10 minutes with… Junior Bake Off’s Fyn French

Get to know Fynlay 'Fyn' French, 2021 Junior Bake Off contestant as he reveals what it was like taking part in the show, where his love of baking came from and his advice for any young bakers aspiring to follow in his footsteps...

29th Sep 2021

What age did you start baking?

I’ve always been in the kitchen with my mum since I was tiny. Then when I was three, I started going to my surrogate granny’s once a week and we would bake together. So I learnt a lot from all the women in my life – but now I’m teaching them! 

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Where did your love of baking come from? 

I'm a proper foodie. I just love food! Always have. I like strong flavors too like smoked salmon, olives and curry. I'll try anything. I love to experiment in the kitchen – sometimes it's like a crazy science project when I make up flavour combos or don’t have the right ingredients so I try different things to see what happens. But mostly, I love it when my food makes people happy.

What’s your favourite bake to make?

At the moment, I'm making a lot of vegetable cakes. I don’t like wasting things. I've grown lots of things in my garden and I've been using them in my bakes. I like doing rustic courgette cakes and beetroot brownies. These taste amazing, but I don’t have to spend ages on the decoration. I only do that for special occasions, when I have time to do it carefully and slowly. I definitely go more for flavour than presentation. 

Fyn French vegetable cake

What encouraged you to apply for Junior Bake Off?

I literally was watching the show with my mum and the advert asking for kids to apply came up at the end. I just said, “Mum, I want to do that. Can you help me apply?” She laughed and said, “It's worth a shot.” So we did. I couldn’t believe I made it through the first round of applications, let alone made it onto the TV show. 

What was it like appearing as a contestant? 

I was sooooo excited. But super nervous. When I saw the tent for the first time I was shaking so much. It's so strange seeing something from TV in real life. But it was the best experience of my life. I made some great friends and got to do things I'll never forget. It was so much fun.

Tell us about your funniest moment on the show…

Well, I'm a bit of a messy fool, so I laughed a lot. It was super funny when I put a whole pot of chilli powder in my bread dough and it gassed out us all in the tent. So I had to remake it, obviously! Or I might have killed the judges! Playing the guitar and singing with Harry Hill was pretty awesome too. 

Fyn French with signed guitar

What was your biggest learning? 

The most important thing I learnt was to read instructions properly. But really, I just came away thinking that I should always try my best and go for any opportunity, no matter how big or scary! 

What advice would you give to young bakers aspiring to follow in your footsteps? 

Just go for it. Try your best and see what happens.

Baking is a great hobby and it brings people together because I think everything I bake is baked with love. My application and filming all happened during lockdown, so really, baking saved me from boredom. It was great – I baked for all my family, friends and neighbors to get some practise in. But I think it helped make everyone happy when they got some of my treats delivered. I also spend a lot of time looking at recipe books and online at different ideas and it’s a good way to learn about flavour combos and techniques.

Fyn French lemon cake

Any top baking tips for our readers?

  1. I like to weigh out all my ingredients first. It helps to keep me organised!
  2. Always chill your cookie dough in the fridge before baking it in the oven. 
  3. Think about substitutions if you don’t have all the ingredients. E.g. 1 egg = ¼ cup mashed banana, butter = vegetable oil, buttermilk = milk mixed with 1tbs lemon juice. 

What’s next for Fyn French?

Maybe one day I'll be the next Liam Charles?! I'd love to present the Junior Bake Off show. 

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