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Channel 4 favourite The Great British Bake Off returned to screens despite the best efforts of the coronavirus. Another 12 home bakers will be put through their paces with various challenges over the next 10 weeks and only one can come out victorious. But what are the most common pitfalls the contestants need to avoid in order to hit the dizzying heights of Star Baker?
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Bake Off: The Professionals finalists Domenico Camporeale and Alessandra Labarile about their top tips for keeping your cool in the tent.
During their time on the most recent series of Bake Off: The Professionals, the duo had to face the scrutiny of the judges including the notoriously fierce Cherish Finden, who is known to reduce the most hardened of chefs to tears when she pulls out her ruler to measure bakes.
Advising the Bake Off contestants, chef Camporeale told the bakers to enjoy the amazing experience and savour each moment.
He said: “The opportunity they give you and also the people that you meet, that’s really important.
“It’s going to open up doors and the friendships that you’re going to create.
“It even happened with me and Alessandra with our experience, we really created a family and not like people who were there for a competition.
“We were really helping each other to achieve the best of that challenge and we were happy for everybody.
“If it was first place or second place, it doesn’t really matter at the time.”
Fellow finalist Labarile stressed the need to stay “focused” and “keep quiet” when the bakers were putting together their creations for the judges.
She said: “Don’t go into the challenge with stress or nervousness. If you do, you don’t do very well.”
Her words suggest keeping calm and concentrating on the challenge at hand is what will get the winning bakers through.
Camporeale said to avoid any kitchen nightmares, the bakers needed to focus on their own bakes.
He said: “The main thing people do in a competition is look at the other people and not at yourself, so you need to be focused on your own job and then after you’ve finished you need to look at the other people. This is really, really important.”
The chef said everyone made mistakes and it was natural, but he said it was just about “experience” and learning from a blunder, particularly figuring out how to fix an error.
He advised the contestants to think about their backup plan if things didn’t quite pan out with their bake and “go on with the second plan”, saying the bakers “really need to be ready”.
Reflecting on why Bake Off – both the regular edition and the Professionals was so popular because it was simply a fun watch audiences could enjoy.
Camporeale and Labarile are now working as head pastry chef at the prestigious hotel the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, where they recently launched their delectable new afternoon tea.
The pair are now focusing on perfecting their afternoon tea which will be available right until mid-December.
Their mouth-watering afternoon tea consists of many flavours and ingredients with a savoury selection including Scottish smoked salmon, marinated in gin with dill cream cheese next to classic cucumber sandwiches with mushroom duxelles, roasted pecan nuts and chill flakes and Somerset Brie quiche.
Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed either with a range of signature patisseries, such as Granny Smith Apple, Candied Lemon Fluid Compote and Walnut Sponge.
There is, of course, the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam to round off the afternoon tea.
They are also working on a gluten-free and dairy-free version of their afternoon which retains its distinctive flavours despite using different ingredients.
For more information after the afternoon tea and to book, visit: www.parkplazawestminsterbridge.com/afternoontea
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