The Great British Bake Off 2017 final: Steven reveals how he kept his appearance secret

The baking star says he had to visit a myriad of shops to hide the massive amount of flour and egg he was buying in order to practise his bakes

(Radio Times Shoot wk44 2017, TL)

Why did you apply to be on The Great British Bake Off?

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I made a cake for a charity bake at work and a colleague took it round saying, “This was made by Steven, he’s applied for Bake Off.” After that I thought, “I’m going to have to now, aren’t I?” But it wasn’t until right before applications were about to close that I built up the courage – after a couple of drinks. My other half said, “Oh stop talking about it and just do it!” Sometimes I need a bit of coercing.

Who taught you to bake?

My mum, Judi, taught me the basics over 25 years ago. My earliest baking memory is making a lemon drizzle cake with her. She had four children and never bought a cake – one year someone got a Colin the Caterpillar on their birthday and it was really disappointing.

How often do you bake?

Two or three times a week. I have a football team of nieces and nephews, so I spend a lot of my spare time making superhero characters or princess castles out of fondant.

Happy Days: the final four bakers (Sophie, Kate, Stacey and Steven – RT shoot week 44 2017, TL)
Happy Days: the final four bakers (Sophie, Kate, Stacey and Steven)

What is your kitchen like?

My little box kitchen is my equivalent of a man cave! It’s only 8ft by 8ft, but I have crammed it with gadgets and weird baking paraphernalia to the point where making a coffee is a challenge. During Bake Off it got completely trashed – we had to replace the oven halfway though!

How much did you practise?

I was a big practiser. My first signature, the Bonfire Night cake, I practised ten times; it was worth it, I got a Paul handshake! But I had to balance doing the show with work and also didn’t want everyone in my village to realise, so I had to limit how many times I tested bakes.

I have four supermarkets near me and I kept going to different ones so the people on the till wouldn’t clock that I was buying kilo after kilo of flour and eggs by the ten-dozen… The people in my local shop only realised it was me yesterday!

How many Paul handshakes did you get?

I got two coveted handshakes and each one was incredibly special. Although Paul did say to me, “You’ve set your own bar higher than everybody else’s,” and it was a lot of pressure maintaining that. I almost feel I should have screwed up in the first week. Although a couple of the other contestants told me I pushed them to try harder, which was nice to hear.

Has life changed since Bake Off?

I went straight back to work and tried to find normality again… But I’m still looking!

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The Great British Bake Off 2017 final is on Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4