Well there you have it the Great Irish Bake Off has come to an end and we have a well deserved champion in Stephen Chisholm. I want to congratulate him on winning the title, he was from day one just brilliant. When I landed at Clonabreany house the minute I met Stephen and spoke to him I knew he was gonna be a tough nut to crack, and if I was to win the show I would have to beat him along the way. His knowledge is incredible as well as his skill and talent. Today he deserved the win, his petit fours were pretty damn good and his gingerbread castle was captivating. It was also good fun, sorry I needed to say that as outside the tent that's Steve's catchphrase.
Now for Maryanne, she is a terrific baker and excels in sugar work decoration. Maryanne's Georgian door cake was so perfectly finished on the day as well as the fact she was so damn good through out the show. It was an honor to share the tent with both Stephen and Maryanne in the final. Now for me, I enjoyed the last episode a lot, I wish I had done better in the petit fours technical as I think I might have had a chance going in to the final showstopper at winning the competition. I did however try to pull out all the stops with my lighthouse, it was my first time making it fully because we did only receive the brief about 2-3 days before the final so it was a miracle it all worked. The cake I made was in honor of Hook Lighthouse and incorporated as many technical elements as possible. I made genoese, Italian meringue, and tempered chocolate, I if anything was extremely proud of my finished cake.Overall I am happy I got so far and managed to avoid the dreaded elimination, naturally of course I would have loved to win the show but it eluded me unfortunately.
Since the minute I went to my first interview this bake off experience has been a roller coaster non stop, and it has given me the best year ever. It has allowed me as a person to grow, it has given me the ability to present and talk in front of large audiences. Most of all it cemented my relationship with my fianceé Joanne, she has been incredible. Over everything and anyone I thank her first she has stood by me through everything, she has seen my highs and lows in practice, she has been there every step of the way. I may have not won the bake off but I won the greatest prize of all and that's Joanne's hand in marriage. We are getting married in Clonabreany House one year after the bake off final was recorded in May 2014, we both cannot wait!
My highlights from the bake off come in many forms so here are a few:
- I got to bake on a TV show thats got to be number 1.
- I met 11 great like minded people who make stunning food.
- I learned how to play the spoons card game with Tom.
- Jerry (you know him as Jarek) singing "Just give me a reason" by Pink in the tent every day.
- I got to meet Anna Nolan, everyone asks me what she is like and I tell them she is such a legend, its cool meeting someone you admire from TV and they turn out to be what you hoped.
- Working with Odlums at their roadshows, great craic was had.
- Finishing on 7 as its my lucky number. The amount of cake to eat was spectacular!
Finally I want to thank everyone who has supported me be it in person, Twitter, Facebook, Boards.ie and my blog. It means so much to me I cannot express how happy it makes me. I have seen my blog views skyrocket since May 2013 where my average for a month was 4500 views to now 19000 views last month. I hope to keep blogging and bringing you good recipes but I might lay off the baking for a while I have reviews, and savoury recipes to write that have backed up. I suppose I guess you want to know what's next for me ? well I can tell you I have no immediate plans on the horizon, I would love to teach baking but thats the dream along with many other things. Who knows these dreams might somehow become reality somewhere along the way. My past four years in Dublin still seem like a dream to me if someone said to me in January 2009 when I was just made redundant from Dell "Will, over these next 4 years you are going to lose 12 stone in weight, move to Dublin, have two strokes, meet the girl of your dreams, run a blog, and then compete in a televised baking competition" I would have laughed in their face. However it goes to show dreams can happen.
Last thing if you are in Dublin city this Saturday come see me and Stephen bake lots of lovely cakes in Arnotts all in aid of charity. We will be on the lower ground floor in the kitchenware section, its free and will be great craic. It will be on from 12-5pm so bring the kids and stay for some of the sessions. We are starting with a croquembouche, then breads and finishing with macarons.
That's it thank you for watching us for the past 8 weeks.