Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Great Irish Bake Off's Stephen Chisholm from Belfast is king of the castle

Stephen Chisholm from Belmont wins Great Irish Bake Off 2013 title
Stephen Chisholm from Belmont wins Great Irish Bake Off 2013 title

Baking and buildings seem an unlikely recipe, but not for one Belfast student with a passion for making bread and patisserie, who combined the two and ended up being crowned the inaugural Great Irish Bake Off champion.

A love of the built form inherited from his late architect dad inspired Stephen Chisholm and led him to culinary victory.

Last night viewers of the final of the TV3 competition – to find Ireland's best amateur baker – saw the 22-year-old from Belmont win the 2013 title after impressing judges with his petit fours and a spectacular gingerbread Dunluce Castle.

The ruined fortress on the north coast is a special place for the young baker, his four siblings and their mother Valerie, as they have many happy memories of spending time there with Stephen's father Malcolm, who sadly died last year.

Stephen said: "From a young age we were up and down to our holiday home in Portstewart, so as soon as I heard the final 'showstopper' theme was a bake that represents the built heritage or natural landscape of Ireland, I knew it had to be Dunluce Castle.

"I had a photograph of us all – with dad sitting on the wall – on my bench for the final, so that was a bit of inspiration for me.

"He was around to see me get into baking and I know he would have loved to see me on the show.

"He would have loved that I used a bit of architecture in the final."

Stephen told the Belfast Telegraph, now that the final has been broadcast, that he is relieved he didn't have to keep his win a secret any more.

Stephen, who was in the final with Maryanne Dalton from Dublin and Will de Korte from Limerick, said he enjoyed every moment of his Bake Off journey.

"I was so shocked when I found out I won," he added.

"I am really happy to be able to talk about it now."

The future is looking very bright for the University of Ulster student, who is also a ski instructor, a gym fan and a rugby player for Church of Ireland Young Men In Sport.

"I'm talking to the Belfast Cookery School about doing some classes for them.

"I would love to write recipes for magazines and share my love of baking with a wider audience."

The final can be viewed here

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