Twelve bakers entered the Bake Off bubble at the start of the competition, but only one could be crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2021, and tonight Giuseppe, age 45 from Bristol celebrated his win in an amazing final episode.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judged 12 Bakers with 30 Challenges over 10 episodes for the twelfth series of The Great British Bake Off 2021. This series the Bakers have baked everything from mini chocolate rolls and malt loaf in the very first episode onto recreating their childhood toy in biscuit week, and who could forget bread week with fabulous focaccias and then the drama of sticky toffee puddings followed by pavlovas in dessert week. German week was next with a Prinzregententorte as the technical challenge and the bakers struggled with their baklavas in pastry week. Caramel week had its challenges and wasn’t that sweet for some of the bakers. They made vegan sausage rolls and a dairy friendly Ice Cream Sandwich in Free-From Week, and then they all excelled in Patisserie week. None of it was easy, but they all coped magnificently.
In the final episode, the three remaining Bakers had to battle it out in the iconic white tent for their last ever challenges of 2021 and for Giuseppe, Crystelle and Chigs the stakes couldn’t have been higher as Paul and Prue set three challenges that would test every aspect of their baking prowess. In a classic signature they had to make the perfect Carrot Cake, produce Belgian Buns that would get the Paul Hollywood approval in the technical, and end on a crazy showstopper challenge to reflect a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party showing four different baking disciplines.
The three Finalists put their all into this series and produced amazing baking creations. The judges said it was the closest Final they have ever had to judge and the hardest decision to make, but it was to be Giuseppe’s year. He is our first ever Italian winner and took the trophy home to Bristol.
On hearing his magnificent win, Giuseppe said: ‘There are no words, I am speechless for once. All I can think of is the reaction from my mum and dad. The fact is that everything I have done to deserve this comes from his heritage, it’s the best thank you note I can possibly send him. He is going through a very bad time healthwise, so I think this is going to be a great boost. I don’t say often or lightly that I am proud of what I do, but in this case I am really proud of what I have done. It’s unbelievable!
Last night Giuseppe said: ‘I feel it’s been a great year for Italy. I truly can’t believe it or take it in, this has made me so incredibly happy to be a Britalian. Dell’Anno is my surname which translates in English to of the year – and I feel this has certainly has been my year.’
Paul said to Giuseppe: ‘You have won The Great British Bake Off, you are the first Italian to ever win it! And then added ‘The first time I walked into the tent and in the first signature I saw his mini rolls, I thought that looks like our winner, you could see the heart and soul going into his baking. He has done an incredible job!’
Prue said: ‘He is such a classic beautiful baker and he represents a long tradition of classic Italian baking he has done it brilliantly all the way through. I am going home to make much more Italian cakes because they really are good.’
The two runner ups wanted to congratulate him and Chigs said ‘I am over the moon that Giuseppe has won because I know how hard he has worked throughout this whole competition, it’s a euphoric moment!’
Crystelle added ‘I am so happy for Giuseppe I am getting quite emotional now, he is an incredible guy so genuine and an insane baker, and he really really deserves this win. His family are going to be so proud of him.’
The Great British Bake Off Winner 2021, here talks about his win: ‘Each of the finalists received two Hollywood Handshakes, and have been Star Baker twice, so I knew it was going to be a close race, and a very tight finish. I think we all saved the best till last and we all put our heart and soul into it. In the semi final it was a shock departure when Jurgen left and I think that made us all raise our game.
‘In the final episode, my showstopper was a dough filled with chocolate and hazelnut shaped in the form of a giant mushroom, to make a tear and share bread for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. I made mango and passion fruit drink me panna cottas, with orange and fig heart shaped muffins and asparagus and pea filled choux pastries shaped as the caterpillar. Prue and Paul said that they were delicious and had stunning flavours. Prue took one of the panna cottas for her lunch, so that was a big moment for me! When Prue steals one of your desserts it doesn’t get better than that.
‘On bread week, when I made my focaccia and Paul asked me for my recipe - well that just about made my year. I will eventually work up the courage to give it to him, and hope he uses it.
‘Going into the tent with Chigs and Crystelle for the last time was a very special moment. I think we were all so close technically as bakers, so it was more down to someone doing something wrong, rather than doing it right. This sounds corny but I would have been equally happy if either of those had won, they are phenomenal bakers and so clever. They really deserved to be finalists.
‘Matt and Noel were the biggest surprise in the tent for me, for obvious reasons. The Judges of course have to remain impartial, but Matt and Noel were so friendly and we hung out a lot together. They are charming gentlemen and they give showbusiness a really good name, they were so helpful and supportive.
‘When I called Noel Neil it was such a cringe moment but he took it in good humour, and hey listen if it makes good telly then I don’t mind, as long as Neil didn’t mind ha ha. There was some banter about my mispronounciations with Matt, but it was all good fun, no hassle.
‘I felt a lot of pressure in preparation for the Final, we were developing recipes, but strangely I went into the last episode quite relaxed. I thought to myself, well I have been in the series throughout, I am happy being a Finalist, what can go wrong really? I had seen previous finals when bakers do have a meltdown. But the minute they say Bake you just put so much effort into it and don’t want to make a single mistake. You get a massive adrenaline rush, and it’s like a time warp as you are in the zone for 4 hours, and so focused on the task. I feel now if I had to recreate that again it might take me 4 days to do it!
‘Being the first Britalian winner is amazing, as I have had so much support from Bristol and Italy, I have had lots of local people getting in touch and thanking me for putting Bristol on the map. But equally Italians all over the UK, saying it’s great to be representing our culture in such a high profile show has been really heart warming. The Italian community in the UK is pretty massive, there are quite a few of us.
‘I watched the final at home with the family and friends and I made some bakes and of course they were Italian!
‘I will of course keep in touch with all my fellow bakers a 100% and we have had parties and barbecues throughout the summer. We reach out to each other on our What’s App group and it’s really nice to get daily updates and support when it’s needed.
‘Bake Off has helped me broaden my baking experience as it has been a massive learning exercise and I have learned more about presentation. With family life and having a busy job I previously have gone for something more practical in baking. But obviously that is not the Bake Off standard and finesse is required, so for the first time through Bake Off I have had the time and opportunity to practice those skills.
‘I would like to say thank you to my wife Laura – she is my first and foremost support. She gives me expert baking advice, but more importantly, she gave me the practical help and took over all the family chores that helped me make it to the Final, so I can never thank her enough.
Giuseppe ends saying ‘I think and hope GBBO might just change my life, whether it does or not I genuinely don’t know, it’s all so new and scary for me. I don’t know what the expectations for the future are and if I can I live up to them. But the one thing I would love to do is to crystallise my dad and family’s heritage in a cookery book of Italian baking - and that would draw from my family and their love for baking, it runs through our blood. It would be good to know that there would be a cook book out there for posterity for the Dell’Anno family.’
Giuseppe will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen and all the other bakers, on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 26 November at 8.00 pm on Channel 4.
Issued by Shelagh@shelaghpymm.co.uk and email@example.com
A Love Production for Channel 4
*We filmed this series in a covid secure bubble again this year, how did it feel to be meeting and living with your fellow bakers?
I am 100% sure that isolating with my fellow bakers and the whole production team had a very powerful effect on the whole experience. We bonded in a way that the ‘conventional’ arrangement would have not allowed. The result was that we bakers became more of a team than a set of individual competitors. We have gone through struggles and difficulties together and we have helped each other a lot more than we would have by living in our own homes throughout the filming. And I quite liked that! I am sure that the camaraderie that the bubble created between us will come across when the show is aired.
*What did you enjoy most about being in the bubble and what did you miss most about being away from home?
The bubble enabled very strong personal connections to be formed between us bakers. We have all become true friends in an exceptionally short amount of time, there’s no doubt that the closed environment has contributed to this. I missed my family terribly while being away from home. I had never been this long away from my wife and kids and I grossly underestimated how much I have missed them.
*Did you pack a lucky item for your stay?
No, but I brought with me my own pillow – I’m a very fussy sleeper and I was expecting restless nights. Which I had! I thought that my own pillow would help. Which it didn’t! 😊
*During the filming time when you were away from home, where did you say you were to friends?
Most of my close friends don’t live nearby, so they were not even aware of me disappearing. My neighbours must have thought that I had moved out… I told my colleagues that I had left over leave to take and that I was going to be away from the office. The working from home arrangement has made the whole disappearance much easier to hide… It was much more difficult to find an excuse to tell my kids. I could not possibly tell a 4, a 6 and 8 year old that I was going to be a baker on Bake Off, or the whole village would have found out in no time. So I told them that I was away ‘working’ in London.
*Can you describe the bakers as a group this year?
Whoever did the casting did a fabulous job. I have never felt so close to such a diverse group of people in such a short time! My fellow bakers were truly a bunch of exceptionally nice, well tempered, kind, generous and friendly people. All with a phenomenal sense of humour too. I’m not exactly a social animal, but I felt an immediate connection with all of them which I feel will last for a long time.
*How nervous were you when Paul and Prue started judging the first signature challenge and how does it feel when they are judging the technical challenge when they don’t know who has baked which item?
That very first bite is probably the most memorable moment in the tent. His Baking Highness and Her Baking Highness Paul and Prue were actually tasting my cake!!! The blind judging of the technical didn’t feel very different from any other judging, if I’m honest. I don’t think that the judges would let the ownership of the bake influence their comments anyway, so it made very little difference.
*Having watched Bake Off in the past, was the first day in the tent what you expected?
My first day in the tent was as exhilarating as I expected it to be. But it was way more exhausting and intense than I’d ever expected by watching the show on TV. The effort, the work and the time that goes into making an episode of air-time is unbelievable! I have now a completely new perspective and appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes of a show like the Bake Off.
*Are you a messy or tidy baker?
I tend to be very tidy, to the point that I spend more time wiping my bench than baking…however, I must admit that the status of my bench in the tent at times would disprove this… In a way baking in the tent for me was rather therapeutic in that it forced me to worry less about lining up my ingredients in perfect order and more about getting things done.
*Who is your baking inspiration and what age did you start baking?
Most of my family are into cooking or baking. Our Christmas dinners have always been dominated by discussions about food. However, my baking inspiration is without any doubt my dad. He used to be a professional chef and a passionate baker. I started baking when I first became a dad and the main reason was that I wanted to give my kids the same pleasure and memories I had in my childhood through the sweets my dad used to make for us.
*The Bake Off family is a very exclusive club, how do you feel being a new member?
I feel very privileged, but I must admit that I don’t think that the fact that I am actually part of the club has fully sunk in just yet… Perhaps watching the show on TV will seal my membership for good.
*The warmth and love you get in the Tent is a very special feeling, what is the nicest thing in baking you have done for anyone/or given them
Although they are not the prettiest, I am particularly fond of the cakes that the kids and I prepare for mum on her birthday. The best thing about cakes is that they can channel love and affection for people and nothing does that better than a birthday cake baked by your family.
* What is the cake you get asked to make the most for friends and family?
People ask me to make pizza for them more than cake and I’m always very happy to oblige, being a massive pizza fan myself. I have the feeling that the orders will extend to cakes too as soon as the show is aired though…
*If you were a cake what would you be and why?
I see myself very well represented by a sacher torte: very simple and plain outside but delicious and indulgent inside.
*In three words how would you describe yourself?
Transparent, reliable, (occasionally) pedantic 😊
*Are there any bakes or flavours that you really dislike? and why…
I don’t like pumpkin and squash in general, so pumpkin-flavoured cakes are not among my favourite bakes.
*When baking at home what do you have on in the background – music/TV/podcast/radio?
Typically, the radio, usually an Italian pop channel. I also like to watch TV while I bake, but nothing that requires much attention. The repeat of a good comedy show usually works really well.
*Does it all seem a bit surreal that you have joined The Great British Bake Off family?
Not just a bit! It’s entirely and utterly surreal, incredible and out-of-this-world. I will believe it when I see it on TV!
*Do you think work colleagues and friends will be shocked to see you on TV?
They will be 100% in shock. I don’t act exactly as an extrovert, especially on the work place, so I would imagine that the last thing my colleagues expect is to see me on a TV show. I am sure that lots of jaws will be dropping when my face comes up on Channel 4. I’d pay good money to see their faces!!!
* What do you think it will be like watching yourself on television? Behind a cushion or on delayed record?
I expect lots of cringe and self criticism. Hopefully, I’ll manage to find the entertaining side! Anyway, what’s done is done, I might as well enjoy it!
*What do you feel that you have learned the most from your experience in the tent?
I have learnt to take myself less seriously. My job and my background have trained me to be always exact, accurate and… serious. Very much what you’d expect from an engineer, after all. In the tent, I have enjoyed liberating the more creative side of me and I have learned to embrace what I am.
*Overall what was your best and worst moment in the Tent?
The best moment in the tent for me was the first handshake I got from Paul for my focaccia. It meant a lot to me: the flavours in that bake brought back lots of very personal memories. It was without a doubt the most intense and powerful moment in the tent for me. The worse moment was the judging of my gluten free showstopper. I had realised while making it that there was something wrong with the sponge, but it was too late to do anything about it. It was very disappointing as in practice it had worked perfectly. I still don’t know today what I did wrong…
*What’s next for you in the baking world?
Who knows?!?! I never started this hoping for a new career or a change in lifestyle. But I have realised that the Bake Off is a machine that is much bigger than me and you never know what to expect. All I can do is to keep a steady, cool head but an open mind. The only thing that I am planning to do, is not to make any plans for now!
*Favourite challenge overall and why.
I had never thought that I would be able to bake a decent Joconde Imprime dessert, let alone make one that would get good feedback from the judges. When I got the brief, I was petrified at the idea of having to make something as elaborate as that. I had never heard of it and didn’t know where to start. So I was over the moon when my Joconde got praises for texture, flavour and design. Overall, certainly my most successful bake in the tent.
*Worst challenge and why?
I did not particularly enjoy the caramel week showstopper challenge. I had wrestled with the sugar dome for weeks, and I ended up concentrating so much on that decorative element while neglecting the rest of the dessert. Not my best moment in the tent. I didn’t particularly like caramel before, now I like it even less!
*Funniest moment in the tent?
Crystelle’s walk while she was bringing her anti-gravity cake to the judges will remain the funniest moment for me in the tent. What I found irresistible was not the walk in itself, but the fact that she actually practiced it at home!!! It still makes me giggle.
*What will you take away from your experience on Bake Off?
During the Bake Off experience I have learnt how to take a compliment, not something that I am particularly good at! I have always been the worst critic of myself and I’m very good at spotting what I have done wrong. The support I got from my fellow bakers and the positive attitude of the entire team have prompted me to focus on the positives instead. I don’t think that before the Bake Off I had ever acknowledged the fact that I had done a good job. Whereas before leaving the tent for good I gave myself a well deserved pat on my back!
Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives in Bristol with his wife and their three young (and noisy!) sons. His love for baking comes from his father, a professional chef who did all the cooking at home as Giuseppe was growing up, including making a cake every Sunday. Inspired by this Italian heritage, Giuseppe loves using Italian flavours in his bakes, while he also brings his engineer’s precision to the results. A self-confessed food snob, he is determined to feed his children homemade confectionary, rather than anything that’s been mass-produced. When he’s not baking, Giuseppe loves indulging his passion for design and architecture, and with his wife has renovated their family home. He also loves gardening.