#BarbourLife - Andrew Smyth

We caught up with Great British Bake Off star, Andrew Smyth, to discuss what his earliest memories of baking are and what the future holds for him.

Date
December 20th 2016

You've credited your baking skills to your Mum and Nan. What's your earliest memory of baking, and what made you fall in love with food?

I remember reaching up to the countertop to help with stirring and mixing from a very young age, especially with my mum and gran's chocolate cake. It's something I remember from every birthday as a child.

From designing Jet Engines at Rolls Royce to The Great British Bake Off this year, what inspired you to enter the competition?

I've always been a big fan of the show and loved the combination of technical skill and creativity the bakers have to bring together. I love a challenge so I almost applied to Series 6 but talked myself out of it at the last moment. When this year came around I thought "let's go for it" and I had to take the plunge.

 Andrew wore our Barbour Tisbury Crew Neck Jumper, paired with our Barbour Seth Tailored Fitted Shirt.

 

It must have been such a privilege learning from the likes of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood on The Great British Bake Off. Is there anyone in particular who has inspired your work, or who you feel you have learnt a lot from?

For pure geekiness, I love Heston Blumenthal's approach to gastronomy and using the science of food to create spectacular dishes. On a more everyday level, the chaps at SORTED food have a great approach to get more young people cooking; I got their book at University and I've made the majority of the recipes in it.

When did you first come across Barbour? 

I first came across Barbour whilst studying at University, one of my friends in particular swore by her well-worn but perfectly functional Barbour jacket that was passed down to her. It always struck me that Barbour garments stand the test of time.

 Pictured our Barbour Classic Bedale Wax Jacket.

 

As we approach Christmas, what are your Christmas traditions? Are you in charge of the Christmas dinner?

Christmas for me means home in Northern Ireland. I usually assist where I can for Christmas Dinner but either my mum or aunt usually holds the fort very well! I tend to provide some sweet relief after the main meal and do something new each year.

We're all guilty of over-indulging a little around Christmas time - what's your favourite festive bake?

It would have to be a trifle! It's another classic we have at Christmas and although some may sneer at its retro nature, I love the endless possibilities for combining flavours.

Do you have a baking playlist? Is there a particular Christmas tune that you love listening to when making festive treats?

I tend to have music on when baking and enjoy a good jive round the kitchen. When it comes to Christmas, the old classic I love is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.

You seemed to rise to all the challenges on Bake Off, what does the future hold?

2016 has been such a fantastic year, I can't wait to throw myself into next year and take advantage of the opportunities that come my way. I would love to get into science and engineering presenting on TV but am also looking forward to more live baking demos which are great fun.

In case you missed our last #BarbourLife, we sat down with Calligrapher Chiara Perano, to discuss her creativity and Christmas traditions.