Great British Bake Off's Ruth Clemens goes back to baking in Poynton
PUBLISHED: 16:34 15 February 2011 | UPDATED: 16:15 09 November 2016
Ruth Clemens is one of a long line of bakers in her family. Now, the Great British Bake Off runner-up wants to encourage more people back into their kitchens. Emma Mayoh reports<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
It was no surprise to those who know her that Ruth Clemens did so well in the television series The Great British Bake Off. Baking skills are part of the DNA in Ruth’s family.
She is a fourth generation baker whose family ran a bakery in Poynton for 60 years and she grew up with the smell of fresh baked bread and cakes.
And the lessons she learned in the family kitchen with her mum Lynda and dad Allan paid off as Ruth came second in the TV series. She impressed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with everything from her chocolate cookies to sweet tarts and savoury pies.
Ruth’s great-grandmother, Thirza Bancroft, set up Bancrofts Bakery in the 1920s and it was run by Ruth’s family until the 1980s.
The 32-year-old, who lives in Poynton with husband Damian and their three sons, Ashley, Dylan and Finlay, said: ‘As a little girl I baked with my mum, grandma and my nan. My great-grandma started the business wheeling my nan around in a pram and she sold things out of the basket underneath it. She opened her bakery next door to her house and it was really well known.
‘I have a lot of happy memories from that time. The smells and seeing everything going on was wonderful. She didn’t teach me to bake because you just couldn’t keep up with her. She was one of those women who just threw everything in a bowl and really good food always came out of it.’
Although Ruth, a former retail manager, has always enjoyed baking, it was when her son Dylan developed a gluten intolerance that her obsession resurfaced. Everything had to be made from scratch for a couple of years until he grew out of it. But after that Ruth continued to bake.
‘It was nice to bake again when Dylan needed me to. But after that I just couldn’t stop baking. It was stress relief.’
After taking time out to look after her children Ruth was keen to take on another challenge and put herself forward for the television show.
And her success has inspired her to encourage more people to bake. She has set up baking blog, The Pink Whisk, and has already had thousands of amateur bakers recreating her recipes - 20,000 people were on her site on the night of the Bake Off final.
‘The blog was a great way of me being able to do things when I wanted and people can get involved,’ she said.
‘It’s crazy how it’s taken off. I’ll post a recipe in the morning and within a few hours people are sending me pictures of their versions of it. I want baking to be a long term career for me. I didn’t just want to be turned into a reality television star.’
Now, it is Ruth’s three sons’ turn to make a mess in the kitchen. Although they might not love baking as much as their mum - 12-year-old Ashley prefers cooking to baking - they could not be more proud.
She said: ‘They are always telling people about the programme. Ashley was cooking pizza at school and I told him he would need to put foil on the tray. His teacher said just to grease it. Ashley pipes up with ‘‘my mum says I have to put foil on this tray and she came second on Great British Bake Off’’. It’s funny when they do that.
‘All my family are immensely proud of me. I feel really proud too that I’m carrying on the family traditions and I’m thrilled so many people have been inspired by what I’ve done.’
Poynton's Pink Whisk
You can read Ruth's Baking Blog The Pink Whisk here
Or follow her on twitter @thepinkwhisk