Bake Off: Dorret defies the curse
Accountants don’t have a great track record on reality TV. So it was good to see a project accountant from Preston make it through the first week of the Great British Bake Off.
The accountancy profession does not seem to have much luck with reality TV. Does anyone remember the series about a run-down credit control office in south London? Me neither.
Then there was Edward Hunter, the former Big Four audit trainee who crashed and burned through one episode of the 2011 series of The Apprentice. Roisin Hogan did a lot better last year, but her disappointing business proposal at the final stage just added to the pain of dashed hopes.
It was heartening to see the appearance of Dorret, a project accountant from Preston, in the more genteel environs of the Great British Bake Off tent in last night’s series opener. The one exception to accounting’s dismal reality TV history was Natalie Coleman’s 2013 triumph in the Masterchef kitchen, so the pressure was Dorret not to let the profession down.
With 12 contestants at the start, the early stages of Bake Off share some characteristics of The Apprentice and a typical horse race. You first need to differentiate the runners and to assess their stamina for the longer run, so long as they don’t fall at any of the early fences.
There were some weak looking candidates from the outset - mostly male. In spite of a few wobbles with her Madiera technical challenge, Dorret looked to be comfortably in the middle of the pack during the first two rounds.
Then came the Black Forest Gateau show-stopper round. In the early going it was good to see Dorret’s professional training come to the fore, but the portents were not good. “I’m 12mins behind schedule,” she confessed.
But a failure in the sponge department put her timings out and when she tackled her innovative mousse layer it wouldn’t set properly. After a period in the freezer, she brought it out to remove the supporting acetate and reveal a squishy, formless mess.
There was nothing she could do, but cry a little. Sue Perkins tried to be supportive: “It doesn't mean you'll go home.”
Sue had a point. Like a true professional, Dorret stuck to her assignment to the end and didn’t chuck the offending bake in the bin, as the temperamental Ian did in last year’s series. And things were also looking dicey for groovy hat-wearing musician Stu, who seemed unable to follow the briefs handed down by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
It was clearly going to be a very close call. Hollywood dismissed Dorret’s gateau for looking a mess, and said one of the layers was like rubber. Back in the judging tent, he commented, “If you fail at the show-stopper, you're in trouble.”
“It was an unfortunate day at the office,” added Mary.
The suspense was unbearable, but in the end Stu booked his ticket back to baking’s equivalent of Palookaville thanks to his soggy beetroot sponge.
“He tried to vary each thing but it just didn't work,” was Mary’s verdict.
Phew! Precision and accuracy triumphed in this episode over improvisational risk-taking, but Dorret’s going to have to up her game in the next few rounds if she’s going to live up to AccountingWEB’s expectations for vicarious glory and Born Dull?! immortality.
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