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When the heat was on these Great Irish Bakers rose to the challenge

The right baker rose above the rest and was crowned winner of The Great Irish Bake Off last week.

Kerrywoman Tracy Coyne pipped Shane and Ali at the post.

After eight weeks, her showstopper challenge of afternoon tea was magnificent. Trust me, I was there.

Over the course of the series one of the questions people asked me most often was: Do the bakers really need five hours for the big bakes?

I can tell you, they certainly do.

This showstopper bake required 11 different bite sized cakes, breads or pastries. And within each of those, there were four or five cooking elements.

For example, Shane baked amazing ham hock for one of his sandwiches.

What you won't have seen is me and most of the crew, scavenging through this chunk of meat after he had cut away his two slices for his tiny sandwich.


I know I witter on about the pressure in the tent, but the last 30 minutes of the final bake was like something from the floor of the New York stock exchange.

Tracy shouting for a blender for her pesto, Ali running up and down to make sure everything was there to be plated up.

And Shane being Shane - quietly measuring his bakes.

I bumped into him on South William St the night before the final. He was telling me how he was loving the show.

And just as we were about to finish talking, a woman walked by and said: "Can't wait to see you at 9pm". Shane just grinned at the woman, thanked her and continued talking to me.

These three bakers are stars now, and they should be. They gave us a thrilling eight weeks, along with the other bakers.

Anyone who gets a chance to eat anything they bake in the future will very lucky.