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King of the kitchen: an interview with Junior Bake Off star Robbie

We caught up with the budding young Bristol baker who won hearts while showcasing his talents in the Bake Off tent

Telly delights have undeniably helped haul many of us through the winter, and one of the most joyful of late was Junior Bake Off – following the format of the adult version of The Great British Bake Off but with the added charm of messier work benches, grubbier aprons and multiple shots of contestants nibbling bits of chocolate or cake decorations while trying to stay on task. Judges Liam Charles and Ravneet Gill made no concessions to the contestants’ ages and host Harry Hill kept the kind of order provided by your funny uncle at a birthday party.

Junior Bake Off cast

The participants also impressed in the gracious, if sometimes tearful way they coped with going out of the competition. At 15, beaming Bristol contestant Robbie – also a maker of short films and the youngest person on the committee for his local fete where he helps organise the annual raffle – was the oldest contender. His baking was consistent throughout and he won hearts with his team spirit (apparently learned on the cricket field) in helping the younger contestants, as well as his twinkly rapport with presenter Harry. Having won ‘star baker’ with his tropically inspired fault-line cake, happy-go-lucky Robbie made it all the way to the final – willing him on, an army spearheaded by Bristol’s mums and grandmas.

Why did you want to get into this series, and who helped you apply?

Robbie: Baking has always been a hobby of mine as I love to try new recipes, see if people enjoy my bakes and get their comments on them. I loved watching Junior Bake Off last year so when I saw the advertising post about applying on Bake Off’s Instagram page, I thought; why not give it a go? There’s nothing to lose. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get on the show and it honestly has been one of the best things I have ever been a part of.

Was it really good fun to get to the location and meet everyone?

It was so great to meet everyone on the first day; I was quite nervous when driving up into Cobham Hall but once I saw the JBO letters in the distance I was very excited! It was great to get to know everyone and hear about their baking adventures as we all come from different parts of the country. It was great to meet an amazing bunch of people who all share a passion for baking.

How long have you been baking and what is your speciality bake?

Since I was young, baking brownies and cookies with my mum and dad and learning tips from my grandma – she has been making my family’s birthday cakes each year, without fail, all my life. I was always giving my bakes to my nan, grampie, grandpa and brother to enjoy. I think my speciality bake has to be salted caramel and chocolate cake – these are my two ultimate favourite flavours and I absolutely love them paired together. I also love baking cinnamon rolls as they are really delicious especially when covered in icing.

Robbie having a laugh with presenter Harry Hill

Did you love meeting Harry and was he funny? Out of the judges, Rav and Liam, who did you want to impress the most and why?

It was absolutely amazing meeting Harry Hill and it still feels very surreal that it all happened – he was very funny and we had some hilarious jokes. The judges always gave positives and negatives in their feedback that you could take into your next bake and I learnt amazing techniques and tips from them on the show. Rav and Liam were such nice people and it was a privilege to meet all of them.

Aside from baking, what is your next best hob?

I love drama and musical theatre which I have been doing at my local drama group for the last few years. We perform shows about twice a year; most recently I played Wishee Washee in our pantomime of Aladdin. I also love playing football and cricket.

If you were a cake at a children’s party what would you be?

I would love to a be a rainbow confetti cake as it’s so colourful and great fun when you cut into it and there is the surprise of sweets or chocolate that pour out from the middle!

Who is your favourite Bake Off celebrity?

I love watching all the Bake Off formats throughout the year, as I have been writing this I am reading all the updates about The Great British Bake Off which is airing very soon and I cannot wait! I watch every episode without fail and it has to be one of my favourite shows on TV. I love watching Matt Lucas presenting with Noel as he’s one of my favourite presenters and to see Paul and Prue judging like usual.

Follow Robbie on Instagram: @bakesbyrobbie