Life & Style

Kate Lyon, the 'Great British Bake Off' finalist, visits Chennai

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We catch up with Kate Lyon, Great British Bake Off finalist, on her recent visit to Chennai

Two years ago, when Kate Lyon competed in the Great British Bake Off, she drew praise for her unusual choice of ingredients and combinations.

From squid ink to jaggery, chole and potato curry, she rustled up some stunning dishes; and a lot of them had a heavy Indian influence. Take for instance, the potato curry pie she made. A quintessentially English dish, she gave it an Indian and vegetarian twist. Her chickpea bread in the final week had Paul Hollywood gushing as well.

“I do love Indian food. I had my first Indian meal at age two; my family loves eating the cuisine and would take me to a local Indian restaurant every Friday. So I do love a good biryani and paneer. South Indian food is so different and I love the poriyals; I like a healthy twist on things,” she says. In the city for a function in her boyfriend Karthik’s family, Kate is finally getting a taste of India. “I got to meet so many new people and witnessed an Indian ceremony. I also turned it into a mini vacation and got to see some of the country.”

Kate, who continues to work full time back in England as a health and safety inspector, admits that shooting for the Great British Bake Off did change her perception of baking. “I’d only been baking as a hobby for about two years before the show. It was just casual stuff where I’d bake treats and take it in to work and that sort of thing. So I didn’t really expect to hear back when I applied for the show. Once I did get in, it was a big whirlwind and quite intense,” she says, adding, “The show was tiring and hard work. But I’m glad I did it for the experience. I was always a massive fan of the show. I’d never baked professionally before, and being on the show taught me a lot. For instance, I’d never heard of an entremet, a French seven layered cake, which we had to bake for the Finals.”

Kate Lyon, the 'Great British Bake Off' finalist, visits Chennai

The show did bring its share of interesting moments for her. For instance, she once went shopping for ingredients and ended up buying about £30 of butter in one go. “During meringue week I had a trolley full of eggs. People looked at me strangely as I walked down the supermarket aisle. One man stopped to remark, ‘You really like eggs!’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’ I couldn’t tell them I was practising to make meringue for the show,” she laughs.

Balancing her job and the show was tough too, she admits, since nobody knew she was shooting for it. “It was top secret so I couldn’t tell anyone. I’d practise baking at home and take the treats to work to see what my co-workers thought, but I couldn’t tell them why I was baking so much. For the Finals week I rented an Airbnb and spent hours practising.”

Though she continues to work full time even after the show and baking has taken a back seat, Kate says she’s moved more towards recipe writing and testing. “I’ve been doing recipes for magazines and a few charities. I’ve also been in a few books. Now I’m looking to write a book of my own. Let’s see how that goes,” she says.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 3:02:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-great-british-bake-off-finalist-was-in-chennai/article26520831.ece

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