This year, Richard Burr made headlines as the builder who bakes. We caught up with him to find out how he fitted his baking practice around his full-time job, and why a hot tent nearly spelled disaster…
What was your best moment in Bake Off – which bake were you happiest with?
One of my best moments in Bake Off was when Paul first tasted my Swiss roll and said I was in the wrong job. Being the first show, everything was unknown and I had no idea what he was going to say - that was the last thing I expected to hear!
What do you think was your biggest disaster?
My Dobos Torte was my biggest disaster. I'd originally made it at home and kept the cakes in the fridge and the sugar work out. However, on that hot day I had to put the sugar work on the cake and keep the whole thing out of the fridge - and it melted. I was extremely lucky to make it through that week!
What were the cooking conditions of Bake Off like compared to your kitchen?
The tent was much more stressful as I never cook with a non-negotiable deadline and a bunch of professional judges at home. On the other hand, having your own professional washer-upper didn't take long to get used to!
Have you baked much since you stopped filming?
Yes, constantly. I've learnt so much from the show that I now have a wider repertoire of things to bake and I look forward to making them.
Who did you feel was pulling out all the stops on the show?
I really felt that Luis pulled out all the stops. All his bakes were so intricately designed. He's a man who really cares about everything he makes.
What would be your top tips for amateur bakers?
Attempt things, even if they look impossible. Don't just flick through baking books and pass things off because they look hard because you will always get better.
Who did you enjoy feeding most, Mary, Paul, Sue or Mel?
I enjoyed feeding Sue Perkins the most. She was so warm and funny and generous. It was a real pleasure to have met her. Having said that, the others were pretty nice too.
How much practice did you manage to get in before each week?
I would work my full day at work and then my wife and I would get the kids fed, washed and in bed, and baking would start about 8pm through til the early hours. I had a schedule on my kitchen wall that ran from March through to June with every single day having at least one bake allocated to it. It was pretty full on.
I loved eclair week. It was such a relief to have redeemed myself following two bad weeks. I came top in the technical bake and really enjoyed both my signature and showstopper bakes that week. It felt like it got steadily better from that point on.
What's next for Richard?
I didn't go into the show with any expectations apart from really wanting to get past the first week. I'm going to have as much fun with this brilliant opportunity as I can.
Want to indulge your Bake Off habit a little more? Find out what 2013 finalist Kimberley Wilson thought of the contestants, the bakes and the judges decision: Kimberley's comments
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