The Great British Bake Off’s youngest ever contestant Martha Collison has some words of wisdom for 19-year-old baking hopeful Liam Charles: be confident – and don’t let your age hold you back.
Liam has battled with nerves since the beginning of this year’s series, freaking out over his mistakes and second-guessing his decisions. But he has frequently impressed judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood and finally became Star Baker in Pastry Week.
“I think he just needs to have confidence in himself, because he’s done so well,” Martha, who competed in the Bake Off at the tender age of 17, tells RadioTimes.com.
“I remember feeling that I wanted to prove that young people could really be good at things and be as good as older people. And as soon as I’d got through the first couple of weeks, I thought, ‘Actually, I can do this’.
“I think he’s done us proud. He’s done amazingly and he’s just one of the most skilled bakers in that tent, and it just shows that age doesn’t limit you in any way.”
Looking back on her own time on the Bake Off, Martha says: “I think I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t quite have the years of experience, because the other bakers that I was on with were really brilliant and if they’d been baking for 60 years then they were obviously going to have more experience than me.
“But I think when you’re a young person you can bring other things to the table. You’re sometimes more on top of different trends and different flavours and things like that.”
Still, even though she feels that connection with Liam, Martha’s money is on Sophie Faldo for the win.
“Sophie will just pip Steven [Carter-Bailey] to the title,” she predicts. “He is amazing – but I feel like she might pull it out of the bag at the end.”
Since she competed in The Great British Bake Off in 2014 (“I can’t believe that it’s been three years!”) Martha has become a food writer and launched two cookbooks, Crave and Twist.
At the age of 21 she has now come up with a series of “Ad Bakes”, taking advantage of the ad breaks now Bake Off has moved to Channel 4 to come up with quick four-minute recipes.
“You’ve got to do something in them, whether that’s make a cup of tea– or what I’ve been doing is challenging myself to make these really quick recipes,” she says.
Martha’s Ad Bakes are created in partnership with British Gas.