Priya’s enthusiasm for baking was matched only by her enthusiasm for her fellow bakers. The 34 year old freelance marketing consultant and novelist chatted about her time in the tent:
‘I talked a lot in the tent, even when things were intense and we were under pressure. I just absolutely loved being around the other bakers and being in that fantastic tent. At home, it’s all dinosaurs and toys and I’m the only baker in the family so it was great being around other people that share my passion for baking. It felt far too tense when it all got quiet!
‘My children have enjoyed my journey on Bake Off – the older one used to get concerned when he watched it on TV and worried if I seemed stressed in the tent. He also found the concept of a baker going home quite sad. I have had to reassure him that we are all still friends and we still speak to each other all the time, even if they aren’t in the show. The younger one is too young to really understand, but he got very excited when he saw Mummy on television.
‘The best bit for me was just having the opportunity to bake in ‘THE Tent’. It was something that I had dreamed about for years being such a huge fan of the show, so seeing that dream come to life was nothing short of incredible. My goal was to make it past halfway so while I was sad to leave when I did, I was proud to have made it this far. Knowing that you are now part of the Bake Off family, to be part of that amazing club is such a huge personal achievement for me, and I will treasure my time and experience in the tent. The worst bit was always when a baker had to go home, you literally feel heartbroken when someone leaves. Sometimes it’s only a small thing that has meant their leaving, but you feel really awful for them, and sad at the same time.
‘I feel like I have learned a lot from both Paul and Prue, the feedback was always quite thorough and they really took their time to judge each bake. When they were judging, the advice given was always constructive; they’d suggest how you could have made something better if it wasn’t quite there. And Sandi and Noel were just wonderful – they lit up the tent whenever they walked in – they are both really funny, I absolutely love them.
‘Bread Week was one of my favourites, it was the first really warm and sunny weekend we had at that point and the tent and surroundings are just glorious on a warm day. Although we had a really long showstopper (our longest) we had time to allow our bread to prove and just enjoy being a bit silly and playing around in the tent which we don’t normally get to do when time is so tight!
‘I haven’t stopped baking since Bake Off and I am always experimenting with new recipes. I will watch the show with friends and family who all live close by. I also watch it without the kids so I can hear everything!
‘I remember saying when I was leaving that although I was gutted to go when I did, so many people dream of getting on the show and don’t make it. Not everyone gets a dream come true, and I did. I would take six weeks over nothing at all any day! I didn’t get in last year, and I would advise amateur bakers who are passionate about baking to keep applying.
‘So for the future, hopefully it’s more writing and baking for me, and probably more talking, ha! I hope my experience inspires other people to pursue their passions. I left a corporate job after a decade and didn’t know where to start, so I simply started with the things that I love to do and I’d say it’s worked out pretty well! I find it the most surreal thing that I’m actually writing a novel that will be published and at the same time to be in the Bake Off tent. I couldn’t have imagined that I would get to this point but you don’t know if you don’t try. I think if you can, you have to hone in on the things you love and see where it takes you, follow your dream and see what happens.’
Priya will indulge her love of baking and talking with Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 4 October at 8pm on Channel 4.