Twelve bakers entered the Bake Off tent at the start of the competition, but only one could be crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2023, and tonight Alison announced that Matty 28, from Cambridgeshire was the winner of The Great British Bake Off Series 14. He celebrated his win in an amazing tense final episode with fellow finalists Dan and Josh.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judged 12 Bakers with 30 Challenges over 10 episodes for the 14th series of The Great British Bake Off.
This series the Bakers have baked everything starting with a vertical layer cake and the iconic chocolate raspberry cake from the series titles, then a Showstopper creating a menagerie of animals which included the infamous ‘Beaver Cake’. Moving onto the second week with custard cream biscuits and amazing and inventive illusion biscuits, the next was Bread week or ‘dread week’ as it became known by some of the bakers, but they produced classic cottage loaves and no-one got themselves into a twist with a plaited centrepiece Showstopper. For Chocolate week they didn’t melt and produced a torte, cheesecake and an edible chocolate box cake.
On Pastry week the bakers were avoiding soggy bottoms at all costs as they produced mini picnic pies, a dauphinoise pithivier and a decorative sweet pie display. On a new theme for the series Botanical week the Bakers impressed the judges with their spiced buns and floral desserts, followed by Dessert Week with crème caramel, treacle sponge and custard and a filled meringue bombe. Another new theme, Party week, produced sausage rolls and an anything but beige buffet Showstopper as the Bakers partied their way through to the semi-finals, which really put the four remaining bakers through their patisserie skills with Financiers, a tarte aux pommes and Millefoglie.
After nine amazing weeks it was just 3 bakers left as finalists Dan, Josh and Matt faced a jaw dropping choux pastry signature, a blast from the past with a sticky technical and the ultimate celebration cake Showstopper! The stakes couldn’t have been higher as the three remaining bakers battled it out in the iconic white tent for their last ever challenge of 2023 which would test every aspect of their baking prowess. None of it was easy, but they all coped magnificently. The three Finalists put their all into this series and produced amazing baking creations.
2023 was to be Matty’s year, and he triumphantly took the trophy home. On hearing his win, Matty said: ‘I don’t know what to say, everyone said you should go on Bake Off and I thought it was a throwaway comment and never really listened to it. I never thought I would be on the show let alone win it!’
The two runners up wanted to congratulate him and Josh said: ‘I am so chuffed for Matty - when it always comes to the cake he has been fantastic, he is such a worthy winner, and a lovely chap as well.
Dan added ‘I had a feeling that Matty was going to win. On the day it counted and I am honestly so happy for him - what a kid I absolutely love him’.
Prue said ‘I have never met a more cheerful , smiling uncomplaining and willing baker. He was just having such a good time, learning as much as he could, taking on board everything either of us said’.
Paul added ‘He just got better and better and better and if you are going to smash it you do it in the last challenge, and that is exactly what he did. That chocolate cake was one of the best chocolate cakes I have had for a long, long time.’
Matty said on the show: ‘There have been so many ups and so many downs. So many times when I have had to be pulled through by the people closest around me. Certainly Lara. I cannot imagine I have been that much fun to live with the last 10 weeks. I am happy for them as much as I am for me. It still doesn’t feel real…’
Here, The Great British Bake Off Winner 2023, talks about his win: ‘I so admired my fellow finalists Josh and Dan, and I think the three boys at the final were naturally competitive but also we were all supportive of each other and I don’t think there was any one of us would have begrudged the winner, whoever it was. We had all got a Hollywood handshake, had all been Star Baker twice and all got to the Final so I think we all achieved what we wanted.
‘It was quite a tough final. We were all aware of how close we were in baking skills. Dan and Josh were great to have as fellow finalist, but it was a shock for everybody when Tasha went at the semi-final. She was such a good baker and equally such a lovely person, we were all so sorry to see her go.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I got Star Baker in Chocolate Week. I was buzzing and it gave me the confidence boost I needed, and then Party Week, I was really shocked to get Star Baker in that week - and I got my first Hollywood Handshake for the signature challenge – that really was the cherry on the cake to coin a baking cliché!
‘I love patisserie and I think that is one of my special skills, or at least something that I feel I am good at so I really enjoyed that week. I think that was my overall favourite week, even though there was a lot at stake.
‘At the final I didn’t win the Technical because of my poor lamination. But I was pleased my Signature was good, and then I pulled it off with my Showstopper. The judges liked my chocolate Genoese sponge and the Victoria sponge even though the final decoration was a bit wonky I don’t know why that was but they liked the flavour and that was the main thing. Paul said it reminded him of cakes he had as a child…
‘Noel said if Matty wins this he will have played an absolute blinder. We had a great relationship right from the start and in Episode 1 I think he said if I got to be the winner, he would get a tattoo of me, although I don’t think he was being completely serious as he said he already had a tattoo of Rahul. But it was very Noel and very funny.
‘It was so surreal to meet both Alison and Noel, they are both so nice and did such a good job at making you feel at ease and included. My stand out moment from the series was when the judges came over in the first episode and I was so nervous. I was absolutely bricking it when they walked over to my workbench as I knew it was a very important moment for me.
‘I had such a great time in the tent, and the first time I walked in and saw my workstation was really surreal and it soon became really scary when I realised I was right at the front, but I think I found my strengths are my flavours and my weaknesses are my decorating skills.
‘I watched the final at home with my fiancée Lara and friends and family It was a lovely evening we had some bubbles to celebrate and needless to say I made some bakes. I have kept the trophy hidden away in a box in the loft but I think it will have pride of place in the dining room from now so everyone can see it.
‘The pupils at school were I think a bit impressed that I was in the series and I did get some really nice comments at school. I know they will think it’s cool that I have won but at the same time they will be really surprised. They have invested in me throughout the series so there will be a sense of pride with them all of sharing the win with me. I was so blown away by their support throughout and I have to admit I was so nervous going to school the day after I had been announced. Almost as much as I was going into the tent the very first day!
‘Without a shadow of doubt I was the official underdog throughout the series so I think everyone was surprised when I made it to the final and then won it, including me!
‘From being in the tent I think I have learnt to trust my instincts and to believe in myself a little bit more and broaden my horizons. It also showed me the importance of time management. My favourite week was chocolate week and the white chocolate cheesecake simply because it tasted so good! And I think I have to say in week 7 my technical was my worst because the steamed pudding was as raw when I took it out as it was when I put it in!
‘The judging for the final showstopper was by far the best moment for me throughout the whole series. I couldn’t believe it! And I didn’t think bread week and my showstopper were my ever best moments!
‘I loved how different everyone is as a Baker in this year, our personalities are so contrasting yet we all get on so well. I think in the future I need to be a little bit more willing to push myself more and not to rule myself out. I would like to say thank you to Lara of course, my fellow Bakers, my parents and family and all the staff and pupils who have supported me.
Matty ends saying ‘I hope GBBO might just change my life a little bit, but being a PE teacher is something I really enjoy at the moment. I loved being in the tent and another of my happiest life moments was when I got engaged in Sorrento to my fiancée Lara. I am not sure what’s next for me, but my next big baking project is making our wedding cake. I am just going to keep enjoying it’
Matty will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen and all the other bakers, on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Thursday 30 November at 8.00 pm on Channel 4.
GBBO SERIES 14 BAKER Q&A: MATTY
*Why did you apply for Bake Off?
I didn’t actually apply, my fiancée applied for me. I never would have applied for myself. I didn’t think I was good enough to be able to be on Bake Off
*How much did you practice at home before going into the tent and how did you juggle that with life and work?
My mind never really switched off from baking the entire time. Balancing work, life and baking started well but soon became me just baking.
*How did that first walk down those steps and into the tent feel?
It was so bizarre and surreal, it never really felt real.
*How did you cope with the first challenge of a vertical layer cake, did you feel you had to lie down afterwards?
Before needing to bake one, I’d never heard of a vertical layer cake.
*During the first episode were you able to take in what everyone else was doing and what else was going on or were you too focused on your first bakes? How were the nerves?
I was right at the front so didn’t get much of a chance to see what other people were doing. The nerves were massive until they said bake and then I lost myself for a while, until the judges had done the tour anyway…
*What did you enjoy most about filming the first week and what did you miss most about being away from home?
It was nice to get to know the other bakers and to be able to relate and share our experiences/worries with other people going through the same process. I didn’t really miss anything about being away from home. My fiancée had gone on holiday so I wouldn’t have had much to do anyway.
*Funniest thing that you remember happened in that very first week?
Prue asking Nicky about her beaver, shortly followed by Alison sounding like a kettle that had just boiled trying not to laugh at Prue asking about Nicky’s beaver.
*The presenters are a brand new double act this series, describe how you think it works?
I think they are the perfect pair, the way they interact with each other and also us as the bakers is so good. They do such a good job at making you feel at ease in an environment none of us are familiar with.
*Alison is known for her big laugh, how infectious is hearing that laugh when you’re in the tent?
Alison’s laugh is unbelievable. There were countless times when it was getting a bit tense and you would hear her laugh and it would make the situation a little easier.
*Do you make your own bread at home and how often? And have you got a pet name for your yeast starter?
I make focaccia and pizza dough but I am not a huge bread maker which is surprising now I think of it because I love bread. Maybe it will be something I will get into more now.
*What is your guilty cake pleasure and your guilty savoury addiction?
I have such a sweet tooth so any cake will do me fine – anything chocolate would be a bit of me.
*What excuse/white lie did you tell friends/family when you were away that first weekend of filming?
Week 1 filming was over a bank holiday and it turns out my friends are the least inquisitive bunch of people I have ever met. I said that I’m busy and they said no worries, no more questions were asked.
*Can you describe the bakers as a group this year? When and where did you first meet and what was it like when you all met for the first time?
It is hard to describe everyone. I don’t know how you managed to get such a group, and everyone is so different in personality but we all genuinely get on so well. I first met everyone in the bar of the hotel which was a bit strange, as I didn’t know if they were bakers or just people staying at the hotel.
*Did you feel it was a competition or are you more of a team player…. Teamwork is dreamwork?
I think everyone was a team player throughout and I would like to think that I helped people as much as I could when they needed it.
*Are you sweet or savoury as a personality?
Sweet all day long.
*How nervous were you when Paul and Prue started judging the first signature challenge and how did it feel when they judged the technical challenge?
Every single bake that was judged sent my nerves spiralling, especially when I wasn’t very confident in my bake. It was best to go first, meant you got it out of the way.
*Having watched Bake Off in the past, was the first day in the tent what you expected?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was so foolish in my thinking of what goes into making an episode of Bake Off. I honestly thought it would be turn up and bake!
*If you went to a fancy dress party as a cake what would you be and why?
This is a hard one, maybe a chocolate cake? Everyone likes chocolate cake
*What was it like having the team clean up for you after all your bakes. Are you a tidy or messy baker? Did you feel guilty if you made a mess?
It was lovely not having to clean up after myself because it would take me hours in practice. However, I was embarrassed at the state I left my bench in at times so I definitely felt guilty walking away from it knowing someone else had to clean up after me.
*Who is your baking inspiration and what age did you start baking?
My nan is my baking inspiration, she was an amazing baker. There are two stand out bakes she made for me. One is a chocolate teddy bear cake and the other was a South Pole inspired cake she made at Christmas. I don’t know the exact age I started to bake, however, it is something I can always remember doing so it must have been young.
*The Bake Off family is a very exclusive club, how do you feel now being a new member?
It is still so surreal that the whole thing happened, the dust still hasn’t settled that I was on Bake Off. It’s pretty cool though.
*On a Bake Off Castaway Island you are allowed to take one past baker and one utensil – what would they be and why?
I think I would have to take Giuseppe, I have his cookbook and the bakes are unreal so I think I would be able to eat well with him there. I think I would take a spatula.
*In three words how would you describe yourself?
Sporty, dedicated, happy
*And how would your friends describe you in three words…
Loving, funny, hard-working
*Now describe your baking style in three words
Classic, tasty, rustic
*Are there any spices or flavours that you really dislike? and why…
Lavender and rose, they are a bit perfumy for me
*When baking in the kitchen at home what music/tv/podcast/radio do you have on in the background?
Sam Fender, Fred Again, Under the Cosh, Tony Bellew angry, Joe Marler show
*Does it all seem a bit surreal that you have joined The Great British Bake Off family?
It is so surreal to be a part of the Great British Bake Off family, I never envisaged this for myself and I am really grateful to have had this opportunity.
The Great British Bake Off is looking for a fresh batch of bakers for 2024
If you think you’ve got what it bakes to be in the tent, take a whisk and choux us what you’ve got!
Applications close 2nd January 2024 at 1pm.
BIOGRAPHY - MATTY, 28
PE & Science Teacher
Matty is the type of baker who swats up on online patisserie videos before bed. No matter how good he gets, though, he strives to equal the impressiveness of the bake that first caught his imagination: a teddy-bear cake that his late nan made him for his fourth birthday. Now the family’s designated baker, he always has a list of cake requests for upcoming celebrations. He describes his style as rustic but neat, and his flavour preferences as quite traditional – he particularly loves chocolate, citrus and nuts. Once his days in the tent are over, his next – and even bigger – challenge will be to make his own wedding cake, a special commission from his fiancée, Lara.