Can you bake? Rate yourself out of 10.
I would rate myself a very low score, maybe a two or a three, purely because for me, it’s just faff. So much goes into it, the space we have to work in isn’t big enough. I’m a very neat person, I hate mess, so baking is just too messy. I prefer other people baking and me trying it. But I’m good at following instructions.
Who taught you how to bake, if anyone?
I guess my mum, maybe, from my early days. My sister Zoe is a good baker. She’s been on the show before, she was on it when it was for Sport Relief. She was on it with Gok Wan, Jonathan Ross and Abbey Clancy.
How did she do?
She did okay, but her show-stopper let her down. But she set the bar, there’s a target for me to aim for. I’ve got to beat Zoe, it’s basic sibling rivalry. Other than that, I’ve baked with my girlfriend before, we did an Easter Cake together, which was an absolute nightmare, and stressed me out more than anything. But generally, if I do try baking, it’s normally just a matter of finding a recipe online and learning that way.
Do you have a signature dish?
I think my go-to dish, if I wanted to make something I’d eat myself, would be a lemon drizzle cake. My nan used to make those, and her lemon drizzle cakes were always bang on. So I would probably do that in her honour.
Are you a Bake Off fan?
Yeah. It’s such a British show, and I think combining it with the charity is so good, because it gets people into baking as well. Baking has always been such a good thing for fundraising, because everyone’s got stuff in the back of their cupboards they use for baking, so it’s using up stuff you’ve already got, baking it, then selling it for a good cause. That’s brilliant!
Is it something you’ve been nervous about doing?
I haven’t even had time to be nervous about it. I’ve been so busy, my time is just back-to-back. I have to schedule meals into my diary at the moment! But it’s good, because it means I’ve not had time to think about it too much. I’ve done no prep at all for this. The day before coming here I didn’t know that we were allowed to bring in the recipe during the bake, I thought we had to learn it by heart, so I was cramming all this information. So that was a waste of a morning!
Who do you want to impress the most? Paul or Prue?
I think maybe Paul, because he’s a little bit intimidating. He knows his stuff, and he’s got this presence about him. He’s a big deal. They both are, but he gives off this vibe like he’s the headmaster of a school, and you always want to stay on the right side of the headmaster!
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
I think that would be Alison Hammond. I think she’s going to be brilliant, she’ll just take it all in her stride. But I reckon James will be really neat, and when it comes to the technical, I think he’ll be really good at following instructions. Everyone’s a competitor, I guess, but we all get on so well, and I think everyone will support each other. We’ll all have little hiccups, it could be anyone that wins it.
Have you had any baking disasters?
The thing I always worry about is when you flip the tray, that moment is such a big moment. If half of it is still stuck to the tin, that’s no good. That’s happened to me before.
What’s your strength in your baking?
That I can follow instructions. What do they say, “If it’s on the page, it’s on the stage!” If it’s down there, I’ll make sure I get it done. And I think my precision will be good. But my weakness is my time. I am a slowcoach. I’m so slow at doing things, which my girlfriend tells me off for all the time. We have a cooking channel together, and she always says to me “You are SO slow!”
Why are you supporting Stand Up to Cancer?
Because cancer is one of the biggest killers in the world. It’s such a great cause. I’ve worked for Stand Up to Cancer for the last four or five years, doing various different things. I’m fortunate that nobody in my immediate family has been through cancer, but you don’t have to go far outside of your family to find someone that has.
Did you get any advice when you were preparing for this show?
My sister said “Make sure you’re not better than me.” She put up a good show when she was on, but that spurs me on. Of course I’m going to try and beat her. She’s actually a really good baker, she makes a really good cake. She does it quite a lot in her spare time. A hundred per cent more than I do. But I’m quite enjoying going into it with no expectation, and no expertise. Then I feel like an underdog.
Are you competitive? Do you want to be star baker?
I’m more competitive with myself. So I’ll just want to do myself proud. I like taking on new challenges and trying to get good at them.
How do you feel about the technical challenge? Are you good under pressure?
I think I’ll enjoy it, but I don’t think I’ll be the best.
What would be the worst possible thing you could be asked to make in the technical?
I would say a profiterole. I don’t even know how they’re made. Is it a bread, is it a Yorkshire pudding, what is it? Or maybe a meringue, because I’m scared of separating egg yolk from egg white.
If you were a baked good, what would you be?
I think a Battenberg cake. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’m partly wearing pink today. And they’re not for everyone, but they can surprise you.
How does this compare, in terms of pressure, to Strictly?
This, for me, felt a lot less stressful. This is such a homely vibe, we’re in the countryside, we’re in a tent, which reminds me of home. Not that we lived in a tent. But we used to have little bake sales at village fetes and stuff. I’m in the same boat with the other bakers, we’re all at the same level. And we’re all having a laugh.
Would you rather incur the wrath of Paul Hollywood or Craig Revel-Horwood?
Getting a handshake from Paul would be the same as getting a ten from Craig. They’re both pretty rare, and it’s a big deal. I actually like both of them, they’re really nice guys, but I think I would prefer the wrath of Paul Hollywood than Craig. Craig does still scare me a little bit more than Paul.