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Great British Bake Off: Portadown's Mark Lutton crowned tent's star baker for first time

Mark Lutton

Portadown man Mark Lutton was last night delighted to be crowned star baker for the first time in this year's series of the Great British Bake Off.

His bid to win over judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith saw him raise the bar during yesterday's chocolate-themed episode.

The latest signature challenge saw the bakers go back to basics, trying their hands at creating a batch of 18 perfect chocolate brownies.

They also attempted a chocolate and nut technical challenge before finishing up with an elaborate white chocolate showstopper round.

Mark's 'gimme s'more' brownies featured caramelised cranberries and Italian meringue on a cookie base.

"S'mores are something you usually have with marshmallows and biscuits over a campfire, so I thought I'd convert that into a brownie," he said.

Initially deemed neat and pretty identical, they received mixed reviews from the judges.

Prue said: "It tastes like a brownie. Overall I think it's really good job."

Paul added: "The biscuit base is too thick. I like your flavour, but I just think your textures were wrong."

Afterwards Mark said: "That was brutal. I mean brownies... what are people watching this going to think of us?

"We're meant to be the best amateur bakers in the country and we cannot make brownies to please Paul and Prue."

Things began looking up when the 32-year-old was placed third in the technical challenge.

His showstopper, inspired by his wife Laura's birthday, also impressed the judges.

In the end Sura Selvarajah became the fourth amateur baker to exit the competition.

As she left the tent, the 31-year-old pharmacy dispenser from London said: "I'm gutted, but what's done is done. I'm not going to be bitter about it. I have had a great time."

Previous Northern Ireland contestants have had mixed fortunes on the Channel 4 programme.

Holywood man Andrew Smyth came second in 2016 while engineer Iain Watters memorably lost his cool after his baked Alaska melted, causing him to throw it in the bin in a rage.

Dromore woman Imelda McCarron was the first contestant to leave in 2018.

Belfast Telegraph