Can you bake?
I hadn’t tried until practicing for this, to be really honest. I don’t even know the names of most desserts. I’m not really into cream or anything with that kind of texture. My go-to dessert is sticky toffee pudding or chocolate cake. So, all of this stuff is completely new to me. But it’s good fun and I love learning new skills, so it’s been great. And stressful!
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I feel like I’ve got quite a good eye for detail and decoration. My timing isn’t so good, though.
Have you ever had any culinary disasters?
No, not really. I only started getting into cooking during lockdown. ‘Cos I’m a veggie, you can’t really do veggies wrong, can you? I’ve been watching loads of step-by-step YouTube videos recently.
What’s the worst thing you could be asked to make in the competition?
Anything that isn’t sticky toffee pudding or chocolate cake. The problem is, because I don’t eat it, I don’t know what it should really look or taste like (!), so I guess you could say I’m just winging it…
Have you done anything in the way of practise or preparation for the competition?
I bought about £300-worth of equipment but I’m running out of space in my kitchen. I’d been practicing a vegan bake, but it just wasn’t happening, so this is the first time I’ve properly done it, but it hasn’t gone fully to plan, just yet.
You posted a video of you making a cake during lockdown. It was a ready mix, you seemed to find it very tricky, and finished it off by putting several kilos of chocolate bars on it. Is that going to be your approach here?
Maybe! I was speaking to my sister and she was saying I needed to keep practicing my baking skills, so I went round her house and bought the ‘ingredients’ and she was like “what’s this?!” – it was ready made cake mix. It’s definitely been a shock to the system.
You also appeared to be scared of eggs, and you have tweeted about how weird eggs are. Do you have an egg phobia, and is that going to be a problem?
This is what lead me to become vegan. I like the fact you don’t have to touch eggs at all. They’re just rank! I handled one today, actually. I had to separate the yolk from the white. I did really well, and then I did it too much, because I was showing off, and then it broke, and it was just a nightmare. But yea, eggs are a no-go for me.
Are you competitive? How badly do you want to win?
Before I went into the tent, I didn’t think the competitive side of me would come out but as soon as began baking, I wanted to win. My bake this morning was pretty simple, so I just kept walking around trying to put people off, because everyone seemed to be doing it really well. So yeah, I’ve discovered that I do actually want to win. But I’m not sure it’s likely to happen, so I’d better just concentrate on having fun!
Why is SU2C important to you?
My nan passed away from cancer when I was about 13, which was tough for me. I really struggled with that, and it’s affected me ever since. My grandad was sadly diagnosed with kidney and liver cancer recently, so this feels even more relevant now, for me. I’m honoured to be taking part.
You’re a former karate champion – do you think the discipline and focus that that gives you might help you?
Well, I thought it would. But it goes side by side with my ADD. The two aren’t really pairing up in the tent, because there’s beeps going off, there’s birds whistling outside, there’s so much going on that it’s hard to concentrate. But I’m trying!
You appeared on Sunday Brunch, where you said you had the palate of a 4-year-old and could cook peanut butter on toast. Have you thought that maybe this wasn’t the right competition for you to go in for?
Maybe. When I was asked to do it, I honestly thought that outside of it being fun, it’d also be really easy but I’m now eating my words. Probably safe to say that this isn’t the best competition or me…