Life Food News

Sunday 15 December 2019

8 things to love about the Great Irish Bake Off

As the new series kicks off next week we share what we're most looking forward to...

Will de Korte's Lighthouse Cake
This year's happy contestants...

Patricia Murphy

Twelve new amateur bakers will march beneath the tent in Clonabreany House next week to kick off the much anticipated new series of The Great Irish Bake Off.

Although less polished than its British counterpart, a soft spot is held for the sweet TV3 goings-on and if anything, the greater disasters are all the more entertaining. Drown yourself in dreams of patisserie cream when the new season kicks off next Wednesday, but until then we take a look at everything to look forward to throughout the summer bake off.

The contestants

It’s gas to watch the crowd of doe eyed amateurs shuffle into the tent full of optimism, clean benches ahead as they slip on their bake off apron with a smile. It isn’t long before the counter is an explosion of flour, egg shells are clinging to their hair and beads of are sweat dripping into their batters. This is the dream, they say until their technical ends up looking like a junior infant’s art project and the judges are creeping up the aisle ready to criticise.

This year's happy contestants...

The showstoppers

Although The Great British Bake Off spoiled us in terms showstoppers, the Irish contestants wowed throughout last series. During last year’s final Willem de Korte used a balloon to shape his lighthouse showstopper. Maryanne’s Georgian door creation brought childhood memories back to judge Biddy. The elaborate gingerbread house created by last year’s winner Stephen ultimately won him the prize. The showstopper section of the episode is always the most interesting.

Wills Light house cake.jpg
Will de Korte's Lighthouse Cake

Lovely Anna

No matter what level of mess the contestants pull from that oven, Anna Nolan is great at convincing them that all will be well while we shout ‘who are you kidding girl’ at the telly. Anna’s bravery has to be duly noted also, always very willing to nibble on a burned bit of crusty bread in order to convince a baker that their creation really isn’t that bad. While GBBO relies on the banter between Sue and Mel, Anna is well able to handle the ‘Ready, Set, Bake’ all on her own.


The croque embouche episode always has everyone quivering in their crocs, much to the delight of the audience. The construction of a perfect architectural tower of assembled profiteroles held together with sticky caramel is always going to be a source of intense stress but that is what makes good telly, isn’t it? Sit at home on your couch and wait for the opportunity to shout 'TIMBER'.

Bake off 1.JPG

Scheming Biddy

Biddy White Lennon portrays an image of sweetness but she has no problem rubbing her hands together and cooking up the most elaborate and soul destroying challenges, which is why we love her.

“We’re not going to shy away from telling the plain hard truth,” she boasts intimidatingly in the promo.  Good for you Biddy.

The tears

What would a bake off be without a few sobs over ruined dough? Although clearly a rollercoaster of emotion for the dessert devoted contestants there’s some sick pleasure as a spectator watching the tears begin to flow. Maryanne was the show’s resident crier last year, the poor thing. The heart went out to her but at the same we rejoiced in each and every failed star bake.

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The Irish Paul

Sharing a name and a knock off with Great British Bake Off’s unlikely sex symbol Paul Hollywood must have been a little bit off putting for Paul Kelly but he handles it well. Although the Irish version lacks Hollywood’s icy blue eyed stare and cutting words, Kelly is a worthy judge and innovative head pastry chef at The Merrion. He has no problem telling the lads their bread is too doughy either, which is what it’s all about. No molly coddling will be found in that tent.

Watching the annoying one fail

Everyone picks their favourites at the beginning, and there is a great satisfaction in watching the cockiest baker in the tent screw up the technical challenge. Star baker you’re not, mate. The ego deflation is worth every penny we pay for our TV license. Hopefully there'll be more than one harsh hasta la vista this time around.

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