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Q&A: Ali

Ali left the series in Pie & Tarts Week, but not before we had a quick natter with the self-proclaimed “baking rebel” first…

What first inspired you to bake?

It was probably visiting a bakery factory when I was a child, that coupled with wanting to do something that wasn’t really done in my family. I’m a bit of a rebel, you could say. A baking rebel.

What has been your biggest baking disaster ever?

Everything I’ve baked up until the Bake Off has been quite simple so I haven’t had many baking disasters… until the Bake Off started. Now there’s too many to choose from!

And your baking triumph ever? 

I’m really good at making structures from cakes, or biscuits, so when I made a replica of the Koutabia Mosque Minaret in Marrakech from a variety of biscuits for my friends, it looked awesome! I
used flavours familiar to Morocco to compliment the look. It felt like a triumph indeed!

How does the presence of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry affect your nerves in the kitchen?

I turned into a whimpering mess. They would ask me questions that I had no idea how to answer! So I’d just make the answers up. Paul asked me once: “Lychees aren’t very strong in flavour when combined with other flavours, so how do you plan to bring out their flavour and to ensure the rose doesn’t overpower it?” I’m sure I gave an acceptable answer, but in my head I was like: “How do I know?!”

Which past Bake Off contestants have impressed you the most and why? 

Ryan from season 3 was awesome, I was rooting for him. He just seemed like a normal guy who baked amazing bakes! There was a quirky geekiness about James that reflected on his bakes that made me secretly support him too.

Quick questions…

White or brown bread? Best of Both

Chocolate or vanilla? Love vanilla, don’t like chocolate.

Paul or Mary? Mary. I’d trade 100 Pauls for 1 Mary. No offence.