In the end, it was about who could keep their cool in the heat of the final, and nobody in The Great British Bake Off has been cooler than 2017 winner Sophie Faldo.
The former Army officer triumphed in the Bake Off final on Tuesday night, beating fellow finalists Steven Cater-Bailey and Kate Lyon.
Before the final aired, Sophie had told Radio Times how her Army training came in handy when competing in the Bake Off tent, and even after being named series champion she seemed to take the win in her stride.
“I do keep my emotions under control, so there wasn’t really a point in the tent that I would burst into tears,” Sophie said after winning. “It wasn’t going to happen at the end of the final either, because if anything it was a relief. If I hadn’t won it I would have been so annoyed at myself that I didn’t get it right. I tend in baking to strive for perfection, with a kind of military precision and I want it to all work out perfectly. I like my bakes to look beautiful.”
Sophie may have been calm and collected, but judge Paul Hollywood admitted he shed a tear after naming her Bake Off champion.
“Can I be honest? I got a little bit emotional there because Sandi [Toksvig] got a bit emotional so I walked off quite quickly and said it’s the wind in my eye,” Paul said. “It’s been a real learning curve for Sophie. To come up with that Entremet for the Final; I was really shocked at the standard.”
The final saw the three remaining bakers confront a small breads signature, an iced biscuit technical and an elaborate, showstopping Entremet.
Judge Prue Leith, who before the episode aired apologised after accidentally revealing the winner on Twitter, said that Sophie was a worthy winner: “Sophie seems very calm but she’s not that confident, possibly because she knows everybody else has more experience than her. I am so proud of her. I am really proud of all of them.”
Sophie herself said that she was yet to work out what she will do following her victory, but would like to write a book on patisserie in the future.
She said, “I am sure it will sink in but it hasn’t quite yet. The idea of winning was such a minute possibility. I don’t think I will forget this day for as long as I live. I have met some brilliant people and I got to the Final. It is beyond anything I have dreamed of. What a privilege.”
Sophie added, “It would be wonderful to write a Patisserie book, but let’s see what comes my way. I would like to try travelling the world for inspiration for starters!”
Bake Off 2017 began ten weeks ago, and has proved remarkably successful following its move to Channel 4 from the BBC. Winner Sophie praised the winning line-up, calling Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding “a fabulous pairing”.
Winner Sophie will appear alongside all this year’s bakers on Bake Off spin-off An Extra Slice with Jo Brand this Thursday 2nd November at 10pm on Channel 4. Meanwhile, applications for The Great British Bake Off 2018 are already open.