Tuesday 23 October 2012

Great British Bake Off: The Final!

It's been a while - because I went to London, and came back with a cold (I'm still rather beleaguered with it, but I'm powering through before they remove the episode from iPlayer) - but here I am with the recap of the GBBO final!  I've had such fun writing these recaps, and I'm delighted with the good response they've had here.  I was a bit worried I'd scare you all away with my snark - but hopefully you can tell that, alongside all that, I love this programme and these bakers.

For the first time, I know the result before writing the recap - but I'll keep it under my hat until we get to the end, just in case you don't.  Right... on with the show!

Last week we lost... no, sorry... give me a minute... hmm... someone.  Oh, Danny, yes! (ahem) and we're left with three - Scottish James, Hyperventilating John, and the bridge between the 70s and today, The Brend.  I'm Team James, and most of you seemed to be as well, judging on last week's comments.

This is the best shot I could get of all three.
James, sadly, is still in plain blue.
I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed.

We kick off with a retrospective of the previous nine weeks, including all manner of people I'd forgotten existed.  It's also a reminder of how dearly I loved Sarah-Jane and Cathryn.  The brief snippets of the finalists, in this look-back, suggest that someone in production is keen to give them each catchphrases.  A bit late in the day to try that, but ok.  I missed what John's was, but James gets "I'm just prepping my cloots", and The Brend says "The male will get a coxcomb."  Not really the defining moments of the series, but does show that I'm not the only one who hopes for soundbites every episode.  I just wish The Brend had got "I WANT ABSOLUTE UNIFORMITY."

We amble through the highs and lows of the three remaining bakers, which is rather more interesting than last week's "The semi-final is quite close to the final" interview montage - and gives The Brend a chance to start on his self-congratulation.  "I think my track record has to make me a very, very strong contender to win," he asserts.  Has he never seen a reality show?  This is next to "It's not called America's Next Top Friend" in the list of what-not-to-say-if-you-want-to-win.  (Some of you will get that.)

Amusingly, Mel's voiceover is remarking on John's 'modern designs', while the camera lingers on his gingerbread Colosseum.  Hmm.  Not the most modern, is it?  John then babbles his way through a nightmare he had about the bake-off tent, which seems to revolve around faulty lighting.  Since he's had a bloody altercation with a food processor, the nightmare seems a little tame in comparison.  Still, we get an Anxious Apron Shot, and that's got to be worth something.


The Brend has to settle for Anxious Glasses Adjustment, which somehow makes him seem more like a cartoon supervillain than ever.

The Signature Challenge is a pithivier.  Which is a great word to say, and Sue doesn't stint on the comic potential of sounding-like-she's-lisping.  I love how she is treating the whole series as though performing a sideshow on a pier, which no pun left under-laboured.  I half expected her to turn up with a Punch and Judy stall this week - perhaps with Mary and Paul's faces painted whimsically on the dolls?  Oh well, better save something for Series 4.

The VTs this week are visits to the bakers' homes and families - what a shame Cathryn has left, we could finally have solved the problem of whether or not she lived in a tent on the side of a road.  Scottish James is, Hayley tells me, from Shetland.  Or The Shetlands, maybe.  Well, it's still Scotland (thank goodness, or I'd have to give him a new innovative nickname) and it's beautiful.

He encourages everyone to apply next year - and I am seriously considering it.  But then I discover that his girlfriend is called Fenella, and I start to doubt his life advice.  She stares at the camera, and says 'like' a lot, but seems nice.  He ends the segment saying 'Knowledge is Power', which makes me wonder if The Brend has successfully inveigled him into a Fascist cult.

Meanwhile they're all making rough puff pastry, which isn't much of a spectator sport, and the programme seems to realise this.  We scoot past a clip of Mary and Paul dithering by John's workstation, and we're swiftly back to My Family And Other Animals segments.

Poor John - his parents don't seem very supportive.  I did really feel for him, since they all seem to wish he'd hurry up and finish the baking so that he could become a lawyer.

"Baking ain't gonna keep me in pearls, son!"

His Mum does basically say she'd hoped John would leave early, so that he could do more revision.  Perhaps parents nagging sons to work harder at university is just a touchy subject for me... I did suggest that Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife pay careful attention to this bit! (Only kidding!)

I haven't told you anything about the pithiviers, have I?  James and John are both making something involving meat, and The Brend is making potato, pepper, and spinach pithivier.  I'm in danger of growing to like him, for his thoughtfulness towards vegetarians, if nothing else.  Sue is astonished by the amount of garlic he is using -

- but The Brend is, as usual, unresponsive to humour and informs her that he knows what he's doing, thankyouverymuch.  Despite previous home VTs suggesting The Brend lives alone, it turns out he has a partner called Jason, who looks about thirty years younger than him.  Jason comments that baking is a way of connecting with one's childhood. [Insert joke about The Brend's age here.  Maybe make reference to dinosaur eggs.]

And The Brend suggests that the best baker will be the one who can keep his emotions in check.  As a properly repressed Briton, I feel like this gives me a fighting chance for a future series.

Just so it doesn't seem like I'm ignoring the baking process altogether, here's an irrelevant shot of a pithivier being made.

I can't get too excited about savoury challenges, I'm afraid.  And is it just me, or is this rather an easy challenge for the final?  Notwithstanding Mel's dire warnings that, if insufficiently sealed, the pithivier will leak.  This sounds, from her usual tone of doom and gloom, like a tragedy second only to the opening of Pandora's Box.  Oh, Mel, I'll miss your absurd attempts to inject drama into proceedings.  As Claire amusingly said in the comments from my recap of a previous episode, without GBBO we'd have "no idea of the many perils involved in baking a biscuit or a simple cake".

The Brend scores his first Oustandingly Obnoxious point of the episode, when he comments that his presentation is better than James's.  In this particular case, it definitely is, but it's still rather an unpleasant thing to say.  Although, thinking about it, the cameraman probably asked him a direct question about it.  Oh, you are sly, BBC2. SLY.

Plus, The Brend's looks rather as though it were inspired by Little Weed from Bill and Ben, no?

Out come the pithiviers - after another one of those "Hurry up bakers!" bits from Sue that are clearly filmed altogether sometime after the rest of the episode - perhaps explaining their growing insanity over the weeks, as they struggle for something to say.  This time Sue claims that Mel is wandering nakedly through the room, with orange segments.  Sure, why not?  And then comes plinky-plonky music and establishing shots of hazy flowers.

I'm going to miss these.  They're so pointless, but quite pretty, and there's always the faint hope that they'll accidentally include a badger sett or a background shot of David Attenborough stumbling through a thicket. (Did I ever tell you about the time that my friend Lorna and I were in the establishing shots of some programme on Gladstone?)

The Brend is congratulated by Mary on his pithivier's meticulous appearance; Paul loves its base, and the flavour is also complimented.  And he was right about the garlic, blast him.

John does well too - no soggy bottom in sight, and Mary loves the flavour. "It's got a good flake," observes Paul.  Now, does that really save time, compared to "It's flaky" or "Good flakiness"?  No, Paul, no it does not.  But at this stage in the game, I shouldn't expect any better.  BAD SPEAK, Paul, poor worditude.

Scottish James doesn't come through quite so well - Mary speaks of the 'good flake', which horrifies me - but there is a soggy bottom.  Paul says that it's seasoned well - stealing the one and only critique ever offered in Masterchef - and Mary refers to the huge temptation to overfry chicken.  As temptations go, it's one I find fairly easy to overcome.

(Check your bingo sheet accordingly.)

In post-judgement interviews, The Brend awards himself ten out of ten.  Chuh.

The Blind Challenge!  Which, it turns out, is called The Technical Challenge.  Sorry for misinforming you about that for weeks.  It also features possibly the best moment - not only of the series, but of our time/space continuum to date.  (There, Peter, physics!)  Sue tells Mary 'off you trot - actually trot, please' and (GIVE THIS WOMAN A DAMEHOOD) she does.  A static image cannot contain how wonderful this is.

Anything that follows this (in the programme or in my life) will come as something of an anticlimax, but I am impressed by what they have to make.  Fondant fancies!  My old housemate Hannah, who is an exceptionally good baker, made these once - simply because they were the most difficult thing she could think to make.  I used to love them, and my grandparents often had them, but now I find them rather too sweet and creamy for my merely moderate sweet tooth.  Also, bakers - they cost like £1.50 for six.  It's not worth it.

I learnt this week that Paul calls Mary 'Bezza'.

Nobody seems to have much of a clue what they're doing, and the recipe is even sparser than usual.  John makes that fatal transition from enthusiastic-reality-show-contestant to thinks-they're-filming-their-own-show.  Do you know how you can tell this moment?  The third person plural wanders in.  "We need to keep this butter cream nice and smooth," babbles John.  Oh dear.  (Also, he is using an electric mixer to make butter icing, which is absolutely absurd.  I would never use an electric mixer at any stage in baking a cake, unless it involved whipped cream or meringue somehow.  Man up, bakers.)

The Brend says "Cover me, I'm going in" - presumably thinking that he's back in 'nam.  Awkward.

And John is listening to his cake again.  The final seems to be turning everyone's head.

"The sponge TOLD me to burn down the tent."

The bakers all seem to struggle with cutting 25 pieces of cake from a square sponge.  25 is a square number, people!  John gets fixed on the idea that the fondant fancies must be cubed - and disposes of a lot of his baked sponge.  Hmm.

And then they start adding the fondant around the outside.  I don't remember them saying what's in this - is it just icing sugar and water?  And food colouring and flavouring, of course.  Coating the fondant fancies is apparently the trickiest part of the process.  The Brend initially warns against 'dipping them bodily', which seems unnecessarily somatic, but ultimately all three bakers opt for dipping - although 'dipping' is rather too delicate a word for the clumsy, messy way in which they fling their hands into the mixture.  John even mouths 'help' to the camerman at one point.

Even The Brend is struggling.  I'd have thought Fondant Fancies - being garish and dated - would have been right up his street.  My words alone cannot express his difficulties.  This sorry image sums them up:

Sue leans over The Brend and teases him... he does his best to ignore her.  Plus ça change.  She (brilliantly) observes that it is more Generation Game than French Patisserie.  Next, Mary and Paul will eat as many as they can, blindfolded with their arms tied behind their back, while tapping out Ode on a Grecian Urn in Morse Code with their feet.  (Er, Spin-off Alert!  Who wouldn't pay to watch that?)

None of the displays look particularly impressive... John doesn't disappoint with his supply of half-hearted, scarcely relevant platitudes - "What's done is done and cannot be undone."  Thanks, John.  Never change.

Mary and Paul literally snigger over them...

Mary is disappointed with all of them.  "I wouldn't say that this is a very high standard at all, for all of you."  It's a little heartbreaking.  She should do drugs awareness videos - nobody would do anything illegal, lest Mary do that slight frown, and pained voice.  Oh - The Brend and John share last place, and James scrapes into first place.

The judges and presenters sit around a table and unite in saying that it's all level pegging at this point.  And it does genuinely seem to be - rather than the usual in reality competitions, when everyone agrees in forced voices that it could go any way, when it's entirely obvious who has won.  At this point, my money is still on James.  Sue, incidentally, makes a witticism about James being able to prescribe beta blockers.  Mel is confused, and Mary (how I love her) spells it out in tones best suited for a peculiarly unintelligent reception class: "Because he's a DOCTOR."

Showstopper Challenge time!  They're making chiffon cakes, inspired by notable moments in 2012, to be served at a GBBO Village Fete "complete with limp bunting, and torrential rain."  I'd never heard of chiffon cakes before (their main characteristic is being fatless), but Mel assures me they are 'notoriously fickle' and 'volatile'.  I predicted sentient cakes weeks ago, and now they're going to happen!

The Brend is making a colossal tiered cake inspired by family reunions - he has been mending rifts in his family.  He's going to make it difficult for me to dislike him this week, isn't he?

John is making a 'Heaven and Hell' cake, because his year has gone up and down.  Well, that's vague.  And there go my hopes that everyone will make three-dimensional busts of the Queen in cake.  JUBILEE YEAR, PEOPLE.

Scottish James, bless him, is making FIVE CAKES, one representing each of the four UK nations, and one representing their unity.  Apparently in a year dominated by discussions of Scotland becoming independent, unity is a key feature...  (This, by the by, reminds me of my final project for my Food Technology GCSE, where I decided to make eight vegan sponges.  Goodness knows why.  Sorry, family.)

"Even though they've finished their sponge mix," warns Mel, "every move the bakers now make can still radically alter their chiffon's texture."  That sounds like over-statement to me.  John's frantic wanderings back and forth are especially worrying, if it is true.  As is the unusual baking equipment he requests - cue-tips.

Why were these even in the baking tent?  Surely there is no shop nearby - not if the aerial establishing shots of Nature Red In Tooth And Claw are to be believed.


Here is James's cake, in mid-fall... I think it's Northern Ireland.  Make of that what you will.

Curiously, given the presenters' desire to over-dramatise the most mundane moments of the baking process, Sue refuses to get animated about this genuine mishap.  She comforts him much in the manner of a mother clapping her hands in joy to avert a toddler from the pain of a scraped knee.

The fete is set up, coconut shies and all (I've been to dozens of village fetes in my life, and never seen a coconut shy) and our past contestants give us their tips for the winner.  They're fairly evenly divided between all three bakers, rendering this segment pointless, but it is rather nice to see them all.  Especially, of course, darling Sarah-Jane and Cathryn.  They plump for John and James respectively, by the way.

Gone, but never forgotten.

Cakes begin to emerge from ovens, decorations begin, and James is (predictably) lagging behind everyone else.  John uses unorthodox methods...

and things seem to be going wrong with James's Turkish Delight St. George's Cross...

It look quite plasticky, and apparently James has never made it before.  Oh, James, why?  His first mistake, of course, was making anything Turkish Delight flavoured seeing as it is, as we know, the food of the White Witch.  And disgusting.  In the end it is discarded for a raspberry St. George's Cross.  What a fun sentence to write.

Mel declares the final baking competition OVER.  John does this:

I still don't know why.  If I'd seen it for the first time in my poorly state, I'd have assumed that Lemsip had taken control of my senses, leaving me with a cold-induced hallucination.  As it is... nope, no idea.  Are rabbits notorious for finishing baking on time?

And then, dear readers, The Brend breaks my heart.  He has an incredibly moving interview, where he is rendered speechless by emotion, about his life over the past decades.  This is just like when Danny went and made me feel guilty about teasing her... oh, you guys.  Love you really.

Luckily James and John are on hand to give The Brend a hug - which mostly serves to demonstrate how tiny Brendan is.  And how co-ordinated they are with their clothes.  And how much chocolate John got over himself whilst making his chiffon cake.

I like to think they'll all stay penpals after this.  Or follow each other on Twitter, which I suppose is the 21st Century's equivalent.

The final judging begins...

John's Heaven and Hell cake (with 'Tartarus' etched on top, believe it or not) is declared stunning by Mary, and (after a worrying pause, where Paul starts scraping the cake with a fork, and I worry that he may have lost his marbles) the judges love the texture and flavour.

I think The Brend's Family Reunion cake looks rather silly and top-heavy, but the judges like its appearance - and the fact that, for once, it is not over-decorated.  Even-layers, nice-bake, etc. And Paul thinks the sponge is like a cloud.  Maybe I spoke too soon on that losing-marbles thing.

I promised you a picture of Mary's Pirate Side-of-Mouth Eating, and she did not disappoint.  Love you, Mary.

And finally, Scottish James's dozens of cakes.

They try the middle one.  Oh dear, Paul thinks it's too dry.  Mary thinks it's 'too cakey' - although how a cake can be that, I don't know.  Scotland goes down almost as badly.  Mel chirpily suggests, from the sidelines, that they try Northern Ireland next - but before this becomes a baked tour of Europe, the judges draw their critique to a close.  Everyone seems a bit sad that James has fared quite poorly, not least me.  But at least he's feeding most of the assembled crowd all by himself.

Mary, Paul, Mel, and Sue assemble to chat about the bakers.  Mary proudly attests that "they are all home bakers - they don't make scenes, they cope."  What a wonderfully British compliment!  It makes me, as a home baker myself, feel like I'm part of the D-Day landings, or at least Dad's Army.

So, who has won?

At this point, my money was on The Brend.  But, although I've grown rather to respect him, I still really wanted James or John to win...

Drum roll, please.  Just tap your hands on the desk, for me.  Humour me, please.

And the winner is...

It's only flippin' John!

Hurrah!  My friend Ellie and I cheered and clapped when this was announced, somewhat to the bafflement of our friend Grace (who had joined us, but not watched all the previous episodes, or developed our distaste for The Brend.)

Did he deserve to win?  Well, possibly not.  He scraped his way through nearly every episode - The Brend was more consistent, and James was more innovative, but nobody tried harder than John, or wanted to win more.  Bless his wee face!

I shan't bore you with the 'Since the Bake Off' slideshow, which shows that most of the contestants are doing whatever they were doing before it all started, but I will leave you with this fantastic piece of news...

Thanks to everyone who has read my recap posts, and encouraging me to write more - they've been great fun, albeit surprisingly time-consuming to put together.  Back to books from now on, but I daresay I'll be recapping Series Four next year - and, who knows, might even apply to be on it!


  1. I am going to miss these recaps so much, Simon! Obviously, I was a little sad that James didn't win but I think it probably means more to John and at least all of his anxiety throughout the competition wasn't wasted. I was genuinely pleased at his win. I was also encouraged that the finalist made a complete mess of the fondant fancies - this really is still a home baking competition! That said, I couldn't help but think how well Holly from Series Two with her mesmerizing perfectionism would have handled the challenge. Though why you'd want to make fondant fancies remains to be seen...

    And you should absolutely apply for next year! Listen to Scottish James.

    1. I'm going to miss doing them too, Claire! I'm so pleased that they were well received, especially since they took an age...

      Oh gosh, can you imagine Holly making fondant fancies? They'd be better than Mary's. (No, wait, that's impossible.)

  2. Great recap, Simon, thank you again. I was glad to see John win, although James and Brendan were more consistant during the series. I cannot wait for series 4.

    Hope you get well soon, or as we say in the Netherlands''Beterschap!'.

    kind regards,

    1. Thanks, Bettina! If James couldn't win, I'm delighted that John did.

  3. Excellent - someone's finally explained to me what a Chiffon Cake is - and it's the Cake That I Can Eat! Hooray! And yes, fatless cakes can go very cakey - heavy and almost puddingy, so I can see why he said that.

    There was a coconut shy at one of my primary school fetes, by the way. My Mum insisted on being allowed to stand on the children's line (i.e. nearer the coconuts than the adults' line) because she was rubbish at throwing, then promptly won a coconut. The man was really cross. Then my Dad smashed it on the patio and we all had a shard. This was the 70s, it was all very exotic!

    1. Thinking about it, I have made fatless sponge, and it definitely wasn't light...

      I have never had a proper coconut... my friend once gave me one, but it went off before I ate it.

  4. You don't like Turkish Delight? Oh, Simon. Oh dear. I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

  5. I came to understand Turkish Delight later in life when I was given some top-range handmade stuff, and the clouds parted to let the truth shine through. Do try Turkish Delight icecream, though.........


    1. Noooo! I think I just dislike rose flavour. And I don't have time for sweets where you have to have top-range products... ;)

  6. I've become addicted to your GBBO posts so I'm devastated to see the last of them. I can only hope that one day, I get to watch something on television sitting beside you! These make me laugh so much. And yes! Yes! Apply! I can't imagine how exciting it would be to see someone I actually know on one of these programmes.

    1. Aww, thanks Victoria! And yes, that would be such fun to watch together - I might be even more snarky when watching than when reviewing, though...

  7. Oh Simon, how can you not like Turkish Delight? Proper TD,not that vile stuff coated in chocolate (which I can't eat anyway) is divine. Food fit for the Gods. And there I was thinking you were a young man of taste and discernment!

  8. It's like re-living the last episode all over again. So thrilling! I never realised fondant fancies were so difficult to make. I used to eat Mr. Kipling's all the time until they became too sweet for me.

    1. I didn't realise until my friend made some. Not worth the effort, I reckon...

  9. I cannot tell you how glad I was that Brendan was felled at the last by a Fondant Fancy - it just seemed so right :)But James, James, so near & yet so far! Mind you, when I saw that stunning chocolate glaze on John's Heaven 'n' Hell cake, I just *knew*. Roll on series 4 I am already bereft.
    PS the trick, according to my Mum, who was in catering all her working life, of icing a FF is to stick it on a skewer over a bowl & pour the icing over it - simples!!!!

    1. Noted! But they are far too sweet for me, so I shan't be bothering... but I did think Brend would excel at them.

  10. Wonderful, Simon - and I do hope you'll apply - really you must!!

    Have you watched the Great British Bake Off Master Class? I'd love your take on that too.

    1. I haven't watched those yet, actually - I must catch up (although I don't think I have the energy to recap them all!)

  11. I would just like to remind you Simon that I baked you a pithivier last Christmas - and I can just about pronounce it now!
    And thank you Ali Mal for solving the 'how are you meant to do this?' puzzle.
    I may even have a go now that I realise that Mary Berry's recipe includes 1kg of 'fondant icing' - sounds like a cheat to me!

    1. Well, I know! I still think we should apply as mother and son... they'd love it.

  12. Meg Z sent me here and now my sniggering has woken the baby.
    Great stuff :-D
    Now off to read your older recaps.
    Always late to the party,

  13. I'm wondering if that chiffon cake is about the same thing that we call Angel Food cake here?? Does anyone know. My cousin made them - the only kind of cake her husband could eat - not a lot of sugar (if I remember correctly), mostly egg whites (he didn't eat egg yolks for severe health reasons) - that's all I know (I've never made one myself).
    - Nancy, across the pond

    1. Maybe! Couldn't tell you - but it sounds about right...

  14. My grandma used to make a heavenly light fat-free cake that you HAD to finish that day because the next day it was like three-week-old stale cake. Maybe that was chiffon cake. Maybe it was a wartime recipe coping with rationed fats?

    I wanted John to win so much so I was so happy! And was inspired the next day to make puff pastry (for the first time since school cooking class), and a vegetarian pithivier. Don't skimp on the amount of pastry you'll need for the edges to rise the puff up, and a soggy bottom is easily avoided by putting the baking sheet that goes underneath the pithivier tray into the oven as soon as you turn it on.

    The Master classes are almost better than the Bake-Off shows because you get real tips! I was practically racing for the notead and pencil when Paul started ordering mary about with the bread mix: I had no idea that mixing the yeats and salt in the bowl will slow it all down ... I'm trying the plaited loaf this afternoon.

    And you MUST apply next year Simon: think of your fan base!

    Kate (www.reallylikethisbook.com)

    1. I don't think it can have been a wartime recipe Kate, as the only egg available was powdered egg - not a chance of separating the yolk and white!
      Meanwhile, I never mix 'yeats and salt' - Yeats is far too busy in the kitchen: 'scrub(bing) a kitchen pavement' to be available for bread-making duty!! ;)

    2. You've been cheering John on for ages, haven't you? You must have been thrilled!

      I don't think I've ever made puff pastry (but I never quite know what sort of pastry I'm making, I must be honest) but well done you!

  15. I do love your recaps Simon even though I read them at the office and have to explain to colleagues what I am giggling at!

    Being deeply sad, I actually cheered when John won although I would have been almost as pleased if James had and I am slightly ashamed at being glad when Brendan made just as much a mess of icing the Fondant Fancies as the others as I was convinced that he would make them perfecly (if iced in a 70's shade of orange!)
    I didn't dislike the man but he WAS annoyingly efficient at decorating things!

    1. Thanks Liz! Sorry to have disturbed your office though ;)
      I certainly cheered as well! Cheered and clapped!

  16. I still wish Brendan had won ...
    But I do hope dithery John stands up to his mum in future. I mean, can you just imagine him in court as a lawyer!

    1. I thought I was the only one!

      Simon, if you plan to enter, I should practise crying to order. That's the way to win reality TV shows.

    2. I can't even imagine how smug Brend would have been if he had won! Then again, he would have felt it entirely the just and unsurprising decision. John was certainly a better choice for winner, in terms of good television.

  17. Ha, great post as always Simon. We're glad John won, he was one of our faves. you should definitely apply - you'll never know if you don't give it a whirl!

    1. True, true! Now that I've said I might, I'm realising how shoddy my decorating skills are...

  18. Oh do apply! Great posts. How about having a go at posting on the next series of The Apprentice??

    1. I cannot bring myself to watch that, I loathe Alan Sugar too much - and the format seems so silly, each week suggesting that it was all one person's fault. But I can recommend theapprentbitch.blogspot.com - the team review lots of reality programmes very amusingly.

  19. Enjoyed your posts! Do enter the Bake Off Series 4. S

  20. What a great recap - I read all of that! My money was on the Brend and James until the last minute too. If we look at how they lay out the episode, the clues point to John winning at the end (what with the shots of Brend sounding sure of himself, and nobody believes in John), but still it was still a surprise when he did win it. Like you said he barely scraped through for a lot of the times, and it's almost like he's about to burst into tears all the time. I'm glad that other people are happy too that he won :)

    1. Thanks! And yes, I suppose the clues were there, weren't they?

  21. I only discovered this by acccident, because I was lookingfor that masterclass bit where Mary Berry made flaky pastry by grating frozen butter into the flour and added water, but i can remember no more, and can't find it anywhere! But I thoroghly enjoyed reading your stuff, and all the comments! Much as I thought Brendan was a pompous wee soul, I warmed to him as the series went on, and was really surprised he did not win, but was charmed that John did, especially to spite his horrible family, and also that he got a first in his law finals, and was off to Paris to train as a pastry chef! Go John! Let you enter next series! I would not dare! I could have been a contender in the first series, but I would be well out of my depth now!

  22. Only discovered this while looking for the masterclass where Mary Berry did flaky pastry with frozen butter etc - still can't find it! really enjoyed reading your stuff, and all the comments! I thought that Brend was a pompous wee soul, but warmed to him as the series went on, and was surprised when he did not win, he was so bloody good! But i was charmed that John won, if only to spite his horrible family, and even better, having only got a first in his law exams, he was off to Paris to train as a pastry chef! Go John! You can enter this if you want! I could have been a contender in the first series, but I would be out of my league now!

  23. I only discovered this by acccident, because I was lookingfor that masterclass bit where Mary Berry made flaky pastry by grating frozen butter into the flour and added water, but i can remember no more, and can't find it anywhere! But I thoroghly enjoyed reading your stuff, and all the comments! Much as I thought Brendan was a pompous wee soul, I warmed to him as the series went on, and was really surprised he did not win, but was charmed that John did, especially to spite his horrible family, and also that he got a first in his law finals, and was off to Paris to train as a pastry chef! Go John! Let you enter next series! I would not dare! I could have been a contender in the first series, but I would be well out of my depth now!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments! They did all go through, only I have to approve comments on posts older than a week (a spam avoidance technique.)

      Go John indeed! I did feel sorry for him with his mean family, and although he definitely wasn't the best baker, I was still really chuffed that he won.


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