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What do you get when you take a perfectly scrumptious, 3D biscuit bake, toss in an intricately-designed, caged tart and top it with Olympic winner Christopher Hoy in cake formation? The answer is the youngest winner of The Great British Bake Off.
At just 20 years of age Peter Sawkins from Edinburgh, conquered the final, wowing judges with his custard slices and tempting them with his admittedly clumsy-looking but ever-so tasty walnut whip. However, it was his magnificent Christmas dessert tower that knocked the judges’ socks off.
Sadly, taking herself out of the running with her botched custard slices and last-place position in the technical was finalist Laura Adlington. However, when it came down to nabbing first place the decision was tantalisingly close. According to judge Paul Hollywood, finalists David Friday and Peter were neck and neck but it the end it was the difference between the ‘little bits of crisp on a choux bun’ and the ‘flakes in a rough puff pastry’ that propelled Peter into winning position.
His win won’t come as much of a shock to many; dubbed by Noel Fielding as the ‘Baby-face assassin’ for his baking prowess, Peter had been impressing judges from the get go. Of his win the self-proclaimed ‘bake-off nerd’ said,

“I can’t quite believe that I am here, I can’t quite believe that I made it onto the show, and I can’t quite believe that the show happened. This is going to be a really huge chapter in my life, and what a way for it to end.”

Peter’s chilled demeanour towards the challenges may have been the secret to his success. His wobble in jelly week aside, the baker mostly kept his cool stating ‘most of the weeks I was just having fun,’ but does admit the final took the level of pressure to new heights.
“The pressure is definitely on more for the final. It really felt a competition rather than just baking in a tent with your pals.”
This year’s bakers faced the usual extreme pressures of the tent under even more strenuous circumstances. The current global pandemic meant that they were further separated from their loved ones, as social distancing restrictions forced them to remain in a Bake-Off bubble, interacting only with those from within. Despite the peculiar set-up Peter admits there was also a lighter side to life confined to the tent.
“Filming in the bubble was certainly a unique experience inside and outside the tent. It was a very intense environment to be in but it was hugely fun whilst filming and also in our down time. You saw Paul on his moped, the crew doing yoga or playing rounders or tennis. It was like a grown-ups’ holiday camp for seven weeks.”
Bake Off winner Peter with fellow finalists
Of the friendships he’s built the Accounting and Finance student said:
“This year particularly all the bakers helped support each other through the journey, from day one. Bake Off has given me a whole new set of friends that share an obsessive love of baking. I didn’t quite expect to have made as strong connections as I have, and I know that we will all keep in touch. Dave and Laura were so supportive at the Final. It was so good to have that comfort and support.”
The tension of the Bake Off didn’t end with the win as Peter recalls the anxiety he felt at trying to board a plane home with his prized trophy.
“After winning the trophy I had to smuggle it on the plane back to Edinburgh. I was a bit stressed when we went through the scanners. And then it stayed on my family worktop in the kitchen hidden in a box. I can’t wait to crack it out of the box and give it as much use as I possibly can.”
While viewers could only salivate at finalists’ bakes on the screen, Peter’s household were in for a real treat.
“I watched the final with my flatmates, I made something similar to the choux buns in the Showstopper, so it did have an element of the bake in it! For lockdown reasons, it couldn’t exactly be a party but it was great to celebrate with my flatmates and have a few drinks.”
So, what’s next for Bake Off’s youngest winner? For now, Peter remains focused on his education stating:
“I want to finish my degree and I will continue to bake. That’s another two years, my studies are top priority.”
For the aspiring bakers out there who eager to put their cake-baking skills to the test Peter has a word of advice:

“If you enjoy baking and making friends, it’s worth applying no matter what your experience. The application process is interesting and challenging, and getting on the show is extraordinarily fun. You develop as a baker from the experience, so it’s worth giving it a crack.”

Peter will join Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 27 November at 8.00 pm on Channel 4.
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Janet A Leigh

Janet A Leigh

For more on the latest food ,TV and Film news follow me on Instagram @The_Hungry_TV_Junkie

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