Initially, I would watch my parents in the kitchen and I always wanted to join in. They really encouraged me, and then when it came to baking it was my sister that inspired me. I was her sous chef so I got to do all the bits she didn’t want to do, including the washing up. Since then, I have become the baker of the family.
I do work but I cook the dinner most nights, as my mum always looks forward to whatever I am going to make. I enjoy making main meals as much as baking. I always like to make quinoa tabbouleh dishes with roasted vegetables, from our own vegetable patch in the garden. For dessert, the family like a cardamom sponge with fresh fruit and whipped cream, that gets asked for a lot.
Watching the first episode, my mum and my sister burst into tears, because they were so proud. I was saying guys come on we have been waiting so long for this, and now you are both in tears. They cheered up and watched it, but it was quite a funny moment for me, I was cracking up and telling them to keep quiet as I couldn’t hear the show.
I was so proud to get past the half way mark, my biggest fear was getting kicked out first, and I did feel like a cat that was running out of its lives. All the way through whenever I was doing badly, I somehow managed to pull it back. It was an up and down ride, but I went out with a smile on my face.
It was honestly the best experience of my life, I loved every moment of being in the tent, yes there were some stressful times, but I couldn’t be happier with my experience.
The twitter explosion has been really exciting, and the amount of love from the word go was kind of overwhelming at first, but I think it’s symbolic of how people are passionate about the show. And this year social media seems to have really connected with the bakers, which is great.
At work when people come to me for advice, about 80% of them want to talk about Bake Off! They are staring at you for a while, trying to work out where they know you from, and then the penny drops. I have had students chasing me down the corridor asking for a selfie!
The bakers all keep in touch and the London based ones meet up for a drink or supper. I will continue to watch with the family and see how my fellow bakers get on.
I think Paul could see that I could be a good baker and he was very encouraging in wanting me to focus and get my timings right, and that worked for me in pastry week. It was only after he told me to sort my timings out, and I didn’t see that as a negative it was more constructive criticism and beneficial to me as a baker.
My best moment in the tent was Pastry week when I was convinced I was going home, after I had failed miserably in the first two challenges. I walked back in the tent determined to enjoy the Showstopper as I was sure it would be my last. I managed to pull it out the bag and the look on Mary’s face when she saw my filo of amuse bouche meant everything to me.
My worst moment was definitely botanical week. Piping your own flowers was difficult and I have always been open that my bakes are not pretty. I would rather they taste good than look good, so I think that was my ultimate downfall. ‘I like to do fusion cooking, traditional bakes but infusing with different flavours. I am inspired by my culture, my travels and my love of flavours. I was totally vegan for a while, but now I like to follow a mainly plant based diet, as I find it healthier, it gives me more energy and helps keep an eye on my diet.
For now, I am just going to go with the flow, and one of my biggest dreams is to write a cook book, and maybe even open my own bakery, that’s the ultimate goal. I am always going to be experimenting in the kitchen, and I am constantly looking for unusual ingredients. Mary & Paul always commented on my flavours, and it’s always wonderful to hear positive feedback, as for me it’s all about the flavour, even if my presentation was a bit ‘informal’ at times!