Luis Troyano: life since the Great British Bake Off
PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 August 2015
Jay Cain photographer
Cheshire’s Bake Off finalist talks book writing, behind the scenes surprises and top baking tips
How has life changed for you since the Great British Bake Off last year?
My life has been turned upside down in the most amazing way. I gave up my old day job and now focus on baking activities. I was very privileged to get the opportunity to write my own recipe book, so that took quite a lot of time to do. I also hold afternoon teas at the Farmers Arms in Poynton on a regular basis, where I make all the cakes. I have a really full diary teaching people how to bake at Seasoned Cookery School and Cheshire Cookery School as well as working at many of the food festivals around the country this summer and autumn.
You were recently in the Bake Off tent filming the Class of 2014 programme – can you tell us more about that?
Every year a programme is made about the previous year’s bakers. We are given chance to reflect on the GBBO one year on and what have we been up to since. It was very exciting to go back to the tent and have a nosey – it was like going back to an old friend and I actually envied the bakers from this year!
What is the intriguingly titled ‘baker room’ on the Bake Off set?
It is the green room in the country hall where the bake off is filmed – a place to relax, eat and have a good chat. It’s where we all became great mates. Being back in that room brought back amazing memories – I remember taking an afternoon nap in there many a time!
This time last year filming had already finished for the Great British Bake Off – what was it like having to keep it all a secret?
The period in-between leaving the Bake Off and it showing on TV was by far the weirdest part of my life. Only myself and very close family knew I had done it so keeping it a secret wasn’t too bad.
Were you allowed to tell anyone about your time on the show before transmission?
No, absolutely not. The first time some of my closest friends knew I was on it was when the trailers started running!
What did you learn from GBBO?
Lots! I certainly learnt how to bake quicker! Seriously though, the tasks take you through so many different disciplines and techniques, I was a different baker when I came out of it. One of the biggest things I learnt was that you were up against the judges and not the other bakers.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing. Hindsight is always a brilliant thing, but hand on heart I just went along and totally enjoyed myself and had a brilliant time.
Was it hard to balance Bake Off with your day job?
Fitting the show and a job around each other was really difficult as the Bake Off was very time consuming. At the time, I had to keep my job and just make it work like everyone else. It did become more exhausting as the weeks went on. I always tell people the Bake Off is a fun endurance test.
Is there anything that happens behind the scenes you didn’t expect?
The sheer number of crew in the tent was my biggest surprise – it always looks so serene on the TV. Everything else is exactly as the viewer sees it. The tent was also much bigger than I ever imagined.
Your book Bake it Great comes out next month – is writing a recipe book something that you’ve always wanted to do?
My wife always said I should write a book due to the sheer number of recipes I had come up with over the years. I never expected it to become a reality though. I was surprised how easy writing a recipe book came to me, especially as I had never done it before. I really wanted to write a recipe book from the ground up that presumes nothing about the reader’s knowledge. It goes into real detail on not only how to make the bakes, but how to bake them to perfection and then give them finishing show-stopping looks. I’m really excited to include a chapter on Spanish baking with some old family recipes, it’s something we just don’t know that much about over here in the UK. I keep bees so I’ve also included a chapter on honey – it’s such a fab ingredient.
Where do you get your baking inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes I might just be sat in my car driving and something will pop into my head. Or I’ll be eating something that sparks off an idea for something else. We are so spoilt too nowadays with the internet – it’s totally amazing and an endless resource.
Cheshire has so many amazing places to visit on it’s doorstep, and don’t forget the massive amount of towns and villages with excellent pubs and restaurants. I’m a bit of a home bird though and really love just going to my local village of Poynton.
Do you have any bad habits in the kitchen?
I do tend to let things pile up a bit and then have to have a massive clear out.
What are the items you just can’t live without in the kitchen?
Rolling pin, bench scraper and my mixer.
What is your favourite thing to bake?
Anything Bakewell inspired or flavoured. (Check out Luis’s recipe for Bakewell Cherry cupcakes.)
Luis’s top baking tips:
• Practice - it really does make perfect when it comes to baking.
• Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer; you may be surprised, as the dial doesn’t usually match the real temperature.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment with your own flavour combinations, pick a favourite recipe and try mixing things up a little.
• Have a go at making your own decorations
If you want to catch Luis at an event or cookery class this summer and autumn, check out his schedule over at www.luistroyano.com
Bake it Great is out on the 20 August and is published by Pavilion.
Discover beautiful baking accessories and gifts at the Great British Life baking shop.
Words: Daisy McCorgray