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Victoria rises to bake off challenge
CAKES, breads and pies cooked up by the boss of a Salisbury-based charity all deliciously feature in the next series of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.
Victoria Chester, who was one of the final 12 in the Great British Bake Off. Picture courtesy of BBC
Victoria Chester, chief executive of conservation charity Plantlife, based on Rollestone Street, saw off 7,000 baking-mad applications to be one of the final 12 contestants.
“I’ve watched every series of The Great British Bake Off and in a moment of late night online madness I sent an application in, secure in the knowledge that there was no chance I’d be chosen,” said Ms Chester, 50.
“When the production crew called me I was out walking and nearly fell into the hedge I was so surprised – but I managed not to squash the bluebells and eventually found myself standing in the famous marquee, ready to compete in series three.”
The show sees 12 of the country’s best amateur bakers face three challenges over two days and before their creations are offered up to the “king and queen of baking”, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins host proceedings and give the bakers support along the way.
Ms Chester said: “Two of my greatest passions are botany and baking. Saving Britain’s gorgeous wild plants and flowers during the day and relaxing in the evening baking cakes to share with colleagues and neighbours.”
The filming took place in the grounds of Harptree Court, Somerset, from the end of March until June and the contestants put in long hours to make sure their cakes came out perfectly.
Ms Chester, who lives in Somerset, said: “The camera crew have an uncanny knack of being there when something is going wrong. When you’re getting something out of the oven and the camera is there, you’re praying to the god of all things baked that it comes out as you wanted it to.”
Ms Chester started baking as a child and she said her signature dish would be a raspberry and blueberry sponge cake with a lime dressing. She said: “I think there were two highlights – the first was to get to work with Paul and Mary. Each programme was a bit like a master class and all of us would have loved to have more time with them. The other highlight was working with the other contestants. We formed a really close group and everyone was hugely supportive of each other.
The show begins on Tuesday, August 14 on BBC2 at 8pm.