Great Irish Bake Off - Get to know me

Its finally happening on Thursday of this week at 9pm TV3 after months of waiting and anticipating.I have written a blog post to tell you a little about me, and why I applied. 

First off who am I?

I am Will, I was born in Limerick and based in Dublin since 2009. My name comes from my dad's side of the family he is Dutch where as my mum is English born in Luton to Irish parents ( grandmother from Newcastle West and grandfather from Kilkenny). They both met in Spain in the 70's and hay presto I am here as a result. Two things that have remained through out my life is my love for all things sweet and cooking. My earliest sweet memories were coming home from school and while doing my homework my dad giving me a mug of milk, a Crunchie bar and packet of salt n vinegar crisps, I think this is why I love salty stuff with sweet so much. As I grew older through my love of watching cookery shows with my dad I was sure that the life of a chef was for me. I pursued it briefly when I was 16 but soon realised I was too weak to work in a kitchen, and the fat boy was not cut out for the manic life of a chef deciding to fall back on a life in I.T. I crushed my own dream of emulating my dad to study for a degree that would give me a 9 to 5 run of the mill job. I did however continue to cook as a hobby and maybe in that I got to hold on to something I love. My dad throughout my life has said his work is his work, baking and confectionery is not his hobby its his income, a job he stumbled into 48 years ago. Where as I opted out of this life and still enjoy all aspects of cooking and baking. However Joanne my now fiancee lit a fire underneath me 3 years ago and ever since then has been topping it up and encouraging me throughout. She inspired me to re invigorate my love for cooking and baking, also being the catalyst for this blog.

Why I applied?

Its simple Joanne badgered me for weeks on end to apply, apply Will, did you apply yet Will ? Well Well? I will be honest I did it so she would stop giving out to me. One Friday afternoon nearly a year ago I filled out the lengthy application form and thought no more of it. They were never gonna select me, besides I was never going to appear on tv in a million years, email sent, Joanne's badgering over..Phew. I got a few emails after the application to say the usual thank you etc, even a few around Christmas time to say the show had been pushed back and keep baking. I even had a few testing the water phone calls about possible time off by the production team, I still thought no more of it until this March 1st :

First of all, congratulations for getting through to the next stage of auditions for the ‘Great Irish Bake Off’. We’ve had a fantastic response to our call for applications and we’ve been really impressed with the standard of baking we’ve seen on the application forms.

Oh crap! wait wait this is not real this isn't meant to happen this is a joke right... it wasn't. I am not meant to be called, I frantically read through my application form to see what the heck did I write to impress them. Surely this was a formality to weed people like me out. I was called for an audition on the 12th of March where by I had to present a bake of mine, talking the production team and judges through it. I made Zeeuswe Bolus my favourite bread based Dutch pastry. The audition went well I thought but I am not getting through, they want exceptional people here not me. 

Hi Willem,

Congratulations for getting through to the 2nd stage of auditions for the ‘Great Irish Bake Off’ which are taking place on THURSDAY 28THMARCH.  

AHHHHH seriously stop this now, this isn't a joke anymore what the heck are you calling me for, I am really not the person you are looking for here. I of course attended the audition full of all kinds of dread and fear like I have never in my life experienced as the thoughts of "wait maybe I could do this, maybe I could get through but I will need a miracle". I met with the other auditioning people and I started to feel even more nervous. Again the audition went well and I was happy with what I made, this time I drove home after that Thursday on a high cause I thought I nailed it, but better not get cocky here as I might annoy Karma. Days and weeks past then this happened:

Dear Willem,

Congratulations for being selected for the final 12 of the Great Irish Bake Off 2013!

Oh Holy CRAP!!!!! I had done it, I don't know how I did it or what I did to get to the last 12 but I did it. What the heck do they want with me, 1) I am too quiet 2) I am a football stadium full of nerves 3) I am not exactly screen friendly 4) I have zero fashion sense, I don't belong on the telly not me. I tried every thing to convince myself I was not good for this show but there was one person throughout it all like from the very start kicking me up the ass to do it. That's Joanne with out her encouragement I would have never done this and I thank her for being the best support in the world.

With that it brings me back to this week, this week you will see me a 6ft 5 box of nerves grace your tv screens. Yes I was nervous, yes I am still nervous but this has been truly the most amazing thing I have ever done, it was absolutely exhilarating. So tune in this Thursday to see if I some how make it through against 11 other fantastic bakers whom of which frightened the absolute crap out of me at how good they are.

Also I want to say this now, I seem to pronounce baking as bacon for some reason I don't know why either way I love both baking and bacon so its all good :)

Before I go you can stay in touch with us all over twitter:

Jerry ( dont call him Jarek ):

And I nearly forgot the lovely Oonagh Barrett :)

Thank you for reading