The Rotherham-based 30-year-old only began to bake when he moved from Kolkata to the UK at the age of 23, discovering a world of new flavours and cuisines which have inspired his “east-meets-west” baking style.
“Even five years ago I really had no idea about The Great British Bake Off,” he says. But persistent pressure from one of his colleagues who knew about his fondness for baking led him to throw his hat in the ring.
“He kept sending me the application link, until I said to him that I have started applying,” he says.
Still, he reckons most of his friends and co-workers will be shocked that he’s won a place on the show: “I think pretty much everybody I know will be surprised. They know I bake, but not to the scale that I could enter the tent. Colleagues I knew during my PhD don’t have a clue that I can bake. Back in India I didn’t bake either. All of them and actually myself are surprised that I made it into the tent.
Though he spends a lot of time carefully planning out his more intricate bakes, Rahul concedes that he is not very tidy.
“I am a very messy baker and viewers will see that,” he says. “My flat is quite small and so it’s even messier at home, a bit issue!”
And, if he was to create a new flavour of crisp in the GBBO tent, it would be pilau rice or palak (spinach) paneer.
Rahul’s Bake Off journey
Rahul felt Paul Hollywood’s wrath in Patisserie Week, when he was scolded for not glazing his fruit and creating “hideous” mille feuilles and “boring” eclairs – but he still made it through to the final.
In a major twist for Bake Off 2018’s most consistent contestant, Danish Week proved disastrous for Rahul, who managed to get through to the semi-finals by the skin of his teeth, despite baking raw bread and burnt pancakes.
While Rahul seriously impressed with his showstopper selfie, it wasn’t all high praise for the baker in Biscuit Week – especially when Paul praised how well he’d portrayed his “chubby little face” in biscuit form.
Did Paul Hollywood really just call a #bakeoff contestant’s face chubby? Bit rude! #GBBO