Brighton’s Kate Henry in The Great British Bake Off, series 5, episode 5: review

Kate Henry, courtesy of the BBC

Kate Henry, courtesy of the BBC

First published in Food & Drink
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Congratulations Kate on being crowned star baker this week for the first time!

And especially in pie week, as Luis says, since you are “as southern as they get.”

Kate wowed judges with her take on custard tarts – which we now know are of her favourite treats – which had an ingenious injection of rhubarb in swirl she added mid bake.

She also excelled in the technical challenge of mini poached pear pies and her artist talent shone through in the show stopper, of three hot crust pork pies, each flavoured with rhubarb, apple and prune coulis respectively. She adorned the pies with colourful flowers and was praised by judges for her efforts.

I was sad to see Norman go, although unfortunately I do think it was his time. His pieful tower idea was inspired though.

I was intrigued to see how little of “bin gate” was mentioned, apart from the announcement at the beginning of the show that Diana had pulled out due to ill health, and a sly joke from Mel and Sue begging bakers not to chuck their tarts in the bin.

I was interested to see only a selection of the bakers were interviewed to say how sorry they were to hear of Diana’s departure. Perhaps this was just heavy editing - as that of last week which some claim caused the scandal in the first place – or maybe the bakers are divided behind the camera?

Either way I don’t think the BBC, or any viewer, anticipated what a national outrage the bincident would cause. Were people fuming at how Iain or Diane acted, or were portrayed? Or did they lash out at the blatant waste of perfectly good cake being thrown in general waste rather than a sustainable food compost bin on national television, in a world where pressure to recycle is on?

I certainly didn’t anticipate being so enthralled by the disposal decision of an unknown baker’s dessert, or whether an ice cream could set or melt in 40 seconds. Many have suggested Kate will be one of the finalists and this week’s performance proves that could be the case.

Of course I’m slightly bias due to Kate’s Brighton background but I honestly picked her at the beginning of the show, before I knew where she was from, as one of the ones to beat. She seems thoughtful and artistic with her baking. And we know she has already put it to the test to help raise money to help protect a community building – her warmth and friendliness shines through in her baking.

I’m finding it ever more difficult each week to avoid gorging on something sweet while watching the show. This week it was half a packet of French chocolate biscuits. But pie week has really got me in the mood for a well-crafted, handmade pork pie. I’m sure one of Brighton’s many delis will be able to point me in the right direction.

Bring on European cakes next week and good luck Kate!

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