Edd is arguably the king of baking: he won the first series of cult BBC show The Great British Bake Off in 2010 and has been cooking up a storm ever since.
Specialising in all things tasty, his cakes, biscuits and puddings are absolutely delicious (as TYC can testify – his brownie recipe is one of our favourites) and he is one of the fastest-rising stars on the culinary circuit.
Read on to find out what inspired Edd’s love of baking, what it felt like to win Great British Bake Off and what advice he’d give to budding chefs.
Have you always loved baking?
My mum taught me to bake when I was really little so it is something I have done most of my life but it really only became my passion when I left university. I needed a creative outlet whilst I was doing a really dull and boring job.
You didn’t initially pursue baking as a career – what did you do beforehand?
When I left university I was one of those people who didnt know what they wanted to do, so I ended up falling into banking. I worked as a litigator as what was basically a glorified debt collector. I spent my days suing people, so I was constantly on the end of verbal abuse and even the occasional threat! I was very bored and the longer I stayed in the job the more baking became my outlet. It was the only thing I wanted to do in the future – I just didn’t know how to make it my life.
What inspired you to enter the Great British Bake Off?
Someone who followed me on Twitter emailed me the application saying they thought it might be my kind of thing. I initially dismissed it thinking that I wasnt good enough and that no-one would ever put me on TV. Two friends then convinced me that if I didnt think I would get on I had nothing to lose and might as well apply anyway. I am also quite an inquisitive person, so seeing the audition process was really interesting for me and would have been enough.
Did you ever imagine you’d win?
No never! Every stage that I passed was a surprise to me. It wasn’t until I got on the show and we started filming that my confidence started to grow. I was surrounded by other people who loved to bake who were telling me I was really good. It was only on the morning of the final that I allowed myself to think I might win but even then when they were announcing the winner I was convinced it wouldn’t be me.
What advice would you give to aspiring professional bakers?
Never stop learning, always keep your mind open to new ideas and techniques. If you think you know everything and you stop learning then you are doing yourself a diservice.
What’s your favourite recipe?
That changes day to day depending on my mood, the weather and so many other things. I have a few recipes that are handwritten by my Nanna who died when I was very young so those are very special to me and something I will always treasure but the recipe I make the most is macarons. When I was on The Great British Bake Off, my macarons were one of the only things to make Mary Berry groan with pleasure! They became a bit of a signature because they are tricky to make well, in fact I know teach monthly classes in central London on how to make the perfect macaron.
The publication of my first book was the most amazing experience. I spent months alone in my kitchen testing recipes and then, slowly, the book came to life in front of me. We did the photography and then the design slowly came together and then at the end of July a copy of the book came through my door. It was amazing seeing it as a real book, a finished product. I still get a buzz when I spot it in a bookshop and it makes me very proud when people tell me they love baking from it.
What projects are you currently working on, and what’s coming up next?
As we speak I am finishing off my next book which will be out in September this year. We have just started the photography and it is looking beautiful. I can’t wait to see the finished product! I am also running monthly macaron classes as well as a few other projects, its looking like another exciting year.