The Great British Bake Off

September 9, 2019

Do you know your Choux from your Croquembouche? Or your Viennoiserie from your Langues du Chat? 

September is well underway and so is the tenth series of the Great British Bake Off. The popular show is back and searching for this year’s best amateur baker judged by Prue Leith, alongside presenter Sandi Toksvig. Many Who’s Who biographees enjoy nothing more than baking (and eating) cakes, bread and puddings both recreationally and professionally.

They say that the proof is in the pudding and this phrase is taken literally by some of our entrants. Former MP Rt Hon. Jack Straw enjoys ‘cooking puddings’ and Laurence Keen, former President of the British Archaeological Association, likes ‘perfecting bread and butter pudding’. Retired diplomat, Graham Styles favours ‘eating rice pudding’ over making it and the Rt Rev. Robert Freeman, lists ‘puddings’ alongside ‘Motown, electric blues and rock’.

Some of our biographees would fare best in bread week if they were to enter the tent, such as restaurant critic Charles Campion and QC Aswini Weereratne who include bread making as one of their recreations and writer and editor Mark Pappenheim who specifies ‘sourdough bread-making’. Bread and alcohol connects Prof. David Pye and the late Prof. Franz Khan with the former combining bread making with ‘brewing’ and the latter with ‘visiting distilleries’. Headmaster, Andrew Moss might not be in line for star baker as he admits ‘trying to make bread’.

A common theme amongst our biographees’ recreations is the combination of baking with exercise. Emma Parry, co-founder of Help for Heroes, enjoys ‘walking, cycling, baking and ballet’. Meanwhile, actor and writer Rob Brydon eschews the process of baking and enjoys ‘drinking milk and eating biscuits’ together with ‘country walks’.

Many of the chefs and food writers in Who’s Who have dedicated their career to teaching the world how to perfect their home baking. Former Bake Off judge Mary Berry has written over 15 cook books devoted to satisfying the public’s sweet tooth, from Glorious Puds (1980) to Fast Cakes (2018) and has graced British television screens since 1970. Lorraine Pascale, who completed a Diploma in Food and Wine at Prue Leith’s eponymous school, encouraged even the most amateur to bake a cake with Baking Made Easy (2011), while Michel Roux dedicated whole books to Pastry (2008) and Desserts (2011). This passion is mirrored in his nephew, Michel Roux Jr who completed a Pâtisserie apprenticeship in Paris at the start of his career.

We hope that our biographees have inspired you to attempt a technical challenge, wow your friends and family with a showstopper or just buy a cake, pop it on a decorative plate, dust it with icing sugar and claim it’s homemade.

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