Bake Off The Professionals

Q&A with Tom Allen and Liam Charles - Bake Off: The Professionals

Category: Interview, Press Pack Article

What’s it like to be back working with your co-presenter?

Tom: It’s great.   I feel like Liam and I have learned so much and I think we have both grown up together as presenters as we hadn’t really done it before.  And I hope the viewers enjoy us! When the judges are being serious we are finding something to be silly about it off camera, but of course you don’t see that! 

Liam: To be fair it’s always been great working with Tom, it doesn’t ever feel like work at all.  I think the more we do it we get better, it’s well fun and a great journey to be on together.


Did you learn anything new from the teams this year?

Tom:  I would say that I now can distinguish a millefeuille from a custard slice. And this year we have a savoury parsnip and artichoke vegetable slice which we did get to taste…. I didn’t know you could make a cake out of those.

Liam: For a specific challenge one of the teams put a massage oil in the baking -  a weird ingredient that I have never used, but maybe that’s something I might try.

Any crying this series from the teams, and how do you help? Do you cry?

Liam: There is a lot of crying this time round, and I have done Bake Off and I know what it’s like to be in that position, but I feel that I see it from a different perspective now.  So I try to say to them don’t beat yourself up, I feel their pain so I try to spur them on to the next challenge and be positive.

Tom:  There is some crying and I actually learned a lot about myself.  Before I felt that I am not good in dealing with people crying,  but this series I stepped in and tried to help them.  There is a Showpiece that falls apart  and I try and cheer them up and make them laugh.  I hope I did.


Best/worst moment on this series?

Liam: There was a moment when I had my back towards a Showpiece and I heard a crash and then the whole thing was on the floor.  They had spent so much time making it and then gravity takes over and it just drops.  It was a sad moment.

Tom:  I think the best moment was when a particular team that had really struggled, eventually proved they could make it through.  There were times when they thought they wouldn’t make it, but their sheer drive and determination made it work and I thought that was really special.


Could you have ever been a Patissierre in real life…..or even run a bakers shop?

Liam: I guess so I would love my own shop in the future, but at the moment I like just being free with it all and enjoying what I am doing.

Tom:  I would love to have run a shop and I recently had a dream that I could make croissants but of course in the dream I got the recipe wrong.  My pension plan is to run a cake shop by the sea, but I think I would talk too much to the customers and not sell enough cakes.


As you are doing your tour around the Showpieces do you breathe in and make sure you don’t knock anything over?

Liam:  Judging can take a long time, and sometimes Tom and I have a tendency to lean on the workbenches as we are chatting, and we have to really quickly remember that there is a massive Showpiece on the table.

Tom: Absolutely yes, especially with the sugar work it’s so delicate, you can’t even tap the table.  They are definitely as fragile as they look.

What’s the best thing you baked recently?

Liam: A miniature Baked Alaska was really fun – if you were super hungry you could eat it yourself in one go!

Tom:  I recently made some toast which I was really proud of, and I have perfected the timing of scrambled eggs, it’s quite a science but it’s ok I can do it.


Were you naughty or good children?

Liam: I was so well behaved but I talked way too much.  I think I was a pretty good kid.

Tom: I was immaculately behaved as a child, and I was always the kid that mum loved to show off at parties.  On one occasion I was tasked to hand out crisps at an adult party, but then another kid got that task and I was so annoyed I pushed him into a bush.


What’s the cheekiest thing you have done on set? 

Liam: The home economists are always telling me off for eating the teams’ bakes  but you get hungry and the smell on set of baking is gorgeous.    Also when the teams are trying to be serious in interviews I am behind the camera making faces at them, trying to put them off.

Tom:  Liam sprays compressed air in my face on set which is quite annoying but funny, and I have also once told Cherish and Benoit to hurry up and stop the boring chat and just taste it!


Ever pinched a chocolate from the set?

Liam:  100% all the time

Tom:  Constantly. 


Would you say as a personality you are a marshmallow or a nut brittle?

Liam: I don’t think I am a nut brittle – I am a marshmallow with popping candy – because you don’t know what kind of Liam you are going to get.

Tom:  I would like to think of myself as a toasted marshmallow on a spiky fork that has burnt a bit on the outside, but squishy on the inside.


You are both sartorially elegant – what would you say your style is?

Liam: A bit American retro - slightly hipster with a classic shirt and I like snazzy socks.

Tom:  A mixture of Don Draper and Bruce Forsythe?


Would you ever think of doing stand up together?

Tom:  I think Liam could do standup with me, he is very playful with ideas, he is a good storyteller, I think it would suit him.

Liam: This is the thing, I see what Tom says and I think I am funny in spontaneity, but I don’t think I would be good at standup – but it could be good to do with Tom as a one-off  so watch this space.


If you were a cage fighter what would your name be?

Liam: Crumble Buster

Tom:  Fondant Fancy


You have a great on screen relationship is it a genuine friendship off screen too?

Liam: Yeah we talk so much, we are pretty close actually.  We really do help each other a lot literally with everything.

Tom:  Yes it is, we talk a lot when we are not working, we have known each other a long time, and we give good advice to each other.   He has a wise head on young shoulders, he is a deep thinker.


How long would you last without a chocolate cake or a savoury croissant, what would you go for first?

Liam: I will go for chocolate cake and I couldn’t leave it longer than 5 mins

Tom:  I would go for a plain savoury croissant and I wouldn’t last very long, maybe 2 or 3 mins.


If you were on toast what would you be?

Liam: I would be crunchy peanut butter, with cheese and honey  and the bread would have to be granary.

Tom:  I would be avocado with chilli, salt and olive oil dressing with a sprig of coriander, on sourdough please.


What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

Tom:  Don’t worry about anything it’s not going to help you.  Go to more parties and just enjoy yourself and have fun.

Liam: I never thought at 16 I would be in the position I am now, so yes just have a love for life and enjoy it.


Most annoying question you get asked?

Tom:  On this show we always get asked do you eat all the cakes.  That could be 300 in one episode and if I did that I would explode like Mr Creosote.

Liam:  I always get asked are Benoit and Cherish nice, and of course they are – they are genuinely lovely people who are really funny too - and they are my mates.