Posted 6th Oct 2015
Currys have teamed up with Great British Bake Off finalist Luis Troyano as part of a campaign to get people re-using their kitchen gadgets to cook and bake delicious food from scratch in time for National Cake Week (5th to 11th October). To celebrate we spoke with him to find out more about his Bake Off experience
How has life been since the Bake Off?
Wow, where do I start? My life has been turned upside down in the most amazing way. I gave up my old day job and now focus on baking activities. I was very privileged to get the opportunity to write my book Bake It Great and that took quite a lot of time to do. I also now do food styling for photo shoots and commercials, hold afternoon teas at the Farmers Arms in my home village of Poynton, as well as catering for private events and corporate functions. I also teach people how to bake at Seasoned Cookery School and will be working at many of the food festivals held around the country this autumn. You can view my schedule of where I’ll be on my website, www.luistroyano.com. I’m also currently the baking ambassador for Currys. Long term, I would love to have my own bakery, something I’m currently investigating.
What was the highlight of the show for you?
The Bake Off was a totally amazing experience. I can’t honestly think of one low as it was such a privilege being given the opportunity to take part. Some real highs were getting the infamous Paul Hollywood handshake in bread week as well as the star baker accolade. Getting to the final was just the best feeling in the world.
What was your toughest moment?
When you get to the final your family are there on the second day outside the tent whilst you are baking away and working in the final showstopper. It was really tough not being able to go outside and see them. All three of us competing were a little emotional too which made things really difficult. Challenge-wise, I really didn't get on with self-saucing puddings!
Have you tried overcoming some of the baking challenges at home since?
The Bake Off really changed me as a baker. Some of the tougher challenges now seem really easy. I frequently make the breads from bread week and the tiramisu cake we got as a challenge. I've yet to have another go at my George and the Dragon biscuit sculpture though! I really champion and encourage people to have a go at making their own bread. So many people own a Kenwood KMix or KitchenAid mixer, yet have never tried using the dough hook to make a really great loaf of bread.
Why is cooking from scratch so important to you?
First and foremost I know where every ingredient has come from. I think it's also really important to try and eat seasonally and support the local economy. There's so many additives in some processed foods so I tend to stay clear. Also there's the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself from scratch as well as the opportunity to be completely creative. I'm a big advocate of making my own decorations for bakes, which is something that my book Bake It Great covers in real detail.
What are you top tips for baking at home?
Mary Berry told us in the tent once 'read the recipe twice' and that really is solid advice as many of us skim read and miss some important points. I would also say start off with simple bakes and gradually up the difficulty level. Finally, ingredients always at room temperature as it makes a huge difference to the outcome of a bake.
What do you most enjoy baking now?
I bake all sorts daily. However, when I'm baking for myself I usually pick a flavoured bread or custard tart.
What's next for you?
Well my book Bake It Great was released recently and it has a huge array of bakes to have a go at as well as being crammed with all the knowledge and tips I have gained over the years. If anyone would like to try my bakes I hold regular afternoon teas at the Farmers Arms in my home village of Poynton and they are now taking bookings for the new year. I'm all over the country demoing too, so if anyone would like to say hi or come to one of my cookery courses visit my website at www.luistroyano.com to see the full schedule.