Luckily for anyone needing a periodic break from the often overwhelming daily flood of breaking news, a new season of The Great British Baking Show is now in full swing, offering a kinder, more peaceful alternative to that other ongoing competition blending reality TV and regular people from working-class backgrounds. Because of this innate kindness and the pure joy that comes from watching a group of nice, normal people create mouthwatering desserts in absurdly short amounts of time, however, it's easy to forget that the show is, at its core, a classic reality competition with winners and losers.
As much as we'd love to see every baker take home the coveted first-place cake stand, that is (unfortunately) not how reality TV works. And with three episodes and, accordingly, three Star Bakers and three eliminations under our belts, a few clear frontrunners have emerged from the pack of all-around delightful amateur bakers. Perhaps most promising of all is Peter Sawkins, the youngest of the bunch, who was the first Star Baker of the season and fits right into the very specific mold of many Great British Baking Show finalists before him: enthusiastic but underconfident twentysomethings with a wry sense of humor. Here's everything we know so far about Peter.
What's Peter's background?
Peter hails from Edinburgh, Scotland, and is currently a student at the University of Edinburgh. He's majoring in accounting and finance, and is also the president of the university's badminton club. At just 20 years old, he's the youngest baker on this season of The Great British Baking Show, and one of the youngest in the show's history. (For the record, the youngest-ever contestant was Martha Collison, who appeared on the show in 2014, when she was just 17.)
What is Peter's baking style?
In an all-too-perfect twist of fate, Peter was inspired to start baking when he watched the first-ever season of The Great British Baking Show when he was 12 years old, and has not missed an episode since. He likes to honor his Scottish background by incorporating traditional ingredients into his bakes, and has also impressed the judges with his solid grasp of gluten-free baking, thanks to his experience baking for his gluten-intolerant brother.
Additionally, according to his baking-centric Instagram page, Peter also loves to celebrate his family members and honor his hobbies and interests—tennis, the NBA, and Paddington Bear, to name a few—with themed confections.
A post shared by Peter Sawkins (@peter_bakes) on Mar 10, 2020 at 8:35am PDT
Early on in the season, he confessed that while time management and planning would be among his greatest assets in the Great British Baking Show tent, he might struggle with artistic decoration and bread-baking. Though he did indeed have some trouble in the "Bread Week" episode, Peter pulled through and will likely see his time management, creativity, and spot-on flavors carry him through the rest of the season—after all, all style and no substance makes Paul Hollywood a disappointed judge.
What has Peter baked so far in the competition?
In his Star Baker-worthy first episode, "Cake Week," Peter turned in a gluten-free chocolate and orange Battenberg cake and an edible bust of Scottish olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who shouted out his cake-ified likeness on Twitter. He also took second place in the technical challenge, with a near-perfect batch of mini pineapple upside-down cakes.
During "Biscuit Week," Peter took 10th in the technical (a dozen coconut macaroons), but impressed the judges with his sticky toffee florentines and an all-biscuit table set for the Scottish celebration of Burns Night.
Most recently, Peter's "Bread Week" was a bit of a roller-coaster: The judges found his black pudding- and ginger beer-flavored soda breads less than stellar, but he jumped back up to fourth place in the technical challenge of creating six rainbow bagels, before missing the mark with his bread plaque depicting the Edinburgh cityscape.
Fortunately, the remaining nine bakers will next tackle "Chocolate Week," in which Peter's technical abilities and attention to detail are likely to redeem him in the judges' eyes after a wobbly few days of bread-based challenges.
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