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Q&A: Mat

Fire fighter Mat reveals his biggest fear in the kitchen (and it’s of the winged kind)

What first inspired you to bake?

My wife and I had the idea of having a macaroon tower for our wedding cake, A few friends had attempted to make them for a practice cake but struggled. I thought I’d have a go and they came out perfectly. After that success I thought I could bake anything! Turns out it was beginners luck as it took quite a while to bake something as good as the macaroons again!

What has been your biggest baking disaster ever?

After the wedding macaroon success, I decided to make a batch of ginger and dark chocolate macaroons for my first Bake off audition. My first lot went in the oven at 10am. My last and lot came out of the oven at about 10pm. I’ve got no idea what I was doing wrong, but they just would not work. The last batch must have been OK though, as I got on the show!

And your baking triumph ever?

I’ve recently been getting into baking sourdough bread. It’s the one thing I bake that I could eat all to myself. I mostly take my cakes and sweet bakes to the fire station to be eaten. The sourdough stays at home though!

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

I’m pretty used to being in stressful situations at work so I thought I’d be fine in the kitchen, but when Paul and Mary walk round and silently check out the baking it does get your blood pumping a bit faster.

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

I’d have to say Richard from series 5. He was pretty much the reason I applied for this year’s show. He seemed such a down to earth genuine fella and he produced the most amazing bakes in the tent.

What is your biggest fear in the kitchen?

I’m pretty ropey at particularly fiddly things like delicate icing. I think my main fear would be if a bird flew in through the window. I’m not a fan of birds.

Quick questions…

Tea or coffee? Tea. Constantly.
White or brown bread? Brown (unless it’s a bacon sandwich)
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla.
Paul or Mary? Paul to impress my mates, Mary to impress my Mum.