in the world, chaos yet calming, and so lovely to talk with every time he came round the tent.
‘In my last episode there was a heatwave in the tent – the lovely people in the crew gave us icy tea towels to wrap round our necks – but I was determined to keep my tie on. I wore a shirt and tie early on in the series, basically because I didn’t have many clean T-shirts, and I’m not entirely sure why I carried it on, but I felt it was a bit of a good luck charm and I didn’t want to break it.
‘There’s no way I could come away from this whole experience having any regrets. I’ve been fortunate enough to do something I love alongside people I’ve grown to love, and if I had any regrets then something would be way off! Although saying that, in hindsight the red floral shirt may have been an error, I really don’t suit red.
‘My family have been so incredibly supportive and utterly wonderful throughout the whole process, and I cannot thank them enough. Plus, the cardamom buns were the one thing my mum really raved over, and they were the handshake-worthy bake – she clearly has impeccable taste.
‘For me, the whole point of Bake Off is to bring a little bit of light-heartedness and joy to people, and I know a lot has been said about how well we all got on this year. I think it just shows how much the whole experience brings people together, both on and off camera – that tent is such a hub of positivity, and it’s brilliant that people at home can watch something that celebrates such a lovely pastime, and also enjoy watching people helping each other, having a laugh and the time of their lives!’
Henry will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 18th October at 8pm on Channel 4.