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In a nutshell, that was a MAD AF experience. My run on GBBO Bake Off the Professionals was short, bittersweet, and once in a lifetime (cuz I’d never do it again!).

Am I gutted? Not really. I do feel a mixture of letting myself down for not persevering through, and relief. It wasn’t the right race for me - for starts, I’m as competitive as a sloth having a siesta, and it was also a massive punt to have even been accepted to compete against such a high calibre of patisserie chefs from some of the UK’s best hotels and restaurants. Whilst I took months off to focus on the competition, my business was suffering, I was ravaged with the guilt from neglecting X-ray and it added an unexpected financial strain on us (eg: buying specialist equipment and expensive ingredients for practicing). But more than that, I hadn’t realised how expensive my own time was - time that I needed to spend on the business on our new products (hello Tiddly Tiered cakes!), website and production, and with my family. The stress took its toll on me, I was hacking away all unwell popping anti-biotics like m&ms, X-Ray was poorly, and the thought of having to go through another dire week of practicing and competing with a broken team dynamic was enough to deflate me like a sad soufflé. It’d be a lie if I said I wasn’t relieved to hear our names during elimination - I was free to go back to my normal life that was suddenly very appealing again!

Fruit Slice GBBO Close up

It was certainly very cool to be part of the process though - I am so pleased to not have gone out in the first round (it was my worst nightmare for months!), but it would’ve been even cooler if I could’ve left with some dignity in the end. The challenges were hard enough - our fruit slices and lemon desserts got panned, and even though we had all our eclairs with mixed reviews, we didn’t have a showpiece to choux off...but it was even harder having to go through a 30 minute tumble dryer cycle of judging. It went on FOREVER and was brutal, as expected. But just when I thought Cherish was done dishing out cutting critique, she bizarrely made that burning comment - “If I ordered a chicken brownie I’d expect a chicken brownie”. Huh? Say what?? She then clarified that she meant “Chicken Biryani...that Indian dish”. Errr to the only brown person in the room. Yeah...that’s cool, thanks...

Fruit Slice GBBO Bake off the professionals

I did get half-baked apologies from the producers and big wigs at C4. They admitted it was inappropriate, had potential to offend even more folks (ie: my fellow biryani bros and babes...anyone remember Shilpa-poppadom a la Celeb Big Brother??) hence wouldn’t be aired. Thank fook. But the overall lack of empathy was eye-opening.

So Cherish, since you haven’t got those Big, Bold, Beautiful balls to apologise for your racist comments, here’s an open invitation for you to do so. You could simply send me an email, slide into my DMs...or if you want to send me flowers, chocolates, a cheque, take me out for a biryani...I’ll happily accept any/all of the above.

Mary Biryani Cake

I can’t believe how much being on GBBO has changed my perspective on reality tv competitions - it’s actually...so real! For every contestant out there on any tv competition, I’m your virtual cheerleader. If I thought preparing for GBBO was hard work...I have a whole new respect for those entering Love Island (imagine living off quinoa and dust for months!!!).

So what’s next for me?? Well, I’ve never looked more forward to my normal, very pedestrian, biryani-cake-filled life. I’ve also got a whole new flavour of creative juice flowing through me and am very excited to try applying my new patisserie skills on our cakes. And I will cherish every single customer and follower we have even more - literally cannot wait to make your cakes listening to Sean Paul without having cameras on me with the clock ticking. 

Lots of love,

Mary Berryani


2 Responses

Bridget Hunt
Bridget Hunt

08 May, 2019

Reshmi – both gutted and also relieved for you.
You gave it a shot and discovered it wasn’t for you! Proud of you for even attempting it in the first place.
Any kind of racism sucks and it just shows how ill thought out such comments can be.
Hold your head up high – everyone at GD was cheering you and we still cheerlead you – you are fab.
Off to have a crack at a Biryani gelato for you – everyone knows revenge is a dish ‘best served cold’ (minus 18 degrees in our case).
Big love to you, see you soon! X

Nonna zoo
Nonna zoo

07 May, 2019

Disgusted that it was Cherish Finden who made that comment. Entirely unforgiveable that no apology has been made by herself. You did yourself proud, Reshmi and Daisy, you can see how difficult the process was for you all. Televised competition is a strange beast, not one to be thought of as the easy option ever. Be proud of yourself, many folk wouldn’t even put themselves up for such a show. Bravo ladies.

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