Great British Bake Off crowns winner after close final
Rahul Mandal has been named winner of the Great British Bake Off after a bumpy path to the final.
The research scientist, who has struggled with confidence throughout the series, beat Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy to triumph in the competition, despite a disaster in his last challenge.
Rahul, 30, who moved to the UK from India as a student and now lives in Rotherham, had to restart his showstopper after the 32C heat in the tent caused a storage jar on his workbench to shatter, sending glass everywhere.
He began recreating his rock garden landscape dessert, featuring buttercream plants, choux rocks and chocolate orange mounds, from scratch after throwing away anything that might have shards in.
Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood ultimately gave him extra time at the end of challenge to make up for the 15 minutes he lost.
After he was named the winner, he said: “This is probably the first time that I have got something like this, like a trophy.
“I talk so much, most of the time, and I just don’t know what to say now. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, I just feel I need to talk with my mum.
“What’s next for me? I am going to start learning how not to say sorry so much… sorry about that.”
He later admitted he thought the glass breaking signalled the end of the road for him in the competition.
He said: “It broke into a thousand pieces and went in everything so it all had to be chucked, it almost broke me and I really thought that was it for me.
“Fortunately I was able to prove that I could finish it.”
Earlier in the episode Rahul impressed the judges with his doughnuts in the signature challenge, despite never having eaten one before the competition.
Hollywood described his doughnut filled with mango creme patisserie as “like a mango bomb”.
His spiced orange ring doughnut, heavily decorated with buttercream flowers, was more of a misstep and host Noel Fielding joked: “They are like a doughnut you would get at a funeral, can you lay some on my gravestone when I die?”
All three contestants struggled during the technical challenge, when they had to leave the tent and bake outdoors for the first time.
Tasked with cooking six pitta breads and three dips on top of a campfire, the trio all found managing the flames to be an unexpected difficulty.
Rahul branded his breads “an utter disgrace”, while Ruby said hers were “diabolical”.
Kim-Joy fared slightly better and went on to win the challenge, with Rahul coming second.
After crowning Rahul the overall winner, Leith said: “I think the amazing thing about Rahul and why I am so proud of him is that he came in unconfident, but he just kept going, and he never reined in his ambition, he always tried to do a bit more than everybody else, and it paid off.”
Hollywood added: “He is one of those characters that you will miss when you are not with him.
“You know his intensity sometimes is amazing, and he is so good at what he does, but I don’t think he realises still how good he actually is and I think that’s what’s magic about Rahul.”