A Wellingborough dentist says she had a ball despite her desserts being her downfall on the Great British Bake Off.
Deborah Manger, who works at Isebrook Hospital in Wellingborough and heads up a team of dentists who provide special care dentistry to people in the county, was one of two contestants to leave the hit show last night.
Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood set the bar high for puddings week, asking the bakers to make a signature trifle combining biscuit, cake, jelly or custard in distinct layers, floating islands and a showstopper of 24 petit fours.
The third round of the series started badly for Mrs Manger, 51, after she mistakenly used Howard’s vanilla custard from the fridge instead of her own, and her time in the bake off tent didn’t get much better after that.
Her floating meringue islands failed to win the technical challenge and the judges said her showstopping petit fours tasted better than they looked after problems getting them out of the mould.
Speaking to the Telegraph today (Wednesday) about the stolen custard, Deborah said: “You use the same equipment and three or four of us were using the same fridge.
“Howard and I were both making vanilla custard so I should have thought about it.
“I was dreading watching it.
“I just felt like I was having a complete nightmare.
“It was good to see it though, it made me laugh a lot to see it back.”
But surprisingly the custard was not her worst moment – that was the petit fours.
Deborah said: “The custard I could have got over. I was beating myself up over it, but after we had shot it, Mary came and said to me it’s silly, it’s only one item.
“But I had practised and practised my petit fours, and used them for parties and they had worked.”
Deborah says she still doesn’t know what went wrong, whether she made a mistake with the recipe, whether the conditions in the tent may have affected the bake or just tiredness.
During filming, the bakers are doing 14-hour days and have the cameras on them for any moments of brilliance or mishap.
Deborah said: “You notice the cameras sometimes, but for the best part of it you don’t.
“You have to tell them when you are going to take something out of the oven. They want to see that, it’s part of the story.
“Watching it back, you ask do I really look like that, do I sound like that and do I frown like that? I thought I was frowning terribly!
“But I sort of got used to it.”
Despite the pressure of cooking under timed conditions, as well as being under the watchful eyes of the judges and the cameras, Deborah actually felt cold in the tent.
She said: “I feel the cold really badly so in week one Mary said I needed to put more clothes on.
“I hadn’t taken enough clothes with me.
“So then I turned up with sweaters and scarves on.”
But sadly the baking experience had to come to an end for the dentist, who has been baking since she was 11.
Mary and Paul revealed their decision during last night’s show and Mark was told he would be leaving.
But for the first time in the show’s history, the judges were allowed one week where they could send two bakers home and Deborah was the second one to be told to hang up her apron for the last time.
Their departure means they will have to watch from the comfort of their own sofa as the remaining bakers tackle pies and tarts in next week’s episode.
So it is back to the day job for Mrs Manger, who is employed by the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and her work takes her across the county, treating those who cannot make it to a regular dentist for various reasons.
But would she do it again given the chance?
She said: “I would do it again, but only better!
“I just had such a ball.”
And for anyone thinking of applying for next year’s show, Deborah has a few tips.
She said: “If you are going to apply, make a good job of the application form as that’s one of the first things they see and you need to put photographs of your baking on there.
“They have tried to make a feel good programme and I think they have achieved it.
“They don’t try to make people look silly and you will have a wonderful time.”