Squires Kitchen tutor leads team to Bake Off victory

The BBC’s quest to find the country’s best pastry chefs has come to an end after Mark Tilling and his team triumphed in the Bake Off: Crème de la Crème final.

Tilling, a patisserie and chocolate tutor at Squires Kitchen Cookery School, Surrey, was ably assisted by Samantha Rain of Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates, East Sussex, and Helen Vass, pastry chef at Glasgow restaurant Number 16.

In the final, broadcast on 17 May, they beat off the competition with a showpiece based on the life of a pastry chef, featuring such delights as mango mousse and margarita macaroons.

Bake Off: Crème de la Crème was loosely based on the BBC titan The Great British Bake Off. However, it pitted teams of professional competitors, not individual amateurs, against one another in a series of heats culminating in the grand final.

The show was presented by Tom Kerridge, owner of The Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, and was judged by some of the UK’s finest pastry chefs: Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London; and pastry consultant Claire Clark, who was awarded an MBE for her work in 2011.

On winning the show, Tilling said: “Wow. I don't know what to say. It’s just crazy. We’ve met some great people and seen some amazing things. We never stop learning in this industry. That’s what I love about it.”

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