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Donal Skehan

Interview With A Great British Baker!

The lovely Edd Kimber, winner of the first season of The Great British Bake Off, kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the blog.¬† If you’re a fan of the show, he gives us a bit of info on just what goes on backstage and let’s us in on his favourite part of writing his new cookbook, The Boy Who Bakes, which has just been released in the UK and Ireland…

First off a massive congratulations on winning the first series of The Great British Bake Off, for anyone who doesn’t watch the show, can you tell us a little about the sort of pressure you are put under during the filming process?

It’s a fairly fast turnaround to film the show. We filmed it over about 6 weeks filming mainly on weekends. We would be given between 4-6 days to come up with and test recipes for the next show which for me meant trying to fit in the baking around my full time job, so I had a lot 1am finishes! Filming days are actually very long, sometimes up to 15 hours and most of that time is spent sitting around and waiting so it could get boring but thankfully we had a great group of contestants to chat with so even though it could be stressful it was still enjoyable.

The hardest part was juggling baking with a camera being pointed at you constantly with a producer asking you questions which is quite off putting. The most nerve wracking part for me was when we sat waiting to hear the result, my legs often started shaking! But really it sounds (and looks) more stressful than it actually was, I loved filming the series, it was actually a lot of fun!

Since watching the show this year, it’s obvious tensions are all running fairly high during filming, behind the scenes was there any major clashes amongst the contestants?

Haha, I actually think the tension is a bit more a result of the dramatic music and good editing! We as a group got on really well and it was generally a lovely atmosphere to work in, we actually bonded quite well and were hoping the best for each other, too English for words really!

Clearly a hell of a lot of food is produced on a show like the Great British Bake Off, do you get a chance to try everyone else’s bakes?

There was always food around but unfortunately the crew tasted more than we did, they loved it! You could see them waiting for the judging to be over so they could grab a bit of cake! The contestants were normally whisked off for more interviews and by the time we were finished often the food had all gone, so unfortunately we survived on bad TV catering and supermarket sandwiches.

Edd Kimber winning The Great British Bake Off 2010

Apart from food blogging, did you have any other experience in the big bad world of food?

No in fact to be on the show you couldn’t have any professional experience. I did come from quite a foodie family though. Everyone in my family cooks and my uncles are butchers and my grandfather used to run markets across the north of England selling cooked meats and biscuits so it definitely runs in my blood.

Do you think being an active food blogger helped your confidence in taking part in the competition?

I’m not sure… it gave me confidence, I was a pretty shy guy when I entered, the show actually kicked it out of me and gave me a lot of confidence. It did however get me on the show because a friend who read my blog and followed me on twitter sent me the application and it was these people who convinced me I was good enough to go for it.

Of all the different baking challenges you were set, which one were you most worried about?

Bread! At the time I was really inexperienced with bread and was so nervous about that week but thankfully I managed to pull it out of the bag and to my surprise did really well that week, Paul Hollywood even nicked some of my focaccia and apparently passed it off as his own at a dinner party!

What would you say the best skill you learned from taking part in a TV show like the Great British Bake Off is?

The Bake Off definitely gave me the confidence and self belief I needed, it made me believe I could do what I loved as a career and that’s definitely the best thing I could have asked for.

Different cookery authors all enjoy different parts of producing a cookery book, what was the best part of making yours?

I honestly loved it all coming up with recipes was what I’d dreamed off and then seeing it slowly turn into a tangible book was amazing! But the photography had to be my favourite part. I don’t profess to be a great photographer but I love doing it, so getting the chance to watch a real pro take my food and turn it into beautiful pictures was absolutely thrilling to me

Where do you find most of your inspiration for the things you cook comes from?

I seem to get inspired everywhere, in fact I carry a notebook on me at all times incase I need to jot an idea down. Travel is a big influence – trips to Paris, New York and Canada played quite a part in the book. But family is also a huge inspiration, many of the recipes in the book were inspired by family recipes or ideas that my family would love to try and I was especially happy to put recipes by my Nanna in the book as they are so personal to me.

Clearly baking is your fort√©, but a man has gotta’ eat, what would an every day dish after a long day at work be for the boy who bakes?

My Boyfriend is a brilliant cook so anything made by him is always delicious but I love comfort food and I always think a really good ragu is something I could eat and eat and eat!

Edd’s book, The Boy Who Bakes, is in all good bookshops now and can also be ordered via Amazon…