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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


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

jellyfl00d Tue 22-Oct-13 15:00:38

I would love Ruby to win, she is all about substance and less about show which is what it's about for me. She'll get there with the presentation. I'd rather something taste fantastic and look slightly less fantastic!

Sonnet Tue 22-Oct-13 15:08:29

Kimberley for me!

waikikamookau Tue 22-Oct-13 15:35:16

I am pretty sure Kimberley is the best, though francis is a close second. and a third for Ruby for technically I dont think is so good. such amazing bakers, such high standards.

waikikamookau Tue 22-Oct-13 15:36:07

an eye opener this series that they let on that they practice all week, I am sure that hasn't been revealed in previous series. I was under the impression it was consecutive days, rather than weekends.

mignonnetteZOMBIEKILLEROFHQ Tue 22-Oct-13 16:07:40

I want Kimberley to win. I dislike how she has been depicted by the production team.

However have been very disappointed with the editing and 'story boarding' this year. Carry on like this GBBO and you will kill your golden goose. There was no need to mess with the formula. It was a winner as it was.

TerrorMeSue Tue 22-Oct-13 16:21:01

Ruby all the way. Properly talented, not just well studied smile.

cocoleBOO Tue 22-Oct-13 16:37:16

Kimberly should win. But I wanted it to be Becca sad

MollyMango Tue 22-Oct-13 16:48:37

I don't mind out of Kimberly or Frances - I like them both for their individual merits. Kimberly technically very good, Frances' presentation is amazing!

Really don't like Ruby - she comes across as really fake.

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 22-Oct-13 17:02:21

Kimberley to win. Please God don't let Ruby win (although she will). I don't go for all the Hollywood fancies her crap but she doesn't know her arse from her elbow.

mamij Tue 22-Oct-13 17:15:04

I'd be happy of either Kimberly or Frances too.

Kimberly seems to really know her stuff and seems like a lovely person. I love that Frances is so modest and down to earth despite producing amazing bakes! Even though she's had heaps of praise, haven't been convinced by Ruby. And agree with Gwen that Ruby will end up winning hmm

catsrus Tue 22-Oct-13 17:29:14

Kimberly or Frances for me too - but I do have a feeling it might be Ruby... OTOH her bakes might truly actually TASTE amazing.

Draculasbride Tue 22-Oct-13 17:35:41

Well I'm team Ruby! I think a lot of people think she's fake but I think she's just genuinely not a very confident person and her bakes almost always taste great which is what counts in my book.
Love Frances too she's amazing, Kimberley is too smug for me I just wanna slap her most of the time confused

MotherOfSoupDragon Tue 22-Oct-13 17:39:44

I think Kimberley will win, but personally I think she seems a little smug at times. I would have liked Glenn or Christine to win, although I know Glenn wasn't up to it. Out of the three finalists I would like Frances to win, because her creations are beautiful and I hope she can please Paul all round at last smile

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 22-Oct-13 17:47:28

I agree the standards so high and to be honest it puts me off.

The earlier series I enjoyed more as I felt inspired to actually go and attempt one of the recipes. I don't feel that way now. For me its going more the way of a reality/competition show like Strictly rather than a baking show.

themonsteratemyspacebar Tue 22-Oct-13 17:58:21

Anybody but Ruby! I love Frances' talent for style of the cakes. They always look amazing.
Doubt she will win though as it is substance over style unfortunately.
Got a feeling in my gut its gonna be Ruby though sad

Can't wait to watch it!
cake all round! grin

saintmerryweather Tue 22-Oct-13 18:08:35

i really hope its kimberley, shes been consistently good

bigwellylittlewelly Tue 22-Oct-13 18:47:15

I think Ruby or Kimberly will win. Can't stand either of them.

I loved Beca, but I think Frances' presentation and ability are super and now Beca is out she has my vote.

quietbatperson Tue 22-Oct-13 19:07:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StainlessSteelBegonia Tue 22-Oct-13 19:13:57

Kimberley should win. smile

vitalmum Tue 22-Oct-13 19:59:05

The right 3 in the final in my opinion. Hoping they'll all produce their best baking. Ruby is a good cook - she's just surprised the judges can see it even when she doesn't think she's done a good job (ie what she's capable of), Kimberley is a practised cook and knows what she's doing (lovely smile too!), Frances has really improved and I think she'll bake something tasty as well as beautiful in the final. Not long now till we know!

annielewis Tue 22-Oct-13 20:19:56

Oh FFS they're going to bloody give it to Ruby aren't they!

Jollyb Tue 22-Oct-13 20:56:03


PrincessKitKat Tue 22-Oct-13 22:20:45

Hooray for Frances! A worthy winner!

Does anyone else suspect Katherine from 2012 is the guest blogger? She was my favourite smile

KCumberSandwich Tue 22-Oct-13 22:44:00

Hip Hip Hooray for Frances! I loved her individuality and creativity, and how she could take a compliment without being smug, and take criticism with a smile. Kimberley was technically best, Ruby had wonderful flavours, Frances brought a bit of everything to the table so a well deserved winner.

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