Bake Off’s first ever Caramel Week was sticky business, culminating in a disastrous showstopper for Scottish architect Tom, whose ‘bad cakes’ (his words, not ours!) led to him waving a fond farewell to the tent and its occupants. But fear not – with a new job on the horizon, multiple marathons in the diary and plenty of family recipes to work his way through, it sounds like Tom has a lot on his plate for life after Bake Off.
We caught up with him for one last chat before he made his way back to the Highlands.
Hi Tom! How are you feeling about leaving the tent this week?
“I am disappointed to be leaving, but it was justified. I made a really bad cake and everyone else did excellent cakes. After the first weekend filming, Kate said something that really resonated with me, and I think all of the Bakers. She said that no matter what happens now, we should all feel so proud to be where we are. It was such a great bonding moment for all the Bakers – we all shared the same mix of emotions. It was humbling and reassuring at the same time.”
What did being on the show mean to you?
“There’s more to Bake Off than cake – it’s about challenging yourself. I didn’t really want to be on television, but I was looking for the challenge aspect of it. I watched the first episode with family and friends, and from then on I planned to watch it by myself, as I found it all a bit overwhelming.”
Who did you want to impress more – Prue or Paul?
“Initially I wanted to impress Prue more than Paul, but when it came to it I wanted to impress both of them equally. Their critiquing is honest, and whilst they each have a different style, they tell the truth and there was no show or drama for television, it was all fair.”
Let’s talk about your ‘pies’ and ‘doughs’, starting with the positives…
“The best moment for me was probably going back to the hotel after the first weekend filming. We were all a bit emotional, having just found out Peter was going to leave. Up until then it had been a bit of a whirlwind – there had been so much going on and so many people to meet.”
… and what about any dough moments?
“My worst moment was obviously leaving, and my decision to make the hummingbird cake was a bad one. Throughout I had positive feedback on my flavours, but I’m not so good on the intricate side of decoration, so that was a gross miscalculation on my part.”
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice before week one, what would you say?
“In Bake Off it’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint each week.You could be the best person in one race, but if you fall at another hurdle that’s it, you’re out.”
What’s next for you?
“I love being an architect and I have always enjoyed my job, so I don’t have any immediate career changes in mind. I start teaching second year students soon at one of my former Scottish Universities, which is something I have always wanted to do. I’ll continue my marathons – I’m just waiting to find out if I have a place on the London Marathon, and I plan to apply for the 2018 Berlin Marathon.”
Will we be seeing more of Tom the Baker?
“I am always open to new opportunities and I like an adventure, so I am waiting to see what comes my way. To have my own recipe book would be a dream come true, and of course I would have to include shortbread using an old family recipe!”
Goodbye Tom – we’ll miss you in the tent!