Music teacher Rowan became the third contestant to leave The Great British Bake Off 2020 after his breads failed to raise any enthusiasm from judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, but he had no regrets: “GBBO has changed my life in many ways.”
The 55-year-old from Worcestershire had a flamboyant sense of style and a whimsical way with time-keeping, earning rebukes from Hollywood over the three weeks.
Not that he had taken it to heart. “I feel very content, I have had a wonderful time. It’s been exhausting but very rewarding,” he said.
Prue commented: “Rowan has been such a character and I am sorry to see him go because he is so ambitious and so imaginative and he put so much thought into his baking.”
Rowan reflected on week three: ‘I started off fairly confident in bread week, I thought it was going to be all right. But the soda breads just didn’t quite cut it. Well, the technical started off bang on, they were as perfect as they could be, but when I had to put them in the boiling water, it all went wrong from there. For my Showstopper I wanted to use Worcestershire cheese which is local, but I had practised with Stilton, so the flavour was different.”
He added: “I usually only bake bread for a special occasion, I would say it’s not my baking forte. But I didn’t mind leaving as someone has to go each week, that’s the nature of the show.”
Despite his exit Rowan felt he “went out on a high” because he had really tried his best with the Showstopper. But of course you are judged overall on all three challenges.
Rowan has been making an evening of it, watching The Great British Bake Off along with the rest of the UK.
“I watch with my partner Paul and friends,” he said. “Each week I have made something, I made a Quince Dacquoise for the first week with the fruit from the garden, for week two I made Rum Babas, and for the third week I made an old favourite a Gateau Vert, using pistachios. It was Monet’s favourite cake of course.”
He revealed his approach to the show: “I just went in being myself. It’s hard to avoid being myself! I wasn’t nervous and very quickly I decided that I just wanted to enjoy it and bake and have fun. That’s my route in life, just go for it. I am not reckless but I am certainly not over cautious as a personality. I just want to enjoy life.”
Rowan enjoyed adding a comedy element to the tent. “Having a bit of banter with Noel and Matt really releases the tension, a bit of a comedy moment in the day breaks it up. They were a lot of fun, and really great. And endless cups of tea of course… And I would absolutely look forward to a gin and tonic at the end of the day. I felt I deserved it.”
Rowan said The Great British Bake Off “made me realise my passion for baking with fellow contestants, and people baking at home. I discovered making my own baking moulds in interesting and decorative shapes. Although it has made me more ambitious to make beautiful and delicious food (requiring far longer than the time allocations in GBBO!)”
The fact he managed to finish his Showstopper on time shocked viewers.
Did….did Rowan just finish in time?! #GBBO
— James Shaddock (@jpshaddock) October 6, 2020
Although that didn’t stop the, mostly, gentle mockery.
"Bakers you time is up!"
*Cut to Rowan weighing out flour #GBBO
— Jenny G (@jenny_garner) October 6, 2020
“I fully intend to keep up with the other bakers, and have even met bakers from previous series. Now being a regular user on social media I’m shameless at keeping in touch with everyone – it’s really good fun and we are all a great support to each other. I am thrilled that viewers have found some of the programme and me amusing!”
In Tuesday’s night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Marc was named Star Baker and Rowan, 55 from Worcestershire was the third baker to leave the tent.
Rowan will join Jo Brand and Tom Allen on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 9 October, Channel 4 at 8pm.