A pair of pastry chefs from Cardiff have won Bake Off: The Professionals after warding off competition from some of the best bakers in the business.
Michael Coggan and Andrew Minto from Cardiff’s Gin & Bake made it a second consecutive success for Welsh contestants with Cocorico Patisserie also from the capital winning the coveted prize in 2020.
The Cardiff Bay chefs just pipped Julien Plumart from Brighton and The Lanesborough from London to win this year’s Channel 4 programme.
Their fancy desserts wowed the judges and put them above the competition with multi award winning chef Cherish Finden branding them as “the best dessert I’ve tasted today”.
Reacting to the news, the pair said “even getting to the final was an achievement, to win is next level.”
Read more:Bake Off The Professionals: Who are the Cardiff pastry chefs and contestants Andrew Minto and Michael Coggan
During the final, Gin & Bake’s Michael Coggan and Andrew Minto, who have been working together for less than a year, made an avant-garde Met Gala-inspired chocolate hat and a theatre awards-based croquembouche that could feed 60 people.
Andrew himself had to wear and model the chocolate hat which he described as “colour, high fashion and highly finished” adding “it’s couture darling, its couture”.
The yellow hat made entirely of chocolate and decorated with intricate butterflies and gorgeous flowers won them high praise from the judges.
Bake Off: The Professionals judges Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin with presenters Liam Charles and Tom Allen
(Image: Channel 4)
Co-judge Benoit Blin said: “I have to say my hat goes to you guys, you’ve got height, you’ve got width, you’ve got colour…you’ve nailed the brief.”
The other teams, Julien and Elise from Julien Plumart in Brighton and Kevin and Maria-Vittoria from The Lanesborough in London, struggled more with their bakes, which included a nightmare nougat for Kevin and Maria-Vittoria, so Gin & Bake came out of the first bake very strong.
Fellow judge Cherish Finden said “They are our dark horse” with Benoit adding: “Gin & Bake have done pretty well for themselves.”
For the final challenge, the bakers were tasked with creating a centrepiece for an awards show, with a theme of their choice, that serves 60 people and two extra desserts that serve 30 people.
Gin & Bake’s theatre awards show saw Michael creating the croquembouche, a tower of coffee crème pat choux buns covered in caramel, while Andrew worked on a raspberry, rose and pistachio petite gateau and a milk chocolate and hazelnut dessert.
However, the pair did run into problems when their glaze did not set properly meaning there were not able to decorate their desserts with edible gold dust.
Despite the difficulties with the glaze, they were able to finish their final challenge and continued to receive positive feedback from the judges with Cherish saying: “Love it, love it, love it!” about their desserts.
Andrew and Michael only met and started working together after they were both made redundant due to the Covid-19 pandemic and found new jobs at Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay bakery, Gin & Bake.
In a video message during the final when they received words of support from their family and friends both of them became emotional, as they had to live and work away from home while filming.
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