“I moved to the UK just over three years ago and shortly after I arrived, I started watching Bake Off,” she explains. “I was a big fan and I quickly got hooked. I realised that is what I wanted I to do. I had a plan to apply but only after I had practised and practised. And so I have practised for three years to reach a good standard. I also wanted to make sure that when I entered the tent, whatever challenge they threw at me that first week, I’d know what to do!”
The stakes are high for Julia, because she has already quit her job so she can spend all her time on the Great British Bake Off. She says: “As soon as I heard, I quit my job. I was working as a broker organising and finding private jets for clients. I knew I had to leave, as I knew I would not be focused 100 per cent anymore.”
What is Julia’s baking style?
Don’t expect a lot of Siberian influence in Julia’s baking, because she is keen to cook for a British audience. “I didn’t want to bake a cake with weird stuff nobody had heard of,” she says. “I tweaked things to show I was different but I didn’t want to go over the line.”
How well is she doing in The Great British Bake Off?
Walking into the tent for the first time was an “unbelievable” moment, Julia says. “Unless you have been in the tent, it’s such a difficult thing to explain what you go through but oh my goodness, you do feel emotional. Everything takes over. And it was also just so nerve-wracking. I never normally bite my nails but I literally ate my hands and fingers throughout that first day!”
She needn’t have worried, ending Cake Week as one of the frontrunners despite her curious choice of courgette as an ingredient for her very first Bake Off bake. Her Russian doll showstopper was genius, a cake inside a cake being almost certainly a good idea in the glorious gluttony that is Bake Off.
“That’s the fattest Russian doll I’ve ever seen,” said Paul. We think it was a compliment…
Julia had a pretty average Biscuit Week, with jelly-filled sandwich biscuits which were more fun to wobble than eat, and a successful biscuit board game.