Wednesday, 12 September 2018
The Great British Bake Off: The third baker leaves the tent
In Tuesday’s night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Rahul was named Star Baker for the second week and Antony, 29, was the third baker to leave the tent.
Banker Antony’s first Bread Week challenge of Chelsea Buns caught him out on numbers, he struggled to rise to the Technical of Garlic Naan, and the Tiered Korovai finished him off.
“Bread has never been my strongest baking strength. The first bread that I baked was only this January, so I am a relative newcomer to it. I went into that tent pretty nervous knowing this, and without enough practice. So I was fully aware this could be the week that I was going to go.
“Although I knew bread week might be my doomsday, I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. To have met the most amazing bakers and made new best friends has been incredible for me. Also the whole production team behind the programme helped make this an amazing three weeks of my life.
“Putting the sign of the cross on a Chelsea bun as a prayer didn’t work, there was no saving grace for me! The stress of the tent changes you completely as a person, you are so concentrating on the bake in hand, that I couldn’t think of the maths when counting the Chelsea buns, it’s madness I know! But you forget you are being filmed, and I forgot about the day job.
“The judges were great and I really wanted to impress them both the same. Paul prowling around the tent made me stupidly nervous as he is the Bread King, so that wrecked my nerves as I wanted to try my best in bread week.
“The region I am from in India we make rotis, which are simple flat breads, and not naan breads. So where I am from nobody would make naan bread, so it was all new to me.
“My best bit was biscuit week when Paul said it was a melt in the mouth regional biscuit (Chilli Jam Goosnargh Cookies) and Prue came back for second helpings. My worst bit was leaving, I was really sad to go as I knew it was the end of my baking in the tent with all the other bakers.
“My bond with all the other bakers was superb, and we gelled from the start. More often than not it would be at the bar after a long day of filming - there was definitely a bit of unity at the bar!
“The Himalayas featured a lot in my bakes, as I love the mountains. I love climbing them, and the peace it gives you. Next month I am attempting to climb Mount Elbrus, Europe’s tallest mountain, I am just doing it for myself with a group of friends. It’s something I have really wanted to do, from when I first fell in love with the mountains when I climbed the Himalayas for the first time as a young man.
“The reaction has been wonderful at work, lots of bankers who I didn’t think would be interested in baking have really got involved in the show. I have turned them from football watchers into bake off watchers, so I am pretty chuffed with that.
“It’s unexpected to think that bankers make good bakers, but maybe because it’s something we do to relax and unwind at the end of a busy working day. To be at home in your own kitchen, where you don’t have the time constraints of the tent or Paul and Prue judging you, it’s stress free and pure enjoyment!
“My family in India are pretty elated about the whole experience. They are so proud of me, and the support and love that I have had from India through family and even social media has been immense, a huge ego boost.
“Each week while the show has been airing I have made a challenge from each week - biscuits, wagon wheels, and a cake - and I will continue to bake along with the show each week.
“I will carry on baking, I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I know it will include baking.
The smile doesn’t go away, it just gets bigger, I can’t believe I was still smiling as I finished the bake as I felt an emotional wreck.
Antony will join Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 14 September Channel 4 at 8.00 pm.
Describing himself as a “Bollywood baker, Antony grew up in India, where he learned to bake with his father. It is his father who remains his inspiration – it’s thanks to him that Antony got serious about baking. Antony’s adventurous attitude to flavour profiling is the result of a willingness to try new foods, his determination to ask probing questions of established bakers, and – in particular – his cultural roots and his travels around the world. His bold, inquisitive nature has enabled him to collect ideas and techniques that he is unafraid to use in his own creations, making his bakes at times unconventional and always interesting. He takes his research very seriously: he once tasted 50 choux buns during a single trip to Paris.