A couple of friends suggested that I should apply and they encouraged me to go for it. I really wanted to give it a go primarily because I am just a big fan of the show and when I walked into the tent for the first time it felt quite surreal. During the actual challenges you don’t get a moment to realise where you are.
One of my best moments was when I got Star Baker for the first time in Episode 7 – Victorian week, I did pretty well with game pie and Charlotte Russe. Another really lovely moment for me was when we were sitting outside the tent in the sunshine with Mel & Sue making daisy chains, it doesn’t really get better than that.
My worst moment was in Week 2 thinking I was going to go home, my biscuit box went pretty wrong and that took 5 hours to make, and then everyone had difficulty with vol-au-vents in Week 6. And of course like everyone else, I always struggled on the Technicals.
It was my sister who introduced me to baking, we made simple things like apple crumble and then I started to really get into it. I think I am ok at making sourdough bread and macaroons, and baked cheesecakes are my speciality, I did pretty well on that challenge.
In Week 1 with the Black Forest Gateaux, Paul said ‘this is something special’ and in Victorian Week in Episode 7 both Mary and Paul loved my game pie, and Paul shook my hand. It was great to get such praise from them, and you never knew how the judging is going to go and how it will be received on the day, so it was always a nice feeling to get good positive feedback.
It has been lovely to get such great reaction from friends and family, I have been inundated with messages from people congratulating me. My parents are so proud that I am on television each week with 10m people watching me, although it is quite strange when people start to recognise you.
All the team at the hospital have been very excited about the show and keep asking me to bring in bakes but I have been full on with revision for exams since the show started. I will now make amends and take in some bakes, as they have been asking for Black Forest Gateaux – I won’t be taking in any of the ornate Showstoppers.
I was a bit nervous about how all the bakers would get on before I started the show but there has been a great feeling of community as we have so much in common. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get to be a finalist. That was a remote possibility as far as I am concerned, as there is so much that is out of your hands, and I never thought I was a shoo in.
Would I do it all again? Yes I think so, and I am so glad that I did it but it was an intense full on experience, hard work but satisfying in a very good way. The whole thing was just amazing, and every week I would be stressed out from combining work with tinkering with recipes at home, but as soon as I got on the train to Bake Off, I would look forward to seeing the other bakers.
I am currently training to be an anaesthetist – the complete training is 7 years and I am just in my second year. I do enjoy it but is incredibly hard work and I want to carry on baking as I don’t know where it will take me, but for the moment I am enjoying the whole experience. Work can be all consuming, and I have to do a lot of exams, so in my downtime I bake, and the best de-stresser for me would be bread as it’s not too much work. If I have a free Sunday afternoon I would make macarons, so I can chill and relax while baking with some music on, that’s my idea of good time.