It’s quarter-finals week and the contestants were making onion soup or so it seemed as the tears flowed in the tent - we’ve come to expect blubbing from Briony and Manon maybe, but seeing a sobbing Kim-Joy was quite a shock.
Cooking is like kissing, you have to be confident - but for some spiteful reason, as the pressure racked up with the prize in sight - the judges chose this week to be hyper-harsh, crazily-critical and offer advice when it was too late. It deliberately unnerved the contestants, and Paul and Prue looking imperious as the bakers struggled didn’t help either.
Paul would have us believe that Danish Week was disastrous: perhaps he just got out of the bed on the wrong side. Noel, as per usual, just looked like he hadn’t been to bed at all. Sandi was delighted to have been given her very own week. The bakers all wore Hawaiian shirts in a tribute to Jon, who got the boot last week. Prue wore a top that resembled a tribute to all of Kim-Joy’s many baked animals, Paul looked as if he’d been baking in Hawaii too (without sunscreen for 200 years). The fashion was about as jolly as the mood got.
The first task was to make a sandwich, albeit an open one on rye bread. Rahul’s ramblings seemed as confused as his bread-making, Briony made two doughs that resembled a marble cake, Manon made a classic French loaf...in Danish week. Of course Kim-Joy made bumblebees out of hard-boiled eggs and fish out of, well, fish.
Briony’s sandwiches resembled doorsteps, or the famous trencher, where the bread replaces a plate. Rahul’s week started with a shocker: his bread was described as inedible, a mess, heavy, gluey and awful. Who knew a loaf could be all of those things? As expected, he crumbled and his week would only go downhill.
This week’s technical challenge is heinously difficult to pronounce, so I won’t try. Basically, it was a sort of apple doughnut that looked delicious, and the first thing I’ve seen on GBBO for a while that I would want to eat. Again, I’m ashamed to say, I’d never heard of them and am still none the wiser as to what they were. I’d eat loads of them, though. Rahul multi-tasked - whisking his batter and stirring his jam at the same time - but to no avail. His burnt offerings came in last, Briony was first.
There seemed to be a distinct lack of happiness from all and sundry this week: ‘The Joy of Cooking’ this aint. I’m hosting a Scandinavian cookery class at the cookery school on October 27 - fun will be an essential ingredient, even above the bumblebee eggs.
Day two and Noel had a shave. This week’s showstopper was a Kagelkone: I’m sure the judges choose tasks based on how hard they are for reviewers to spell. The aforementioned involved making a sculpture of Danish pastry and three sorts of confectionery. Briony made her Nan Pat, Ruby made her sister, Manon and Ruby made their friends and Rahul made an Indian King.
Paul, looking like a mahogany gargoyle, added to Manon’s stress by telling her she was using the wrong butter when she had already made her dough. Rahul had an expletive bleeped, Kim-Joy’s pastry theme was ‘off to the opera’ and was a masterpiece that you could hang on the wall. Prue and Paul were unimpressed, pointing out she had dough issues. All that effort, none of which was acknowledged. Briony’s Nan Pat resembled Giant Haystacks who had eaten everyone else’s pastries, and everyone else. It was huge.
It was a close call, but after much deliberation, Ruby was awarded star baker. I like Ruby, she’s sassy and swears like a proper cook. For the first time in this series, the grumpy judges got the big decision wrong: Manon was sent packing. Rahul, who had a nightmare of a week, burning two things and undercooking the other, stated during the programme that he was “doomed”, said “I don’t deserve to be here” and “I should go home” was mysteriously spared. What has he got on Paul? His nerves are shot, there’s no way back for Rahul: hopefully Paul will join him as they slouch off in search of a smile.