Young restaurant manager Cait McWilliams has been crowned the latest Great South African Bake Off winner – here’s what she had to say about her success.
When the presenter called my name, I couldn’t believe my ears. I was completely shocked – it was so unexpected. But, when the realisation that I’d done it slowly sunk in, I got more and more excited. The other finalists, Carol and Nasreen, were such strong bakers, so it was a tough competition. I just tried to stay calm, and not let the pressure of ‘the finale’ get to me – and it worked!
I miss my fellow contestants terribly. It sounds cheesy, but we really did become one big family while we were filming. Because I’m only 19 years old, I think the other bakers felt the need to take care of me, which was really nice. I called Matthew Jones my ‘show dad’, and I was very close with Carol and Nasreen from the start.
It may be a competition but they have shared a wonderful journey together.
— BBC South Africa (@BBCSouthAfrica) December 12, 2016
My baking disaster in the first episode was heartbreaking. In the very first Showstopper challenge, my cake completely fell apart – it just hadn’t cooked in time. I was obviously devastated because I wanted to make a good first impression. After that, I had other flops where cakes didn’t rise properly, or I overcooked something, but it was never as bad as that first episode. And thankfully my Showstopper in the finale turned out well – I’m pretty proud of that one!
There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. One of the things I struggled with in the beginning was having to talk to the presenters about my bake as I went along. It could be distracting at times, because it breaks your focus, but I quickly got used to it. We also have loads of fun, and laugh 90% of the time.
Thought that intro was expertly executed? Think again…
— BBC South Africa (@BBCSouthAfrica) December 8, 2016
I’m really excited about what the future holds. I’m back in Cape Town for now, but next year I’m going to the Silwood School of Cookery to learn more about being a professional chef. I’ve enrolled for the full year course so I can cover all the basics, but I plan on focusing on dessert and pastry after I’ve graduated. It’s my dream to own a beautiful dessert bar along the coast one day!