QFlavor Queen Laura Adlington, Kent’s Chief Digital Officer, won the hearts of The Great Briton Bake Off fans when it made it to the finale despite a series of messy, melted bakes, and having the messiest workbench the series has ever seen.
You seemed to spend a lot of your time in To bake crying with his head in the freezer …
[Laughs] I think it is the perfect image of 2020. Summarize this year. Being away from home for so long, working in a heat wave and under pressure, I was exhausted. The semi-final and the final were a step too far. I can laugh at that now, but at the time, I was mortified.
How did you keep your participation in the show a secret?
It was difficult. All my colleagues were worried because I had remained silent in the WhatsApp group. The neighbors thought that my husband and I had separated and I had moved.
When you made it to the final at Hermine’s expense, there was a backlash online. Was that painful?
It was a horrible few days, but I called him and a lot of people backed me up. I was bullied as a child and I wish I had stood up for myself more. I just thought, “I’m 31 now and keyboard warriors won’t tire me.” Trolling happens all the time: people are Strictly girls now, and it’s not acceptable. To bake it’s such a friendly and healthy show. I didn’t hurt anybody. I don’t make the decisions. But there is much more love than hate, so I try not to focus on the negative.
Paul Hollywood jumped to his support. That must have felt good
That surprised me because I don’t think I’ve done it before. It really went up in my estimates. They call Paul Mr Nasty, but he’s a softie at heart. A lot of people became Team Laura and I can’t tell you how much that meant. He had so many lovely messages. Some said it’s great to see someone like me on TV. Whether it’s because I’m plus-size, messy, or dyspraxic, people seemed to identify with me.
Didn’t you get a message from actor Emilia clarke too?
I couldn’t believe she knew I existed, but she wrote the most beautiful note. She called me a “damn baking queen.” love Game of Thrones, so I was crying happy tears.
You formed a sweet friendship with co-host Matt Lucas.
They say never meet your heroes, but he was very kind and down to earth. In the first week, when I was having a nightmare about my Freddie Mercury cake bust, he kept trying to help. It was also Matt’s first episode, and in the end, the producers had to step in and tell him that helping me wasn’t allowed. Freddie’s cake became quite a meme. I like to think that Freddie himself would see the funny side.
Are you still in contact with your fellow bakers?
We all talk daily in the WhatsApp group. I got especially close to Lottie and Sura. Dave [Friday, fellow finalist] He has just proposed to his partner Stacey and has his heart set on having the other 11 bakers prepare one level of the wedding cake each.
Are you proud that To bake provided comfort to watch in this strange year?
Very. Even Emilia Clarke said, “Thank you for lighting up our confinement.” I am honored to have brought a little joy this year, even if the laughs were often at my expense!
What’s next for you?
Exciting opportunities have opened up, so who knows where it will go? It would be great to share my passion for baking, as well as mental health and body positivity. I am still a volunteer for the Samaritans and will be working with them on something in January. I feel incredibly blessed. To bake It was a roller coaster but I don’t regret it.
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