On your marks get set and Bake With A Legend

Ever felt really inspired and admire those contestants who took on The Great British Bake Off and never crumbled under pressure? well you now can learn from a variety of past contestants with their tips and hear stories about their time on the show while attending a class at Bake With A Legend.

I was gifted the opportunity to attend one of Bake With A Legend classes along with another Love Pop Ups London community member Katie of What’s Katie Doing in which we learnt via James Hillery how to bake his S’more Chocolate Tarts together.

Bake With A Legend

Bake With A Legend launched back in Autumn 2016 to provide keen home bakers fun and a unique baking experience along with some of the nation’s favourite bakers who appeared on The Great British Bake Off.  

Founder Josh was inspired to launch the business after programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef which motivated him to start baking for the first time! 

Bake With A Legend gives anyone the opportunity to have an unforgettable experience with some of the nations most loved bakers!

Their classes take place within high quality private venues, allowing all a unique chance to meet, learn new skills and bake alongside your favourite star from the well known much loved baking show.

As well as classes Bake With A Legend also can organise and cater for corporatebirthdaystag and hen events.

Bake With A Legend classes

Ever fancied learning how to make the most elegant eclairs, tarts or even bread?

Bake With A Legend baking classes are held across the UK, throughout the year in high quality kitchens, with all ingredients and equipment included!

3 hour class, including demos from a legendary baker who appeared on GBBO, baking time and post-bake socialising with the baking legend whilst sipping on a glass of prosecco/soft drink and tucking into their bake leaving you with your own bakes to take home.

£99 per person or £190 for a pair.

NOTE: Bake With A Legend are in no way affiliated to the TV Show The Great British Bake Off but work directly with many of the former contestants.

Plus

Ever fancied playing with a former professional footballer or cricketer then check out their sister companies Play With A Legend (founded in Spring 2014) and Play With A Legend Cricket (founded in May 2016). ​ 

Baking with a legend James Hillery

Bake With A Legend has a vast array of past bakers from The Great British Bake Off to learn from but I opted for the lovable James Hillery who appeared on series eight. Plus his class was all about chocolate and I am such a chocoholic.

The eighth series of The Great British Bake Off was aired on 29 August 2017, with it being the first of GBBO to be broadcast on Channel 4, after the production company Love Productions moved the show. Plus new hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig and new judge Prue Leith joined Paul Hollywood replacing hosts Mel and Sue and judge Mary Berry.

The eighth series was won by Sophie Faldo, with Kate Lyon and Steven Carter-Bailey finishing as runners-up.

James Hillery came fifth but he bought to the baking tent not only his great personality but superb bakes such as his Windy City Millionaire Shortbreads and his Orange & Ginger Pudding. Unfortunately though on episode five he lost his place on The Great British Bake Off as he failed to impress the hosts and judges that week with his take on a school pudding, his molten chocolate pudding, and his take on an ornamental trifle terrine.

On My Marks Get Set Bake

Bake With A Legend used for this class the famous Meringue Girls kitchen in Broadway Market on 21 September in which I, Katie and other keen bakers were ready to watch, learn by James and bake in pairs at our own stations ready to create James special S’more Chocolate Tarts.

What is a S’more Chocolate Tart though you might be asking? It is a biscuit tart filled with chocolate and topped with melted marshmallow or toasted gooey meringue.

Upon entering the kitchen of Meringue Girls the first thing that hit me was the glowing pink neon sign and the Bake With A Legend red apron which was draped over one of the kitchens stations.

Before learning and baking we firstly all sat down had a cup of tea, met each other keen baker, met with Josh the owner of Bake With A Legend and James Hillery past contestant on GBBO.

We were then all placed into pairs, but as I came along with Katie I paired up with her naturally but those who did not come with a baking partner Josh then paired those together.

James took us through step by step each element making the whole process easy to learn.

Firstly we were taught how to make the tart base by James which was so easy as it just involved flour, butter, baking powder, egg, and a few tablespoons of milk. After rubbing the butter into the flour it was then time to add all the other ingredients and fold together creating a ball of dough.

It was then time to roll out the pastry dough, cut around six individual tart tins and pressing the dough within them.

Once that was done onto blind baking which meant us covering our tarts with grease proof paper and cooking beans. This prevents the tart from becoming too dark in colour when cooking in the oven for 10 minutes.

Whilst the tarts where cooking we then learnt how to make the chocolate ganache. We warmed through cream in a pan on a lowish heat before taking it off and adding chopped dark chocolate into the cream and stirring until melted then on with some butter to give a creamy and shiny texture. After taking the tarts out it was then on with pouring the ganache into our tarts.

Now onto creating the meringue for the tarts.

With a clean bowl over a pan of simmering shallow water we whisked two egg whites along with sugar to cook the egg and create a meringue. Once the eggs had reached a certain temperature and consistency it was then time to take off the heat and whisk to a consistency of soft peaks.

The real test to see if your meringue is perfect is to hold over your head and if it does not fall out of the bowl then it is perfect and ready.

At this point it was time to pipe or spread onto our tarts before blow torching them to give them a caramelised look and taste.

Were we the star bakers of the class?

With our tarts looking perfect and even having James Hillery saying to us how impressed he was with our bakes and that he even thought ours was better than his were we the star bakers of the class. I certainly think we were with our perfectly cooked tarts, glossy chocolate and fabulous caramelised meringue peaks.

Bakers delight

Whilst our tarts got packed up into takeaway boxes we sat back to enjoy the delights of James baked tarts all whilst sipping on a glass of prosecco and listening to his stories about his time of The Great British Bake Off.

Bake With A Legend

James tarts were a real treat. The biscuit tart had a nice crunch, followed on by the heavenly dark rich gooey rich chocolate and sticky caramelised meringue really taking me back thinking of the many campfire nights I experienced when I was a child toasting my s’mores.

Now ready to head off home and enjoy my own S’more Chocolate Tarts along with a lovely cup of herbal tea. I think the Chai tea by TeaPigs will work perfectly.

Me, James Hillery and Katie

About James Hillery

James lives in Essex with his wife Ann, two sons Oliver & Ethan and their three chickens Sparkles, Superman and Jeff. James describes himself as a bald, baking banker from Brentwood with a bad back. His friends say he looks more like a bank robber than a banker. Always keen to embark on a challenge, James also trained as a port diver for the Royal Navy Reserves, where it was his job to keep the ports clear during the cold war. When he’s not banking in Canary Wharf, James loves to spend his free time in the fresh air at his allotment, growing fruit and vegetables to incorporate into his bakes. James’ main baking influence is his father, Brian, who first taught him to bake over 40 years ago.

taken from The Great British Bake Off

James told us many stories and interesting facts about his time whilst on GBBO and here is what we discovered.

  • When did you start learning the love to cook? 4 years old with my father who got me into baking.
  • Apart from your father which celebrity chef or baker inspired you? Gordon Ramsay and Paul Hollywood from their earlier years.
  • What did you feel when you saw the GBBO tent? When you see the tent as you arrive in the grounds I got goose bumps and I certainly found out later that it is harder baking a cake in the tent than working in the city? 100 times, way harder! What is your favourite dish? Sour dough bread toasted with Marmite.
  • Where is the GBBO tent set up? In Welford Park in Newbury, Berkshire which is a beautiful stately home which King Henry VIII owned and lived. For American and celebrity specials the tent is taken to Pinewood Studios.
  • Favourite week on GBBO? It was bread week as I nearly got a handshake by Paul Hollywood but this was never aired on TV sadly.
  • Worst baking disaster? When my chocolate fondant on GBBO was too runny and a disaster in which saw me sent off home. I luckily got away with a caramel disaster the week before, where I left out a lot of sugar in my caramel for my millionaires shortbread. But luckily that was not spotted.
  • Are you told and given time to practice bakes before the show? Yes we are usually given a week. We are told a high level brief what the signature bake and showstopper should be based on. But they do not give us any details of the technical, the bakers just try and guess it based on the theme of the week. The instructions we get when we lift the tea towel and also we see the ingredients for the first time. The instructions are vague. We never get any hint on the technical challenge ahead of lifting the tea towel.
  • Which contestants from GBBO have impressed you? There has been a lot of inspiring bakers who have baked on the show but in particular I admired Edd Kimber passion who won the first ever Great British Bake Off and has now made a career out of it showing us all that the show can change lives and make dreams come true.
  • Who have you always wanted to meet from GBBO contestants who you have not met yet? Henry Bird from current series as he has a lot of skill and Martha Collins from the fifth series who is super talented.
  • Where is your favourite bakery? E5 Bakery for their sour dough and many smaller bakeries within Broadway Market.

Verdict

Bake With A Legend was the perfect cookery class. I love that fact that you can cook along with those that have appeared on The Great British Bake Off as it is a real treat in meeting one of these inspirational contestants who are not famous (well maybe not yet) and have so many great stories to tell about their time on the show as well as about their own personal life.

I would highly recommend if you love baking and have always wanted to meet a past contestant from The Great British Bake Off as they are legends.

Book with Bake With A Legend ​

Office address:
2b Redbourne Avenue
London
N3 2BS​

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 – 18:00

Classes are held within a variety of high quality kitchens around the UK.

All upcoming classes can be discovered and booked via clicking here.

Participants for classes must be aged 12 years or over. Those aged 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Individual tickets cost £99 per person, whilst a pair can be purchased for a discounted rate of £190.

NOTE: All classes are subject to a minimum of six attendees signing up. If the minimum number is not met, we will inform those who have purchased a place no later than 10 days before the class, and will offer a full refund, or a place at an alternative class of their choice.

Thank you to Bake With A Legend for inviting me down to bake. All views are of my own honest opinion.

Click below to be redirected to read the other community members view who joint me on the morning to cook with James Hillery. Her views are of her own honest opinion.

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