What The Great British Bake Off taught me about being a creative

I don’t like The Great British Bake Off. There, my guilty secret is out. Sorry but I’m more interested in eating cake than baking or looking at them. Cookery shows just aren’t up there for me. I do however have a grudging respect for the show and a soft spot in my heart for Nadiya Hussain.

The Bake Off does a tremendous job of showcasing ordinary at home bakers and their extraordinary skills. It inspires people the nation over to push themselves and have a go. It’s lead to careers in TV for some contestants and new businesses for others. Ordinary people who never dreamed they’d be where they are today because of their love of baking. Nadiya Hussain for one.

Despite being so nervous on her first day of filming Bake Off that she was in tears Nadia went on to win. And since then Nadia’s written cook books and fiction and starred in her own TV programme. She even has an MBE! I know Nadia didn’t see any of that coming (checkout her website).

And it’s not that Nadia is now some super confident being who laughs in the face of fear. In fact she acknowledges she has anxiety and yet she still gets out there and does her thing.

For me that’s the beauty of the Bake Off. It shows there’s a hair’s breath between amateurs and professionals. Before Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood teamed up, how many home bakers were beavering away in their kitchens across the nation, unaware of just how good they were?

People like my Mum who cooked three different meals every tea time to please the fuss pots in our house. (Not me of course.) Each week she planned seven days of tasty home cooked meals, often followed by some gut busting afters. Week in, week out until, and beyond, the point we were big enough and ugly enough to make our own. Mouth watering pies and jam turnovers made from the leftover pastry. Mum didn’t realise what a stellar job she was doing. She would never have dreamed of being a professional. But restaurants have always known how awesome home cooking is. Just look out for words like traditional, home cooked or family recipe on the menus.

Most talented home chefs don’t realise how amazing they are. They just do what they do. The same as there are other talented makers sewing curtains, knitting booties, writing stories or painting pictures. You don’t appreciate the wonderfully creative things you do because you do them all of the time. Even if you do you might think you’re still a world apart from the people who get paid to do those things. But you’re really not.

All those Bake Off and Masterchef winners now running their own businesses were once just cooking for their families. The difference between them and you is they had the courage to apply for the TV show. What opportunities could you find the courage to take up?

Is there a publisher you’ve been fantasising about publishing your book? A craft fair coming up which would suit what you make down to a T? Have you imagined having your prints in a particular boutique? Maybe you’ve thought about putting up pictures of your creations on Instagram but never quite got around to it.

What if you reached out to the publisher, filled in the application for the craft fair, emailed the boutique or finally put those images up on Insta? Where might you find yourself this time next year? If you don’t reach out you could be one of the world’s best kept secrets, we’ll never know.