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Pupils Whip Up Showstoppers For Bake Off Final

Friday, 17 April 2015

There was a buzz of excitement in the Food Technology rooms as Boys’ and Girls’ Division pupils gathered to watch the Bolton School Bake Off Final 2015.

The four finalists were Year 7 pupil Jack Tyldesley and Year 8s Safa Patel, Issy Plant and Asmara Stubley. They beat tough opposition in the semi-final round, which took place before the Easter holidays, and all proved themselves to be excellent bakers with a great deal of skill. The judging panel therefore had plenty to look forward to at the end of the forty-five minutes of baking time.

With so much time-pressure on the finalists, each of the boys and girls were allowed one helper to assist them with tidying and washing up. However, they were responsible for baking and presenting their products – and they certainly did not disappoint. Each of the finalists chose spectacular ‘Showstopper’ bakes and did not let the tight time-frame they were given put them off from using complex techniques and setting themselves difficult challenges.

For the final round, contestants were asked to use the themes of the previous four rounds – the 100/500 Celebration, Unilever products, Lancashire, and ‘old meets new’ – as inspiration, but otherwise were given free rein to create the product of their choice. They also had to provide a short explanation for the reasoning behind their entry to give the judges an idea of what they were trying to achieve. They were then marked on the concept, presentation, and sensory characteristic of their product.

The final was judged by Boys’ and Girls’ Division Heads Mr Britton and Miss Hincks, who were joined by Unilever representative Mr Joseph Byrne. Girls’ Division teachers Mrs James and Mrs Entwistle, who organised the competition with Boys’ Division teacher Mr Walker, were also on the judging panel.

Safa created a ‘Cookies ‘n’ Cream Chocolate Hut’ for the competition. This impressive dessert was inspired by the ‘old meets new’ challenge and was a modern take on a chocolate marshmallow teacake. A sticky chocolate-chip cookie replaced the traditional biscuit base, and Safa used ice cream instead of marshmallow. Creating the dessert involved making a chocolate dome from scratch using a balloon as a mould, and mixing up a batch of delicious chocolate sauce which created an incredible visual experience when poured over the dome to melt it!

Issy decided to return to the first theme and created another batch of 100/500 Celebration deluxe two-tone cupcakes which incorporated the school colours both in the icing and in the cake itself! Issy’s amazing fondant decorations – including a miniature pupil from each Division – were made in School with a great deal of skill. These really added to the presentation of her final product, which was designed to mimic the drive to the Centre Arch. She even included a chalkboard sketch of the clock tower to add to the effect.

Asmara followed the ‘old meets new’ theme with her Choux Pastry Swans, filled with whipped cream and served with raspberry coulis. They were also presented with piped chocolate numbers to represent the 100/500 Celebration. Using choux pastry as the traditional aspect and the design as the modern twist really worked for this delicious, light dessert, and the overall look of the product on the plate was excellent.

Jack was also inspired by 100/500 Celebrations: for his showstopper bake, he created a chocolate brownie dessert in the shape of the 100/500 logo, with a different filling at the centre of each number. The excellent taste and texture of the numbers – filled with crème eggs, white chocolate, and chilli – really impressed all of the judges, who kept going back for more.

However, there could be only one winner, and the judges had to mark strictly based on the criteria. The competition was incredibly close, with just two points separating first and third place!

Miss Hincks led a round of applause for the organisers of the Bake Off in both Divisions, and also for Mr Byrne and Unilever who provided the competition prizes. She then handed over to Mr Britton for the presentation of certificates and finally the results were announced.

In joint third place were Jack and Asmara with the exact same score for each of their desserts. Safa’s Chocolate Hut won her the silver medal, while Issy and her celebration cupcakes took the top spot to be crowned Bolton School Bake Off Champion 2015!

All four finalists received copies of Marco Made Easy: A Three-Star Chef Makes it Simple by celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White. Safa and Issy also won a silver and gold iPod Shuffle for taking the top two places in the competition.

As the overall winner of the competition, Issy also won the important job of joining Mrs James to judge ‘The Great Bolton School Bake Off’ at the Joint Parent Association Family Festival in June.

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The finalists with the Heads, Unilever representative Mr Byrne, Mrs Entwistle and Mrs James

The finalists with the Heads, Unilever representative Mr Byrne, Mrs Entwistle and Mrs James

Bake Off winner Issy with her Showstopper 100/500 cupcakes

Bake Off winner Issy with her Showstopper 100/500 cupcakes

Jack worked hard to create the perfect brownie mix

Jack worked hard to create the perfect brownie mix