In Tuesday night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Cristy was crowned Star Baker, while Nicky and Rowan were the fourth and fifth bakers to leave the 14th series in a double elimination.
During week five, it was Pastry Week on The Great British Bake Off. The bakers aimed to avoid soggy bottoms at all costs. They tackled signature savoury Picnic Pies, a classic French rough puff pastry technical, and a stunning decorative sweet pie Showstopper. The question was, who rose to the occasion and who crumbled under the pressure?
At the end of the fifth episode, Alison announced that Cristy was the Star Baker. Noel faced the challenging task of informing two bakers, Nicky and Rowan, that they would be the fourth and fifth to bid farewell to the tent.
Here Nicky talks about her experience on the show:
‘Och I knew my time had come to an end after such a disastrous few days but even still my heart sank and I had to hold back the tears. I had such a wonderfully happy time during my time in the tent. What made it slightly easier when leaving was I didn’t leave alone and my lovely bakers gave me the biggest hugs which meant more than anything to me.
‘I got to halfway through and that’s good enough for me, without a doubt. I have had so many people stop me and recognise me. I even got recognised in France where I have just been for a few days. I have enjoyed seeing all my Scottishisms on social media and people loving them, I didn’t realise I used them so much. I do say oh dearie me quite a lot throughout the series and I thought that was funny.
‘I have had an absolute blast watching it back, beginning with the first episode with Norman my Beaver – I think that will go down in baking history. I never imagined a little cake that small would go so big on social media! I think it got 18.7 million views on Instagram, that is crazy but at the same time really lovely for me and Norman. Funniest moment had to be when he was introduced to the judges. I should have really frozen Norman but I didn’t realise then what a big star he would become….
‘From being in the Bake Off tent I have learned to always make sure that you have fun while baking and if you do have a disastrous day in the kitchen, don’t worry because the next time you bake there will be no disasters.
‘Overall I think one of the best moments was when my signature bake in chocolate week turned out like I had hoped and expected. Although in every day of filming there was always a few cherished memorable moments. The worst moment for me was the day I had my disastrous pastry technical challenge…. What was I thinking – my mind went a total blank which was so disappointing as I know how to make rough puff pastry!!!!
‘Who knows what is next for me in the baking world, I have absolutely no idea except I do know that I will keep dancing around my kitchen whilst having lots of fun baking away.
‘Favourite challenges – well I loved the signature challenge in chocolate week because it turned out exactly how I wanted it without too much stress. I have realised how much I enjoy working with chocolate. And I think that my worst challenge would be the technical challenge in pastry week. I mucked up big time and went completely rogue when making my rough puff pastry.
‘What I love about my fellow bakers is that they all have their very own individual personalities which put together in one big group makes it such a happy environment to be in. At the same time I got to know them all individually which is really precious and I have missed them all since leaving.
‘What I will take away from my Bake Off experience is how much more capable I am at achieving things than I ever thought I was capable of and took me to places I never imagined.
‘I would encourage others to apply absolutely 110% do it, believe in yourself and what you can achieve because I have and look where it has got me and oh my days what a fun ride it has been along the way.
And here Rowan talks about his experience:
‘Of course no one wants to go, but it made it so much easier to leave with Nicky. We were great friends in the tent and we are really looking forward to doing An Extra Slice together it will be lovely to see her again.
‘After being on the series I’ve learnt to be more confident in myself and my talents, and that you will find friends wherever you go. I’ve also learnt to never depict Patsy Stone in pie again. Sorry, Joanna.
‘I never got a handshake, or star baker, or to rub it in, first in technical. But I did get a few “near perfections” from the judges and I will hold that dear to me. My worst moment is hard to pinpoint because the whole experience was great. When it was announced I was leaving I thought that was fair enough because of how diabolical pastry week was for me.
‘My Yorkshireisms have been picked up on social media. They seem to like my ‘chuffing heck I just want an easy life’, and ‘I am absolutely devoed’ when Abbie left. I didn’t realise how regional a lot of my expressions are. I didn’t get to the final but I got halfway through and that’s good enough for me and I hope I have made Yorkshire proud and of course my mum and dad, family and friends who have all supported me throughout.
‘I am not sure what is next for me, but I’ve always been an avid writer so I would like to put my English degree to good use and do some food writing. I’d also love to delve into food photography having been interested in it as a teen. I would love to bake on television again, too. I found it more fun than I expected to.
‘My favourite challenge overall I think has to be the 3D animal cake showstopper, that was so much fun. In what world would you make a lobster out of sponge and buttercream? I think it really showed off my skills, and showed myself to be slightly unconventional in my choices of flavour, and subject.
‘My worst challenge has to be the chocolate box. I’d finished uni in the same week I had to practice, so everything was rushed and I wasn’t confident going in. It was a laugh, though. It always is.
‘When it was announced I was leaving I was raging! Only joking, it was my time to go. I mean, my pies were abhorrent so I expected nothing less. Everyone rallied around Nicky and me and gave us all the love. And then Tash, Dana and I hit the bar, but I should probably keep that one to myself.
‘I think my funniest moments on the series would be when Cristy ‘stole’ my dough. She was mortified, but I thought it was hilarious. It really cemented us in the canon of Bake Off. And when I caused such destruction in chocolate week, everything was melting, there was chocolate everywhere, I was melting. It was just so chaotic. And I loved it.
‘What I love about my fellow bakers is that we all know how to have a laugh, and everyone just had this spark of energy before a challenge. The vibes were infectious. They were a bunch of incredible people.
‘I will take away from Bake Off a new wardrobe of funky shirts and a pair of trainers to match each one. And a sense of achievement. I did it, I made it to the tent.
‘I would really encourage anyone who loves to bake and do something new to apply for the next series! You will have the most surreal time, with the most wonderful crew and incredible group of fellow bakers. And you’ll get to join our club. Win-win.’
For those interested in applying for the next series of The Great British Bake Off, the application link can be found at www.applyforbakeoff.co.uk.
Nicky and Rowan will be joining Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Thursday 26 October on Channel 4 at 8.00 pm, alongside celebrity guests Ross Noble, Jamie Laing and Oti Mabuse.
NICKY, 52, West Midlands. Retired cabin crew & volunteer
Nicky describes her baking as ‘like a pair of comfy old slippers; little traditional bakes that evoke fond memories’. She fondly recalls her time in her Gran’s kitchen as a child, where she would roll out pastries and decorate cakes. Her favourite bakes are still pastries, but she also enjoys making breads and fun birthday cakes for her niece and grandchildren. When not baking, Nicky volunteers for a pet-therapy charity with her dog, Bracken, and enjoys skiing, a hobby she’s pursued since the age of three.
ROWAN, 21, West Yorkshire. Student
Rowan lives by the motto ‘Go big, or go home’, a principle he applies to his bakes. His earliest baking memories involve scones, pork pies, shortbread and traditional jam tarts, which he considers Northern delicacies. As an English literature student, Rowan also enjoys hosting and applies his creative eye to his cooking, aiming for clean lines and interesting decoration in his finished bakes. He’s known for his grand, opulent creations, whether in baking or cocktail-making. He even crafted his own 21st birthday cake – a three-tier, 12-layer extravaganza.