Bake Off SU2C - Alison Hammond

Interview with Alison Hammond

Category: Interview, Press Pack Article

Can you bake? Rate yourself out of 10.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not really a baker. I just can’t be bothered to measure. I do know that 4oz of sugar, butter and flour, and two eggs, makes a really good sponge. I know that off by heart, from home economics at school. I’m just not into baking, really. Although I love brownies. That’s the only bake I’d really do. And I’m good at doing a fruit cake – my mum taught me how. I only do that once or twice a year, max.

Was it your mum who taught you how to bake?

A mixture of my mum and home ec. My fruit cake is lethal. In my house I’ve got fruits soaking in Jamaican rum. So sometimes I’ll make that simple sponge, add some of that fruit, and it’s absolutely lovely. A little bit of alcohol is very nice!

Is that your go-to bake of choice?

I think that would be my brownies. I can do that off the top of my head. And I can look at the mixture and know if it’s right. So that’s what I’m going to do on the show.

Are you a Bake Off fan?

I’ve seen it, I’m not religiously watching it all the time. I’ve only started watching since it moved to Channel 4. I never watched it on the BBC. But I’m a big fan of the presenters. I went on a show with Sandi Toksvig when I was about 14-years-old. It was in Wales, and I used to wear glasses, and we went over this bridge, and I turned to look at something, and my glasses flew off. I did the show with Sandi Toksvig the next day, and I couldn’t see a thing. I was as blind as a bat.

Is it something you’ve been nervous about doing?

Not really. I think I’ll be fine, although when they come over to try the food, that might be a bit stressful. You want them to like it.

Who do you want to impress the most? Paul or Prue?

Well, a handshake would be nice. That would be amazing, but I dunno if that’s going to happen.

Who do you see as your biggest competition?

I think Joe Sugg is going to be really good.

Have you had any baking disasters?

Well, I do make a really good bread and butter pudding. I can remember making it for this guy I really wanted to impress, and he came over, and he tasted it, and I could tell he didn’t really like it. I couldn’t believe it; my bread and butter pudding is fool proof. Only I’d forgotten to put the sugar in. It changed everything. It was rubbish. Little things can make such a difference.

How did things with the boy turn out?

It didn’t go anywhere. It was totally the bread and butter pudding, it wasn’t me!

What’s your strength in your baking?

I think I’ve got a pretty good instinct as to whether a mixture is right or wrong. I can tell when it’s got too much butter or sugar, or if I need more flour. That’s my strong point. I’m a natural baker rather than a technical one, so this technical task is probably going to be really hard for me.

Why are you supporting Stand Up to Cancer?

The main reason is that so many people that I love and care for have been affected by cancer. It would be crazy for me not to do this. It’s touched me in so many ways, there are people who are really close to me as well, who have been through chemo or are going through chemo now.

Have you practiced any of your bakes?

No. I’m doing my brownies, which I know by heart, but I’m also going to be doing a biscuit one, and I never make biscuits. They’re not really my thing. I don’t really like biscuits… or even cakes that much. I just like brownies, fudgy, gooey things. So there’s a biscuit bake I’m really nervous about. I’ve looked at recipes, looked a bit on YouTube at how people do things, but I’ll just have to get in the kitchen and see what happens.


Did you get any advice when you were preparing for this show?

No, I didn’t, actually. My sister said, ‘Good luck’ and my son said, “Just go for it, mum,” but that’s it, I didn’t get any advice. Is that a bad thing? To be honest with you, I’ve spoken to some of the camera men, and they give really good advice. They’ve seen so much. So one of them has given me a tip that I’ll use. He told me “With your biscuit, make sure that the butter’s cold.” I said “Thanks mate! How do you know that?” He said “I’ve been doing this job long enough.” So I’ll just ask the camera men if I get into trouble.


How do you feel about the technical challenge? Are you good under pressure?

I’m a little nervous. I’m not good under pressure. I can easily start panicking and getting hot and sweaty. I don’t like pressure. Why do we need pressure? I don’t need that! I’m a chilled-out person.


What would be the worst possible thing you could be asked to make in the technical?

Bread. I just don’t get it. I don’t get the whole yeast thing. Croissants too. Or baclava – that would be hell. I can’t do pastry.


If you were a baked good, what would you be?

Hot cross bun. I love them. With cheese.


With cheese?

Have you never had that? It’s amazing, butter, cheese, boom. I can’t believe you’ve never tried that. It’s one of those things that goes really well together, like chocolate and crisps.


Chocolate and crisps?

Oh my God, have you never tried that? You have a piece of chocolate and then stick in a handful of Ready Salted – oh my God. Lush!


You’ve done Celebrity MasterChef before. How did that go?

Not well, if I’m honest with you. It was the pressure thing. Dishes that I’d made time and time again, I messed up. When it’s in a kitchen that’s not your kitchen it doesn’t help. You don’t know where everything is, the oven feels too hot, loads of stuff. I mean, I did alright, I got to the semi-finals, and I did a chicken curry that Gregg Wallace still talks about when he sees me. So I do a good chicken curry.


Are there any experiences you learned on that that you can bring to this?

Be calm, and plan things, work things out time-wise. But I can’t really do that for the technical. But my show-stopper is totally planned out, to the minute. Three hours, I’m all over it. Apart from the fact that I’ve never made a biscuit before.