baker Exclusive interview with great Irish Bake Off finalist Will
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“We were really thrown in at the deep end” Barbara Crabtree chats to Will de Korte and gets all the GIBO gossip
Will creating his finale showstopper cake, inspired by Hook Lighthouse
Will’s Dutch-inspired cake
eeing myself on TV was so weird at first,” muses Will de Korte, runner up of TV3’s Great Irish Bake Off. The competition, which came to an end this week, saw Will finish behind Stephen Chisholm. Will is quick to compliment his fellow competitors, particularly Stephen. “I’ve met some extremely talented people and some great friends through the show, and I can honestly say the best man won. Stephen’s knowledge and skills are superb.” Born in Limerick to a Dutch father and English mother, Will has been around baking his entire life. His father and grandfather were a confectioners and cake decorators. Strangely though, it is actually his mother who he cites as his baking inspiration, and he describes how his father discouraged him from pursuing baking. “He told me about how hard the work is, and all the late nights can really impact your social life,” he says with a laugh. It seems that his Father’s advice stuck, as up until now Will has been strictly a social baker, making a living in the IT sector. Before applying for the show, which celebrates amateur bakers, Will thought he had a fair idea of what he was getting into. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off, so when I heard about an Irish version I jumped at the chance to compete”. In reality though, it seems the competition is much harder than it looks on television, and trying to work with a television camera in your face really cranks up the pressure. “We had no practice at all in the kitchen before we started; we were really thrown in at the deep end. Getting the hang of the equipment was tough, but if you are a good baker your skill will always shine through. A bad baker will always blame their tools.” On the subject of the programme itself, Will has one or two criticisms. In his opinion, the programme puts too much emphasis
on the visual element of the baking and not enough on taste. “I made a perfect chiffon cake one week and it was basically ignored. As well as that, it felt like the judging was a bit imbalanced. We’d all receive great feedback but now [having watched the programme] I’ve seen that the judges could do a complete 180 and say something totally different behind the scenes. Judging is one element of the show I still don’t fully understand.” Overall though he is very proud of the programme he was a part of. Looking back on the show, he wishes he’d done some things differently. “I wish I’d practiced more, and I wish I’d spent time before filming thinking of ideas for bakes” More positively, Will wouldn’t give up his experience for anything. “I would do it all again in a heartbeat, I’ve never experienced anything as fun.” He hopes that the public saw him for who he was, a normal guy who loves to bake. As for the future, Will has a few ideas about what he’d like to do next. Professionally, Will intends to finally become a baker fulltime. Since the show has started airing he has
been approached by many young fans who have told him they’ve been inspired to bake by him. “I feel really honoured when I hear that, I’ve always wanted to teach and I suppose in a way I did that.” When asked about creating a cookbook Will said he would love the oppor- Clonabreaney House tunity but doesn’t see it happening any time soon. Currently he’s satisfied with updating his blog, The Cook’s Belly, and spending time with his fiancée. His main focus at the moment is wedding planning. Next May he will be marrying his fiancée Joanne, fittingly at Clonabreany House, where the Great Irish Bake Off took place. Of course, he will be baking his own wedding cake.
Will (right from centre) with his fellow contestants