Speaking ahead of the 2020 series of Bake Off: The Professionals, co-host (and former Great British Bake Off contestant) Liam Charles said there’s one question that always seems to be at the forefront of viewers’ minds.
He said: “I always get asked are [judges] Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden nice, and of course they are – they are genuinely lovely people who are really funny too – and they are my mates.”
It turns out it’s not just Liam who is a fan of the pair. Although they may seem fearsome when they are passing judgement on the professional pastry chefs competing in the series, the judges both have soft centres, and have come to recognise in that each other.
Benoit says of Cherish: “To be honest, she has such a great sense of humour, and I love that.
“She can be portrayed as tough and mean sometimes but she is a lovely lady with a kind soul.
“She is a perfectionist but that’s in her nature and really she is always trying to look after everyone on set and make sure everyone is ok.”
Cherish says: “I really enjoy working with Benoit and I love his sense of humour. He is a very talented and charming man.
She adds: “I am very similar to Benoit as we are very passionate about Pastry.
“I was very scared of him the first time I met him however the more I got to know him, the more I understand him. We understand each other’s strengths and we respect each other.
“Benoit always teases me by recognising my body language and knows on a judging that I am thinking ‘This tastes horrible and I would not want to pay for it. I want a refund.’”
Let’s hope none of the teams see that particular expression tonight as Chocolate Week gets under way.
The remaining teams are first faced with a secret challenge, which involves chocolate (as you would expect), but also one of Benoit’s favourite ingredients.
So, the pressure is definitely on, and with no recipes to hand, the teams are going to have to prove that they really know their stuff.
Then it’s on to the next task, which sees the teams construct tall, beautiful and technically precise mechanical chocolate showpieces, complete with 48 chocolate bons bons.
That would be tough enough in just five hours, but as the theme is robots, their creations must also have a moving part.
Which teams will make it through to the next round, and who will be hoping that they’ve mistranslated Cherish’s body language?
Even if the judges are tough, at least the teams will have Liam to give them a bit of sympathy, along with his co-host Tom Allen.
He now knows just how much pressure is involved in whipping up something tasty and aesthetically pleasing on TV after competing in sister show The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer, where he lost out to Alexandra Burke.
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