MumsnetGuestBlogs (MNHQ) Tue 22-Oct-13 11:54:25

Great British Bake Off - former finalist gives her verdict, what's yours?

As the three remaining bakers prepare for their final challenge, former finalist Holly Bell dishes out her own awards to each of this year's 13 contestants.

Who's been your favourite this series - and who would you award the ultimate prize of star baker?

Holly Bell

GBBO finalist 2011, blogger at Recipes from a Normal Mum

Posted on: Tue 22-Oct-13 11:54:25

(31 comments )

Lead photo

This year's baking line up - who will be the last one standing?

What a year! Is it me, or is the standard getting terrifyingly high? It's only a matter of time until someone turns out to be a better baker than the judges - and then all hell could break lose. We might see a side to Mary we never knew existed, involving a colourful Zara scarf and a KitchenAid. Mel and Sue will have to break it up.

Anyway, back to this year. The highs, the lows and the awards. I'm not interested in who wins; if it were my competition everyone would get an award. Of sorts.

Award for inappropriate wardrobe: Whatever the weather when filming, GBBO is all about British summer time: it's set in a marquee for goodness' sake. When Ali threw caution to the wind and wore a bobble hat, he blew Bake Off's cover: it's freezing, and a bit of an ordeal baking in a draughty tent. Naughty Ali.

Best use of the colour tangerine: Christine with her delicious marshmallow icing. In fact I'd like to award another award to Christine as the baker who'd be the most sympathetic in the face of baking/boyfriend/hair/menstrual problems. Christine looks like she's seen it all and has a gem of advice for every eventuality. One day I will meet Christine, and ask her about my flat hair woes.

Baker most likely to set middle class male pulses racing: Not only can Lucy bake but she also knows her perennials from her dahlias. Men of a certain age across the country got a little over-excited when lovely Lucy hit our screens. A fair maiden with rosy cheeks, who knows her mind (enjoyed her stubborn refusal to gild her tomato loaf) and can handle a spade or a spatula. Perfect woman.

Award for baker most loved by Dr Who fans: Rob of course. Any man who can fashion cake into a Dalek wins hands down.

There will be books from this year's GBBO lot, probably more than a few – but it's Kimberley's that'll be in my Amazon basket. This girl knows her gluten window from her soft ball stage.


Award for baking innovation that defies current convention: Glenn wins this with his inverted puff pastry. It's a brave man who breaks with the usual 'wrap a load of butter in buttery pastry and roll, fold, roll, rest, fold etc.' It didn't work, but I don't think we should worry about that. It was ballsy and different - and the Bake Off wouldn't be very interesting unless people took risks.

The gone too soon baker: Toby, Toby, Toby, where did you go? I had an inkling you'd be hilarious - surely the producers could have bribed Paul and Mary into keeping you in? Yes, yes, I know: it's not that kind of show.

Contestant most likely to provoke fits of jealousy in others: Oh Frances, (lovely Frances who I have it on good authority is very nice indeed from about 6 million people who claim to know her), must have provoked many a sigh from the others. Can you imagine the moment she placed her squirrel cake at the end of the work station? Amazing.

Award for best use of song and dance between bakes: I know it's all in the edit (goodness, I should know that of all people) but Beca does come across as a bit of a laugh. She passes the pint test. I like her use of song and dance to express her frustrations, happiness, and indeed misery.

Most technically knowledgeable baker by a country mile: There will be books from this year's GBBO lot, probably more than a few – but it's Kimberley's that'll be in my Amazon basket. This girl knows her gluten window from her soft ball stage.

Most heterosexual baker: Mark is a producer's dream of a straight male contestant. Gruff, testosterone soaked, good at thumping and whipping bread (in his own face at times, by his own admission) and looks like he can hold his own in an arm wrestling contest. He's a kitchen fitter to boot. Now that's a manly enterprise and a half.

Award for messiest baker: Ruby's work station always looks most well worn. Being unable to work in a mess myself I hugely respect this. It takes a very calm soul to work in mess, with a camera or three in your face, Paul Hollywood asking loaded 'will this work?' questions, and a comedy assault from Mel and Sue. It must be the philosophy she’s studying. Yogic I tell you.

Most counter-intuitive real life profession: I get how a gardener needs cake - it's cold outside and cake keeps you warm along with your flask of tea. I get how a teacher needs cake; kids are incredibly annoying at times, especially other people's, so seek solace in sugar. But a dentist? Here’s hoping Deborah follows her own advice, and both brushes and flosses after cake.

Award for broadening the mind of Mary: All Howard wanted to do was recreate some hempy bakes he'd eaten from his favourite tofu-touting health food shop. He certainly wasn't trying to draw attention to himself. Cut to Mary's 'what's hemp?' question. I'm hoping, for all our sakes, that Mary’s shock and surprise was genuine and not a cover up for a little secret. I want Mary pure as a Victoria Sponge.

Who do you think deserves a #GBBO award? Share your hopes (or fears) for tonight's Great British Bake Off final on the thread below!

By Holly Bell

Twitter: @hollybellmummy

edam Tue 22-Oct-13 23:05:35

Yay, Frances!

Stuff just before the credits said Ruby got a first in her exams - wonder which year she's in?

daughterofafarmer Wed 23-Oct-13 07:39:29

Go Franics!!

Ruby was in her 1st yr at Uni.

outtolunchagain Wed 23-Oct-13 09:55:57

Holly is the mystery blogger , there is a pic of her on the main site

PrincessKitKat Wed 23-Oct-13 18:34:00

Thanks outtolunch - posting from a phone so no pic smile

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