Michael overcame tough times to triumph in the tent and always lend a helping hand to his fellow bakers. The 26 year old theatre manager and fitness instructor chatted about his time on Bake Off:
‘In this week’s signature, Paul said my buns were tight – but I’m happy to take that as a compliment! I enjoyed experimenting with flavours in the tent, including some from my Indian heritage. I was very proud of the flavour combinations that I created with mango, lime and ginger in my custard tarts, and the coconut, chilli and garlic in my Keralan Star Bread. That was when I got my Hollywood handshake, which was a complete shock – I didn’t know what to do with myself!
‘The best bit of the series for me has been meeting this new family of friends that I have made, and I’m now spending all my time travelling around the country to meet up with different bakers. The worst bit would be realising how sharp the knives are in the tent. I’m happy to confirm that my fingers have recovered and that I lost no digits during the filming of the series.
‘I took Paul and Prue’s comments as positive feedback, they were genuinely constructive – though there wasn’t much they could constructively say about my cake for Dairy Week (they liked the flavour, but it looked awful!)
‘I honestly feel I couldn’t have done the series without the support of Noel and Sandi. They were truly special, they knew when to tease and to laugh, and I felt that they were on the Bake Off rollercoaster with me. They got really emotional at my leaving and that really moved me.
‘As the series went along, I learned a lot about how to manage my anxiety – and I learned to laugh a bit more when things went wrong. In 1920s Week I really struggled during the technical, but I knew that I had to prove to myself that I could do it. If I’d left the tent for a break, it would have felt like I’d given up – and I’m so proud that I didn’t. From that point onwards my whole outlook changed. I learned not to dwell on the negatives and start celebrating the wins. For anyone who is dealing with mental health issues – try to remember that there’s always a way through the shadow. There’s always someone who will listen, and you’re always stronger than you think. Just remember that if I can make it to Week Seven in the tent, you have to believe that you can do more than you thought you ever could. And let’s keep #RealMenCry trending!
‘I have no reservations or regrets, I wouldn’t have done anything differently in the tent, I learned a lot and I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had changed anything. If I hadn’t felt the lows I wouldn’t have appreciated the highs. I never thought I would get past the first audition, never mind getting to Week Seven. What a brilliant achievement for me. I had the time of my life and I was lucky enough to share it with both the people in front and behind the cameras.’
‘I am in awe of the incredible quarter-finalists – and I can’t wait to tune in next Tuesday to see what they get up to!’
Michael will join Jo Brand and some other special guests on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 11th October on Channel 4 at 8pm.