BAKE-OFF STAR JUDGES CON­TEST

Dr Chal­loner’s High School sixth for­mer KATRINA VASEY re­ports on Bake Off queen Mary Berry’s visit to her school to cel­e­brate the fi­nal of the Great Chal­loner’s Cake Off com­pe­ti­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - For a gallery of pic­tures from this event visit www.get­bucks.co.uk

THE event was run for the first time this year and in­vited girls from the en­tire school to sub­mit their cake de­signs giv­ing thought to taste, look and food miles.

All pro­ceeds from the day went to the Chal­loner’s Girl Foun­da­tion which is help­ing to se­cure fund­ing for the school at a time when gov­ern­ment cuts are con­tin­u­ing to re­strict fund­ing to state schools.

Out of the 50 en­tries 25 were cho­sen for the fi­nal, five from each of the school’s houses, and judged. This meant the judges had the en­vi­ous task of try­ing all the cakes and award­ing each cake a score for pre­sen­ta­tion, taste and how lo­cal the in­gre­di­ents were.

Dur­ing her visit, Mary Berry gave a talk to the girls about her ex­pe­ri­ences of bak­ing and re­sult­ing ca­reer, with a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion to fin­ish the day. Mrs Berry re­vealed what she would be if not a baker (per­haps she would have gone into hor­ti­cul­ture but cer­tainly some­thing cre­ative) and what she and Paul Hol­ly­wood do to pass the time whilst the Great Bri­tish Bak­ers are busy in the tent (Paul watches rac­ing car videos whilst Mary speaks to Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, the pre­sen­ters of the BBC One show).

When asked about how she felt the day went, Mrs Berry said: “Be­cause I live lo­cally, I’m al­ways happy to sup­port lo­cal schools and char­i­ties. I’m al­ways de­lighted to en­cour­age peo­ple to bake and to cook. Ob­vi­ously here at Chal­loner’s they had 50 en­tries and that’s re­ally good with some splen­did re­sults.”

The rules re­quired a min­i­mum of two tiers to the cake, with one en­try in­clud­ing seven tiers, one for each colour of the rain­bow. All dif­fer­ent age groups par­tic­i­pated, from 11 years old to 18. Mary Berry was not one of the judges but did try the top three win­ning cakes. She said: “They were of a very high stan­dard. There’s a great use of mod­ern food colour­ing, es­pe­cially with the rain­bow cakes. How­ever, re­mem­ber a cake has to taste good as well as look good.”

An im­por­tant cri­te­ria of the day was lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents, Buck­ing­hamshire’s ru­ral back­drop al­low­ing for rel­a­tively easy ac­cess to fresh dairy prod­ucts as well as fruit and veg­eta­bles.

Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion, and eat­ing, the three judges: head mas­ter Ian Cook­sey, deputy head girl Con­nie Lewis and lo­cal bak­ery owner Glenn Stephens de­cided upon the win­ner – 18-year-old Sasha War­ren of Bar­rards Way, Seer Green with her Gin­ger Cake.

“I checked up on what in­gre­di­ents were sea­sonal at the mo­ment and thought what goes with sweet potato? You’ve got gin­ger, rhubarb, which are good flavours. Ap­ple is also good, so I thought we’d see what we could do from there.

“This is the first time I had made this cake; I hadn’t made a veg­etable based cake be­fore ei­ther so that was a learn­ing curve.”

Sasha cred­ited the ease of find­ing lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents to hap­pen­ing to have a lot of friends with fruit trees: “I think it might be a Buck­ing­hamshire thing, to have fruit trees in the gar­den.”

When asked about the im­por­tance of lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents Mrs Berry added: “I think ev­ery­one nowa­days re­ally ought to know where their food comes from and so to sup­port lo­cal pro­duc­ers is very im­por­tant be­cause it’s their liveli­hood and you know it’s fresh.”

The day was or­gan­ised by 17-year-old Con­nie Lewis from Wood­field Park, Amer­sham.

Con­nie spoke of her in­spi­ra­tion for the day: “I wanted to get the com­mu­nity in­volved with the school for this event be­cause its such a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case the great tal­ent at our school which I wanted ev­ery­one to see.

“Then when Mary Berry said yes to com­ing I was over the moon, no, over Pluto!”

There was just enough time to find out Mary Berry’s favourite cake was a lemon driz­zle and hear her ad­vice to bud­ding bak­ers: “Start off with some­thing your fam­ily would en­joy and looks sim­ple. Fol­low the in­struc­tions ex­actly, read it three times and weigh care­fully and watch it when you put it into the oven.”

All in all, the school raised £415 from the day with the sec­ond and third place (Ella Merten-Mancer and El­lie Meets) re­ceiv­ing hand made gift ham­pers of good­ies from the Rex Ar­ti­san Bak­ery, Lit­tle Chal­font while the win­ner Sasha was awarded a three hour bak­ing ses­sion for four also with Rex.

The day was a re­sound­ing suc­cess with plenty of cake left over for the girls to en­joy – the cherry on top!

Pho­tos by Grant Humphreys www.buyapho­totms.co.uk BE151538

THE WIN­NER IS...: Sasha War­ren, 18, with her gin­ger cake which was judged the best with TV Bake Off queen Mary Berry who vis­ited Dr Chal­loner’s to speak to the girls

TOP TIPS: Mary Berry with from left, Emily Har­ris 18, Con­nie Lewis 17, Amy Ger­rard 17, Re­becca McCoy 18 and Emma Cochrane 17

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