The Kings of Baking

The final three bakers, with judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
Photo: (C) Amanda Searle/Love productions/BBC/Amanda Searle

After 9 weeks of blood, sweat, tears and dough, one man will finally be crowned Britain’s Best Amateur Baker.

Yes, that can only mean the grand final of BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off is upon is. Coming a week after the semi-final triumphed in the ratings, it’s fair to say that it’s a close call this series. I spoke to finalist John Whaite about it all..

John Whaite
First off- congratulations on reaching the final of Great British Bake Off. Did you expect to be there? 

Thank you – I didn’t expect it in the slightest. I really knew that I was a bit shaky, but that was during the finals of my law degree so I think it is excusable.

It’s fair to say, you had a few unfortunate bakes during the series. Would you say you’re more appreciative of that, in that you had to fight for it and it wasn’t a ‘plain-sailing’ expected outcome?  

Yes I was definitely fighting hard to remain, because I had to. I am grateful for my near fatal errors: I think that when something goes wrong and you’ve experienced near failure, it gives you a palatable something to run away from, and I had to run very fast.

Were there any bakes from the other bakers that made you think “Oh, I wish I’d done that!” 

I certainly took some great inspiration from the other bakers; though I never wished to emulate their style because that is what is so great about the competition, we are all so different and it’s a nice change.

GBBO has now all been filmed, so where would you like to go next in your career? Any exciting projects coming up?  

I’m currently working for a fabulous company, and don’t want to jeopardise that; but baking is where I want to be. I  am prepared, as you’ve seen on GBBO, to work very hard for that.

You’ve said on your website that you’re obsession with baking began since you were ‘a tiny tot’. How did the interest come about? 

It was during my parent’s divorce that mum and I would bake. It was a great way of spending time together and since then it has been something that is inherently comforting.

Since finding yourself on TV, how have you found the general public who do recognise you?  

They are absolutely lovely. They all just come up to me and act like an old friend which is nice.

If you could sum up your GBBO experience in a 5 words, what would you say? 

Once in a lifetime fabulousness

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to apply for the next series of Bake Off? And baking in general? 

If you’re applying for it, make sure you demonstrate that you’ve been a keen baker for a while, and that you can evidence that.

If you’re just trying out baking, then make sure you follow the recipes to the gram, and get some good electronic scales that weigh a single gram.

And finally, any funny anecdotes from filming the series, that we didn’t get to see on TV? 

Me and James ALWAYS argued with Paul about certain things. We were quite cheeky really, but Paul enjoyed it…I think.

Thank you John!


Follow John on Twitter; @JohnWhaiteBakes

The Great British Bake Off concludes this Tuesday, 8pm on BBC2.


Editor’s Note; It was a unanimous decision for Berry and Hollywood to name John the winner of The Great British Bake Off Series 3. In light of this, I am all the more honoured to have interviewed such a talented and deserving winner. Congratulations John!


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