Winners announced on BBC’s professional pastry chef Bake Off

Mark Tilling (BBC Pictures)

Bake Off: Creme de la Creme, the professional pastry chef contest on BBC Two, has crowned Mark Tilling’s team the winners after last night’s final.

Tilling, and his team comprising Samantha Rain and Helen Vass, was named victorious on the Tuesday night show by judges Benoit Blin, executive pastry chef at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham hotel in London; and Claire Clark, pastry chef consultant.

Tilling, tutor in patisserie and chocolate at Surrey-based Squires Kitchen Cookery School, worked alongside Rain, of East Sussex-based Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates, and Vass, pastry chef at two-AA Rosette restaurant Number 16 in Glasgow, Scotland. The trio met through pastry cooking classes.

Loosely following the structure of the original Great British Bake Off contest, the eight-part series saw the teams undertake a series of tough challenges before creating a “Showstopper” dish last, which was required to feed a large party of people, taste excellent, demonstrate key pastry skills, and also look visually stunning.

Tom Kerridge, two Michelin-starred chef-owner of Marlow pub the Hand & Flowers, presented the show, which was filmed throughout at Wellbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, and pitched three-person professional pastry chef teams against each other in a host of heats, semi-finals, and finals.

Despite its popularity, the series has also been controversial thanks to its difference from the original Bake Off, with viewers often divided over how stringent the judging process was, and how few points some of the teams were awarded for apparently excellent creations.  

Speaking to BigHospitality, judge Benoit Blin - who is also president of the official Pastry Team UK in international contests such as the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie - said he hoped the show would inspire a new generation of pastry chefs, and promote the high level of pastry skills that exist in the UK.

He said: “[This] might encourage pastry chefs, who might otherwise be hidden away in the kitchen, to push themselves and raise the bar. I think that this show has highlighted that difference - the scientific element of pastry. To be on such a trusted channel as the BBC can only really help the industry.”

Blin also said that Kerridge had been “like a little kid” during filming, and had really enjoyed learning about the more technical side of the pastry processes.

In its first ever year, the show was a professional spin-off of the BBC’s much-loved Great British Bake Off, which features amateur bakers, judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and presenters and comedians Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.

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