The Great British Bake Off 2016 final airs at 8pm this Wednesday 26th October – and Andrew Smyth is one of the three bakers in with a shot of Bake Off glory.
Ahead of the final episode to be shown on the BBC, find out more about the engineering baker – and how his life has changed post-Bake Off.
Why did you apply to be part of The Great British Bake Off?
I’ve been a fan since the first series. I told my friends I’d apply for series six but talked myself out of it – I thought I didn’t have enough experience and didn’t want to make a fool of myself! This year my friends all thought I was bluffing about applying, so that spurred me on!
Who taught you to bake?
My earliest memories of baking are when I was about seven in my gran’s kitchen making her best chocolate cake. It’s a recipe I adore and keep closely guarded! I’ve also helped Mum fill her homemade mince pies for as long as I can remember every Christmas.
How often do you bake?
Two or three times a week for colleagues, my fellow singers at choir or my housemates and friends. I’ve been baking along each week of Bake Off so my friends can try some of the bakes I had to prepare while the series was filming – they’re enjoying playing the roles of Paul and Mary!
How big is your kitchen?
My housemates would say I have far too many kitchen gadgets for my own good! I definitely have the lion’s share of cupboard space.
What was your biggest high and low on the show?
The biggest low was definitely week six for botanicals. Nothing quite came together: I genuinely thought I was going home. The contrast coming into week seven was incredible – I was thrilled to get star baker, it gave me some confidence back.
How did you balance the show with your day job?
I continued my work throughout filming – I was very fortunate to have supportive colleagues and managers who helped me arrange time off for auditions and filming. I’ve been back at work following the show and colleagues now call me and my supervisor “Team BBC”; Sam was a roboteer on this year’s series of Robot Wars!
Has your life changed since the end of Bake Off?
I’m still getting used to being recognised in the street and I’ve never been more conscious of what’s in my shopping basket. I absolutely want to do more baking, be that on TV, maybe a book or just having fun mixing the creativity of engineering with the alchemy of baking!
As if you needed reminding, The Great British Bake Off final is on 8pm tonight, BBC1