The Great British Bake Off 2017 bakers: Stacey Hart
Day job: Former school teacher
What do you need to know about Stacey?
Ex-teacher Stacey is from Hertfordshire where she lives with her husband James and three young sons. “I really fancied a challenge and wanted to do something for myself having given up my career to become a mum 10 years ago,” she told the Jewish Chronicle ahead of her debut on the C4 series.
Stacey began baking when she was a little girl and has fond memories of helping her grandmother Phyllis make bread and butter pudding for her father but it wasn’t until her university days that she took her hobby seriously. Nowadays she’s known among her friends as a prolific baker: “I always take round a bake or two whenever I go to friends’ houses.”
Stacey is a firm believer in the restorative qualities of sweet treats. “Eleven years ago someone close to me was going through a very tough time and I used to bake cakes and biscuits for her. It was then that I realised baking can put a smile on peoples’ faces and so I did it more and more. I like making people happy.”
What is her baking style?
Stacey incorporates her Jewish heritage into her bakes, whipping up a traditional homemade Challah to go with every Friday night dinner, and sometimes adding her own showstopping twist:
She’s also a self-confessed perfectionist and nothing leaves her home kitchen unless she is totally satisfied with it. Will she be able to meet her own high standards in the pressure cooker that is the Bake Off tent? Only time will tell…
Oh, and she’s totally on board with the baking innuendos. So she fits right in.
How well is Stacey doing in The Great British Bake Off?
The first couple of episodes were a bit ropey for poor Stacey.
Although she escaped leaving the tent, her name certainly came up when Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith were discussing who to send home.
She got off to a bad start, then came 11th in the technical challenge – and followed this up with a ‘Black Evening Clutch Bake’ Cake for her Showstopper, which looked pretty amateurish, tasted dry, and left the judges disappointed.
In Biscuit Week things went similarly wrong. Despite climbing to 9th in the Technical, she failed to impress with her marshmallow fluff cookies (even though they were sparkly!) or her biscuit board game.
It was in Bread Week that Stacey really redeemed herself. Although she narrowly missed out on Star Baker, Paul and Prue were really impressed by her Cranberry and Cinnamon Teacakes and her Ascot Hat Bread Sculpture, and she even came first in the Technical Challenge.
Stacey was in the middle of the pack for Caramel Week, but rose to the occasion in Pudding Week, become one of three bakers to earn a Hollywood Handshake.
Pastry Week was a different matter, and Stacey was close to the exit before Julia was sent home instead. Italian Week too saw Stacey struggle in the heat, but still she continues to make it through.