Candice Brown - Football, Baking, Lipstick and Heels
PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 August 2018
Candice Brown talks about the thrill of working with Tom Kerridge at Pub in the Park
Candice Brown scored the coveted Star Baker prize three times in the 2016 BBC series of Great British Bake Off and went on to claim the title for herself in the final episode, after creating a drop-dead gorgeous picnic showstopper fit for the Queen. Since then she has left her role as a PE teacher for special needs children and immersed herself in the world of baking (and ice-skating, but perhaps best to gloss over that) A column in the Sunday Times; pop-ups on Loose Women; a cookery book - Comfort: Delicious Bakes and Family Treats; joining the illustrious line-up of chefs at Tom Kerridge’s touring Pub in the Park event..it’s been non-stop. When we chat she’s recovering from England’s loss against Croatia in the World Cup, but, as you’d expect, finding the positive.
‘They did brilliantly and at the start of it we’d have bitten our hands off for third or fourth place; we’ll just look forward to the Euros now!’
I ask what drew her to Bake Off and why she thinks it’s so successful.
‘I loved Bake Off from the very first series,’ Candice says. ‘In a world where the mood can be very negative, Bake Off is kind and gentle and not designed to set people up for a fall or to battle against each other or for meanness, it’s just a lovely, quintessentially British programme that allows people to do something that they love so much and I think people need that – and everyone loves a bit of cake!
‘I never thought of winning. Even just getting on the programme, I just thought, “I’d love to do that”, never “oh, I can do that”. Week by week I never thought of winning, I never allowed myself. I’m not at all competitive, I just felt lucky to be there. Coming out I had no idea what to expect. It’s all just crazy and I’m so grateful for it all.’
There have been moments when people haven’t been so kind however, with for some reason there being rather a focus (mostly positive, but occasionally less pleasant) on her choice of lipstick, of all things.
‘Social media is incredible and in it all the negative side is very, very small. Lipstick is for me a confidence thing – put on your lipstick and your heels and stand tall. My mum always wore lipstick and I’m the same - when I put it on I’m ready to go. You can’t please everyone and some things do hurt, but it’s a very small percentage of what is otherwise incredible support for the opportunity I have been given.
‘Pub in the Park, for example: being invited by Tom Kerridge, one of my all-time food heroes! It was quite overwhelming. After the first demo I did I came off stage and just burst into tears and he was so lovely, telling me it was all fine!
‘I mean, there’s all these amazing chefs, Michelin stars and famous faces – and then there’s me! It’s just incredible; a weekend of incredible food, amazing music, great drinks, demos…it’s just a lovely event.
‘People can get to try lots of different food and experience the cooking of all these great chefs and be a part of something really special. For most people who go, they don’t get the chance to visit all these amazing restaurants and pubs – you can’t get there, or get a booking, or its too expensive, whatever reason, but here it’s all there for you.
And for me – every time it’s a learning curve. You can’t buy that kind of experience. I ask questions all the time!’
So, what are her plans for the Knutsford event?
‘I’ll be demonstrating a couple of recipes from my book but I will also be mixing it up for the season – but you’ll have to wait and see! I’ll also be doing a Q&A and a book signing. It’s so lovely, meeting and chatting to everybody – I do love to chat!’
Pub in the Park will be taking place in Knutsford on 7-9 September.