Is this finally proof that baking isn’t just for grannies?
The popularity of The Great British Bake Off has once again confounded stereotypes, with a teenager becoming the youngest ever contestant to appear in the cookery programme. Martha Collison said she felt “incredibly lucky” to have been selected to compete in the upcoming series of the hit BBC show.
Shouldn’t she be in college?
The 17-year-old baker filmed the show over the past few months while juggling her schoolwork. Miss Collison, who is studying food technology, maths and chemistry A-Levels at school in Sunningdale in Berkshire, said: “Never in a million years did I expect to get through the auditions, let alone on to the programme. It has been the best experience of my life and I have loved every minute of it.” She added: “I’m so grateful to the school for allowing me to participate and for all the support they have given me over the last few months.”
Does she know her croquembouche from her franzbrotchen?
Her grandfather rates her highly – though he might be biased. “She’s been into baking since she was about six or seven,” James Mason said. “She’s very experimental - she’s great at putting two things together and coming up with a winner.” He added that his granddaughter, who works in the delicatessen section of a Waitrose store, was not daunted by the prospect of competing against older contestants. “She’s a very confident girl,” he said. “She approaches the age difference as a challenge – it’s a brilliant achievement.”
What are her specialities?
Ms Collison, whose earliest baking memory is making rock cakes and pizzas with her mother, keeps her family and friends happy by whipping up batches of profiteroles and macaroons. She entered the Rotary Club’s Young Chef of the Year competition in 2012 and won the first local heat as East Berkshire’s Young Chef of the Year. She managed to scoop second place in the Thames Valley heat – despite setting her oven gloves on fire.