10 minutes with... GBBO's Peter Sawkins

2020 GBBO winner Peter Sawkins tells us about his new book, as well as sharing insights and top tips to make your baking stand out from the crowd…

30th Nov 2021

Hi Peter! Tell us more about your new book, Peter Bakes

I first baked with my mum, making very simple things such as flapjacks, shortbread and packet cupcake mixes when I was five or six. At the age of 12, I was inspired by watching GBBO series 3 with John Whaite and James Morton.

From that point, I became obsessed with the process of baking and wanted to gain as much technical knowledge and understanding as possible.

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How would you describe your baking style and where do you get your recipe inspiration from?

I'd describe my baking style as fancy home baking. I still love baking the most simple recipes, however, I also enjoy taking on a big baking challenge or tackling more intricate patisserie.

My recipe inspiration comes from all over. I have a big collection of baking books, I love watching TV and YouTube, and I get inspired to try new techniques through these platforms. I also love being inspired by the ingredients that are around me. There is a recipe for rhubarb and orange pudding in the book. This recipe wasn't originally planned to be in the book, however, I'd picked up some gorgeous forced rhubarb from a local grocer and knew I had to work a recipe around it to celebrate it.

Can you share your top tips for baking beginners?

Start with simple recipes and practice loads. Without even realising it, when you bake, you pick up baking intuition which will help you out when you try more complicated recipes down the line. There will be some baking disasters (I still have loads), but all you need to do is cover that in custard, enjoy it and try to learn where you may have gone wrong and fix it the next time.

We loved watching you on The Great British Bake Off! Do you have any stand-out memories or secrets you can share?

I had the best time baking in the tent. The general memory of filming in the tent is vivid. In real life, the tent looks exactly the same as on tv, however, you don’t see how many crew members are packed into the tent when you're watching the show. It’s an incredible operation with a brilliant team of producers, camera operators, sound operators, directors, home economists and more. The team are not only great at their job, but they also create a positive environment that's so much fun in which to work.

What was your favourite challenge in the GBBO tent?

My favourite challenge was the ice cream cake. I love ice cream and was really connected to my recipe. I was making a Christmas themed ice cream cake on one of the hottest days of the year, the tent reached the mid-high 30s that day. It was such an odd combination of things to be doing, but I had a smile on my face the whole day.

You’ve got friends coming over for dinner but you’re short on time... what’s your go-to dessert?

I went to a friend’s house for dinner last week and I'd offered to make pudding, but was short for time. I ended up making the apple galette from the pastry chapter in my book. I put it all together and baked it, including making the pastry, in about 1 hour 15 minutes which I don't think is too bad.

If you had to pick one recipe from your new book that you think everyone should try, what would it be and why?

I struggle to recommend individual recipes because I've worked on all of them so closely and am a fan of them all, however, I'd suggest that people try the chestnut and pear cake. I think it's an incredible flavour combination and one that not many people have eaten very frequently. I'll also shout out the sticky toffee puddings. STP is my favourite pudding, and the recipe in the book is my ideal version of the bake.

What’s next for you?

I'm excited to see people reading and baking from the book, and I hope people find great value and enjoyment from it. I have two years of university left, but I hope to run it alongside as much baking work as I can. If an opportunity for a second book came about, that would be incredible, and I would love to venture into the world of tv.

Right now, I'm enjoying all the opportunities that come and am just trying to work hard at each one and see where it goes.

Last updated 10 months ago

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