What was your best moment in Bake Off – which bake were you happiest with?
Baking and exploring bread in all its different forms is a real passion of mine. When Paul Hollywood shook my hand after he had tasted my ‘opposites attract’ bread rolls I was completely blown away. It was the ultimate compliment from a real authority on the subject.
What do you think was your biggest disaster?
Without a doubt the self saucing puddings. I kind of knew they weren’t my strongest recipe, but sometimes you just can’t crack it. On the bright side, I was pretty chuffed with the foil hats I made for the pears while they were in the oven!
What were the cooking conditions of Bake Off like compared to your kitchen?
Have you baked much since you stopped filming?
I’ve baked more! The Bake Off really has added more fuel to the passion I have for baking. It has certainly taught me to bake quicker and I have learnt an unbelievable amount. Pre-Bake Off I used to bake maybe three or four times a week. Now I bake virtually every day. I’ll even get up at 5am some days and nip down to the kitchen to whip up a bake before the day gets going. I find myself daydreaming about trying a new way of manipulating some dough or a flavour combo I haven’t tried before. I love it.
What would be your top tips for amateur bakers?
For someone starting out baking, definitely keep it simple. Learn to do the basics and then don’t be scared of trying out new flavour combinations. Pick a recipe you really like and change one flavour for another and see what happens. Try different types of baking too. You wouldn’t believe how much pleasure can be gained from baking your first ever loaf from just flour, water, salt and yeast, it really is amazing. Oh, and never ever open your oven door until you are in the last third of the total baking time.
Who did you enjoy feeding most, Mary, Paul, Sue or Mel?
How much practice did you manage to get in before each week on Bake Off?
At best you would get one or maybe two practices on each bake in-between filming episodes. Life and work carried on as normal whilst filming. I would rush home and try and get a practice in after work. Not easy when some of the showstoppers were five-hour long tasks. There were some really late nights. Looking back now I don’t know how we did it. It was really enjoyable though.
I think it would have to be bread week – week 3. We really did have such a laugh. The boys were all pecking at each other about who was the best bread baker. The girls were telling the boys we were rubbish. The ciabatta technical was the funniest of all. You could feel the tension in the tent on who was going to stop proving first in a game of patience and we were all winding each other up. The early weeks in the tent were fantastic as the bakers really were a team. As the weeks rolled on there was a real feeling of loss and emptiness as bakers went home. I certainly came away from the Bake Off with 11 brand-new, very close friends.
What’s next for Luis?
The Bake Off broke the everyday routine of life. It was quite a prolific experience and it has introduced me to so many new friends and acquaintances I would never have met otherwise. A whole new world has opened up that I want to explore and I’m going to continue thinking up new recipes, do some teaching and writing and basically talk about baking to anyone who’s willing to listen!
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
Did you watch The Great British Bake off this year? We’d love to hear what you thought of the 2014 series. Let us know below…