The Great South African Bake Off season 2 winner Cait McWilliams cheers on new contestants

2017-08-14 10:00

Cape Town - tvplus chatted to The Great South African Bake Off season 2 winner Cait McWilliams at this year’s Bastille festival in Franschhoek in the Western Cape, where she was showing a room for of rather shy people how to make our bakes look their best.

She’s already well on her way to making her dreams of being a pastry chef come true, and is hard at work on her culinary school studies.

As season 3’s contestants prepare to start shooting this month in preparation for the series’ return to BBC Lifestyle in October this year, Cait had a couple of words of wisdom for them. “I love the fact that there’s a new season of Bake Off because I'm so excited to watch it,” she says. “And I know exactly what they're going to experience and I’m so excited for the new contestants. I can’t wait to get into that.”

What should this year's contestants practice at home?
I think I practiced everything at home. Every single bake that I knew I was going to do I practiced. I had to develop 18 different recipes -- because you have to develop your own, you can't copy a recipe because then it’s not your bake. I practiced all 18 hoping I'd get to the end so the practice wouldn't be in vain. At the same time I learned a lot. And then for technical - which really is something you only find out in the tent - there's no secret TV magic where you've been practicing.

When they say it, that's when you know. I had this little book where I guessed every technical that I could try and practiced, And the night before I had all my cookbooks in my hotel room, and I just read through them. All my luggage was about 27kg overweight because it as packed full of books. I have a little collection. And then also online, I googled. For bread week I was googling ciabatta, I was googling different knots, pretzels which I’d never made. Things like that. The internet and any cookbooks you have, just read through them. It's going to help no matter what.

I think if you can’t practice every bake, at least read up about it. In the first technical with the bee sting, I had never heard of it because it wasn’t one of my guesses. And if I had just known about it I could have done a better job. So try to get as much technical knowledge as possible. So even thought the recipes aren’t the same you can at least know okay, this is what it’s supposed to look like and you can have the image in your head. So I think the main thing is practice, read and do everything you can to prepare.

How did you keep up your mental game all the way to the end?
I had a very good support system. My family came up to Joburg every weekend. I was 18 and it was the first time I was leaving home. So have a good support system or even just make sure you support yourself. Like if you need to sleep, have a sleep. If you need to eat, eat it doesn’t matter, but keep yourself healthy, energized and happy during the process, Because its very easy to get sick or stressed or exhausted and that's not going to help you in any challenge.

So you have to make sure you maintain a good sleeping and eating schedule. Try keep in contact with as many of your friends and family as possible. Obviously not telling them everything! But you can tell them i had a bad day. They can reassure you, because it's okay to have a bad day, but you need a way to ensure that you get out of that little bit of a funk.

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