A Co Tyrone woman will mix it with some of the UK’s very best amateur bakers in this year’s Great British Bake Off.
Imelda McCarron is hoping she’ll have the recipe for success when she steps into the famous Bake Off tent in series 9 of the hit TV show.
The 33-year-old, who works as a countryside recreation officer with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, will be among 12 contestants hoping to be crowned ‘Star Baker’ by impressing judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
Imelda is one of four siblings and was taught to cook and bake by her mother.
Now juggling a busy job and family life, she spends her evenings and weekends making soda breads, biscuits and treats for her father and son, and cakes that she takes into work to share with her colleagues.
Having a large family, Imelda is used to making big batches of her baked goods for large social gatherings, but she knows she’ll have to be on top of her game if she’s to take the Bake Off crown.
Looking forward to the Bake Off challenge, she commented: “I went in for me as a challenge obviously for the baking, but also to have the confidence of meeting new people, I don’t usually put myself out there personally.
“My friends will be so surprised, they wouldn’t think I would do something like this, and an auntie that I go to yoga with every week will want to know why I didn’t tell her!”
Imelda knows baking in front of the cameras is going to be a unique experience – the pressure of competition totally different from her normal routine in her relaxed country kitchen.
“It’s going to be so different. I am always in the kitchen, everything is to hand, no time pressure, you know where everything is. We have an open door policy, the kitchen is the heart of house. We live in the country and it’s very informal,” she said.
And if creating an ‘illusion cake’ happens to be one of the challenges, she already knows what she’d make.
“I would make a rugby ball for my son as he loves rugby. It would be made of fondant and have the Six Nations on it, and the laces would be textured fondant,” she explained.
Hosted by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, The Great British Bake Off will return to Channel 4 from Tuesday, August 28 at 8pm.