I am the self-proclaimed Wild Card baker, I have yet to win the Wild Card Bake Off (and very bitter about this) and it has become an office joke that my Mary Berry skills are not quite how I would like them to be despite having a passion for baking.

Thanks to Wild Card’s people initiative ‘Make Me Better’ I was fortunate to win a place at the prestigious Ashburton Cookery School on their five-day long patisserie course. This was one of the BEST things I have ever done.

From Pork Pies, Focaccia, Baguettes, Croissants, Macarons, Marshmallow, Gateaux, Puff Pastry, Tarts, Sweet Pastry, Mousses, Choux Pastry…..the list is endless! I have made patisserie treats that I never thought I would be able to make, and without blowing my own trumpet, they looked and tasted AMAZING.

My tutor was Colin Bennett, a totally inspiring chef.  With an amazing background, I learnt so many tricks of the trade and the science behind baking. I could listen to Colin talk about patisserie all day! One of my favourite parts was how he would refer to us students as ‘chef’ setting a true kitchen environment.

My favourite thing to bake?

Pork pie – I wasn’t even sure if I liked pork pies but didn’t even want to share mine with Dad who LOVES them!

The most challenging bake?

Tarts! That pastry is soooo fiddly and I very nearly had a tantrum

The tastiest bake?

Macarons, I even took home some of Colin’s

The most effort bake?

Puff pastry – it’s so needy

The most technical bake?

Tempering chocolate and making chocolate straws. I now have so much appreciation for the patisserie chefs that make them. It takes such a long time and has a real knack…something I obviously aced #TeachersPet

The most impressive looking bake?

The celebration gateaux which my Wild Card colleagues devoured in a matter of minutes.

I was very sad to leave the Ashburton Cookery School and would highly recommend the courses! What was great about the course was that I have been able to take away the skills I have learnt, not just for home baking purposes but for some of our clients.  I have been able to use some of those skills across our food PR accounts such as recipe development and tips.

I am definitely going to win the great Wild Card Bake Off and I am sure I will be launching my own ‘Holly Bake’s’ book soon..watch this space.