Mark Tilling and team crowned winners of BBC2’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème

The Staff Canteen

Mark Tilling and team crowned winners of BBC2’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème

Mark Tilling's team showpieceAfter eight weeks of intense challenges and incredible showstoppers, last night Mark Tilling, Samantha Rain and Helen Vass were crowned the winners of BBC2’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème.

Having secured a place in the finals via a wild card, Mark and his team had a lot to prove winning over the judges with their final showstopper, a banquet piece needing to feed at least 100 whilst reflecting them as a team. Encapsulating the brief, the chocolate showstopper incorporated various kitchen utensils and dishes such as pots and pans, chopping boards, spatulas, etc. whilst also showcasing a variety of tasty desserts including rhubarb and custard tarts, gin and lemongrass panna cottas and coconut and rum dacquoise opera slices.

On speaking about the win, team captain Mark told The Staff Canteen: "It felt great, it was obviously very hard work but it’s very rewarding when you win.”

He added: "We had a high score in the first round but came second so we had to wait for all the other episodes to be filmed to know if we would be the higher runner up. So every couple of days we were waiting to hear from the production team to see if we actually got through, you don’t know what to do in that time, do you continue practicing or get ready? It was a bit of a waiting game.”

Hosted by two-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, the series followed several pastry teams whose technical abilities and skills were judged by Benoit Blin, executive pastry chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London and Claire Clarke MBE, who is widely regarded as one of the finest pastry chefs in the world.

Commenting on why they won, judge Cherish Finden said: “Such an amazing team, amazing showpiece, amazing cake, lots of technique, amazing, amazing , amazing.”

Fellow judge, Benoit Blin added: “I would say crème de la crème, crème de la crème, crème de la crème. That’s it, nothing more.”

Entering competitions as an individual, Mark found the competition to be a learning curve in having to deligate resposibilities and working with others.

He said: "I haven’t done a competition for a while and I’ve never done a team competition before so it was quite interesting to see how I would work with a team as I’ve only done individual competitions.

“I think with the pressure we had I can now work better under pressure because I know I can do it and how to get around things if something doesn’t work.”

Mark also told The Staff Canteen that he thinks competitions like Creme de la Creme are important to showcase the professional side of the industry and to help inspire others.

“I think it is amazing and I think it has helped the industry, and I think it has shown people what we can do. I think it is the first programme that has shown what professional pastry people can do under pressure and what we can do with sculptures, sugar, chocolate, etc.

“I think it has inspired a lot of people to go out there and learn and I think people want to know the next step, they want to know how to make entremets gateaux’s and finer pastry.”    

Mark is the Squires Kitchen’s Master Chocolatier and resident tutor teaching others the skills needed to succeed in the world of pastry. He met his teammates Samantha Rain and Helen Vass whist they were at Squires Kitchen where Mark is the resident tutor.

Bake Off crème de la crème will be returning for a second series following this year's success.

>>>Read: Mark Tilling, Squire Kitchen's Master Chocolatier

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th May 2016

Mark Tilling and team crowned winners of BBC2’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème