Monday, 29 July 2013

Q&A with John Whaite

I was lucky enough to meet the lovely John Whaite, winner of last year's Great British Bake Off the at one of his baking classes the other week. Since it was a special class for bloggers we also had the chance to interview him. John is one of my baking heroes, it was a real challenge to limit my questions to just ten but here they are.

When did you first start baking and why?

When I was a little boy. It was something mum and I used to do to spend our time together, and since then it has been an inherently comforting process.

What did you learn from working with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off?

Not to take things too seriously, and to develop a recipe well – don’t just write a recipe without trying it.

I absolutely loved the week where everyone made gingerbread structures and thought your gingerbread colosseum was great. What was your favourite bake during the show?

I loved baking the doughnuts, as I had never made them before. So I would love to make them again.

Was there anything on the bake off made by one of the other contestants that you wished you’d made?

No. Brendan’s bakes were nice but old fashioned; James’ were experimental but a little too risky for me. I made a few errors I would have liked to avoid, but apart from that I was happy.

In the last 12 months you’ve won the bake off, attended Le Cordon Bleu and written your first book. It’s safe to say you’ve had an amazing year, if you had to sum it up in three words, what would they be?

Fast, stressful, incredible.

In the last year my baking obsession has really taken over and I am baking more than ever before. Do you have any tips for feeding a passion for baking without piling on the pounds?

You have to have fun and indulge, but not every day of the week. And if you pig out and eat a load of cake for lunch, don’t eat anything else that day.

What are your 3 top baking tips?

a.    Prepare the ingredients – weigh them out
b.   Read through the recipe thoroughly
c.    Use a good set of electronic scales, capable of weighing a single gram

Where do you get inspiration from?

I like to eat out a lot and that certainly brings inspiration. But I also like to just throw whatever I’ve got in my cupboard into a recipe, and hope that works.

Some people don’t like certain baking trends such as cupcakes, cake pops, cronuts etc, are there any trends you don’t like?

Cakepops. I just don’t get them – you take a beautifully light cake, mush it up with some claggy buttercream, and stick it onto a stick. Disgusting.

Is there anything which you think deserves its own trend / should have a revival?

Eclairs and choux pastry. The amount of things you can fill them with is great, and they are really easy to make! 

What a lovely guy!

You can read my review of John's baking class here.

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