There are some tough cookery shows on TV these days, but Bake Off: the Professionals has to be the most testing.
That’s all down to Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin, the show’s resident judges. They have been on the show since day one and won’t cut the bakers any slack. If your miniature sponge is 1cm too long, Cherish will notice (seriously, she brings a ruler to work). If your sugar glaze is too sweet, Benoit will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
The Great British Bake Off’s sister show, presented by Liam Charles and Tom Allen, is back for a fifth series this month, with a new batch of brave teams ready to put their professional futures on the line. Can any of them impress Cherish and Benoit? Or at least avoid a telling off?!
Here’s everything you need to know about the most formidable judges on telly…
Who is Cherish Finden?
Originally from Singapore, Cherish began cooking for her family at a young age and soon realised she would like to take it up professionally. She worked at some of Singapore’s most prestigious hotels, including the six star Raffles Hotel, before moving to London in 2001. In her first year in a new city she won ‘Dessert of the Year’, a competition that she now judges.
Cherish worked as Executive Pastry Chef at the Langham Hotel in the British capital and has won numerous international awards and medals for her tasty creations. She was even part of the Singapore team that won a gold medal at the 2000 Culinary Olympics in Germany.
So with such an incredible CV, it’s unsurprising that she doesn’t settle for second best. Cherish is known for her frank critiques of the contestants, which have caused a few tears along the way, but she simply can’t tolerate anything that’s not perfect. That’s why she gets her ruler out to check the size of even the smallest bakes.
At least you know that if she compliments your food it really must be outstanding!
Cherish also makes a special effort to make sure the challenges are testing but not unfair – she tries them out at home before each series begins so that she knows it’s possible to complete them to a good standard in the allotted time.
Who is Benoit Blin?
Frenchman Benoit has worked as a Chef Pâtissier at Raymond Blanc’s two star Michelin restaurant for over 20 years. If that wasn’t enough to convince you he knows his stuff, he’s also achieved the title of MCA (Master of Culinary Arts) – which is only awarded every four years to the best pastry chefs in the UK and is seen as the industry’s highest accolade.
Benoit is also something of an experienced judge – as well as appearing in the previous series of this show, he’s judged prestigious events such as the UK Pastry Open, UK and European Sugar Championships, National Chef of the Year, British Culinary Federation Chef Competition and the Master of Culinary Arts Finals. The contestants would certainly be foolish not to take his criticism on board.
Benoit is passionate about pastry and will not accept excuses if he tastes anything that isn’t up to scratch. Cherish has the reputation for being the harsher judge but you wouldn’t want to present a burnt meringue to Benoit either, trust us!
Although Benoit has not yet made it onto Instagram, you can find him on Twitter.
What is Bake Off: The Professionals? When is it back on TV?
The series, formerly called Bake Off: Creme de la Creme, is the sister show of The Great British Bake Off.
Instead of testing home bakers, this spin-off series welcomes the country’s most eminent pastry chefs and pushes them to their limits. Teams of two chefs represent hotels, cookery schools and culinary institutions and bravely put their professional reputations on the line. The challenges demand delicate, uniform, gorgeously presented petit fours and the judges will accept nothing less than perfection – so expect a few meltdowns when things go awry!
It has now been confirmed that the show will return to our screens on Tuesday 26th May, as announced on Twitter:
Yes, chef! Bake Off: The Professionals is back.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) May 13, 2020
Bake Off: The Professionals airs on C4 at 8pm on Tuesday 26th May. To find out what’s on TV tonight, check out our TV Guide.