This evening Frances Quinn was crowned the fourth winner of The Great British Bake Off. After a tip-off, RadioTimes.com put a call in this afternoon…
Thank you very much. My stomach is in complete knots right now.
But you already know how tonight’s episode ends…
Yes, and in about three hours it’ll be official. Until now I’ve been under the radar!
Have you been following the frenzy on Twitter and Facebook?
I can’t keep up. It’s absolutely off the scale what’s going on out there. I wish I could thank everyone individually.
Talk us through that eventful weekend. Had you done much practice?
We were only told the brief after the semi-final so we hardly had any time to even think, let alone prepare for it. I’ve never known nerves quite like it. My hands were literally shaking. The producers were like, “we’ve never seen you this nervous”.
The first bake: a piece of cake?
Although it didn’t go perfectly, what was really nice was that they absolutely loved the flavours and the substance for once.
But the technical didn’t go to plan…
No! That was probably the worst technical of the whole series for me. I love pretzels but I could not get the shape right. As Paul said: they’re a lovely shape but they’re in no way a pretzel!”
Why a Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding cake?
My cakes are never traditional so I wanted to stay away from fondant if possible. And I love using as many natural ingredients as I can. In the process I think I broke a Bake Off record and shut down a farmer’s market.
How did you feel when you heard your name?
It was the longest minute I’ve ever known. When you watch these shows and you’re like “surely it’s not that long?” But it was. I think I’d hoped for so, so long and I’d got so close, my mind shut down every emotion: I was numb.
Has it sunk in yet?
I don’t think it has. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to keep it a complete secret. I remember getting quite emotional watching the Wimbledon final – which was the weekend after the Bake Off final – but also thinking: at least Andy Murray doesn’t have to hide the trophy under his bed for the next three months. The other day I had my radiator changed and suddenly thought: oh god, the plumber might see it glinting under there!
Who knew it was there?
Only very, very close friends. Other than that I’ve had to wear my Lady Gaga-esque Poker Face. The mask can finally come off. I feel I could be in the MI5 after this training.
Have you had a break from baking?
I did have a bit of a baking sabbatical – probably about two days – to tidy the kitchen! I was looking forward to eating properly because I’d been subsisting on a diet of chocolate ganache, even raw pastry at times!
Where are you watching it tonight?
With family and friends in London. I might be rocking in the corner or several glasses of bubbles to settle my nerves…
I don’t want to have to choose between baking and design; I want to collaborate and do something new on the baking scene because I know it’s an over-saturated market. That’s what’s been the loveliest thing: people have said how inspiring my bakes have been.
Have you kept in touch with everybody else?
Yes, we’re all very much in touch: constantly texting, speaking on the phone and supporting one another. We’re all going to get together this weekend, which will be lovely.