Great British Bake Off contestant from Sussex 'can't believe' she's on the show
A baker from Sussex will be lighting up our screens this evening (September 22) as the Great British Bake Off returns.
Speaking ahead of series 11 premiere, airing on Channel 4 at 8.15pm, pantomime producer Lottie, 31, said she was 'absolutely terrified' to see herself on television.
Lottie, from Littlehampton, said: "I 100 per cent never imagined I would willingly put myself on TV. I’m notoriously bad at having my picture taken so I thought filming would be a nightmare but when you’re baking you just forget everything and focus on what you’ve got to do! The producers were so lovely too that I just felt like I was having a chat with a mate whilst baking."
According to the show's producers, 'Lottie describes herself a ‘perpetually frustrated perfectionist’ and, while her baking has become more refined over time, she hopes it retains an element of her dark sense of humour. When she’s not baking or busy with her job producing pantomime, Lottie will be playing computer games with her young cousins, or practising yoga'.
As a child, Lottie watched a lot of cooking shows, and believed she inherited her skills from her Lancastrian nana.
But she admitted she was 'absolutely awful in food tech at school': "I burnt something in the ovens and was encouraged to take history instead for GCSE...it definitely came to me later in life!"
Having started baking properly two years ago, Lottie's friends and family had been trying to make her apply, but she lacked the confidence. Eventually, she sent in the form 'to shut them all up', she said, and a few months later found herself face to face with the judges: Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.
Lottie said: "I’m so glad they kept pestering me to go for it because I wouldn’t have done it without them."
The first episode of the series tonight has been delayed slightly to accomodate for Boris Johnson addressing the nation with new coronavirus rules.
The pandemic has drastically changed how the show has been filmed, with contestants and their families having to self-isolate before coming on set and the cast and crew living together during production.
When asked how she felt about being part of such a unique series of the show, Lottie said: "We weren’t sure it was ever going to happen, so when we found out it was going ahead I couldn’t believe it."
She added: "It made it much harder to keep a secret because I was going away for an indefinite period of time when everyone else was staying locked indoors but it was really lovely to be in a more relaxed bubble when we got there, socially distanced."
Lottie also had praise for the presenters, comedians Noel Fielding and newcomer Matt Lucas, who she described as 'so supportive, so lovely and a really nice energy to have in the tent when we were all so nervous'.
She said: "Noel was well needed comic relief in the tent, when he came and spoke to us it reminded us all to have a laugh and not take it all too seriously. It’s only cake after all!"
An ardent fan of the show, having watched every series, Lottie said she had a 'new found respect' for every former contestant and had forged a close bond with her fellow bakers.
Lottie recalled the first week of filming: "We were all nervous about making a cake bust of our celebrity heroes and knowing that we were all in the same boat was really reassuring!
"As a group we got really close really quickly because we were all living together and that made it feel extra special."
Tune in tonight to see how Lottie fares.
Here is a Q&A with Littlehampton's baking star:
Do you get asked to bake a specific cake for special occasions?
I get really bored of baking plain chocolate cakes - I love a challenge, whether that’s using unusual flavours or techniques and even more so now I’ve done bake off.
Are you attached to a special cooking utensil or kitchen gadget, what is it and why?
Never before have I found so many uses for a mandolin. I cut myself badly once or twice but it is totally worth the risk because it slices things more beautifully and more quickly
than I ever could with a knife.
How will you watch the show and who will you be with, Government guidelines permitting?
I am going to struggle to watch myself on tv, but my family won’t let me escape it. We will sit down to watch it together whilst eating cake. Cake that someone else has baked.
What music do you bake to – and favourite tune?
I listen to very loud music when I bake to motivate me. Needless to say I had to put headphones on for the practice tent because it wasn’t for everyone.
If you were asked to choose a previous Baker to ‘bubble with’ in lockdown which one would it be and why?
Henry. Got to be Henry. I love him. And his ties. And he’s a phenomenal baker so he could make sure we didn’t starve.
As a baker what would you say are your strengths… and what are your weaknesses?
Weaknesses: timing and decoration. I get lost in making sure I know what I am doing technically so I often run out of time or serve something that looks nothing like I had
expected or wanted it to!
Strengths: Turns out I’m a fast learner! I taught myself a lot of techniques ahead of the show and really enjoyed the process.