Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Baking Challenge judging day

Posted on by Elizabeth Shaw

I don’t know about you, but I am forever in the kitchen pretending I’m on a show like The Great British Bake Off as I whisk, whip, and fold my mixtures. Each week we tune in to be inspired by fellow foodies, but how many of us actually get the chance to showcase our culinary skills in front our favourite professionals?

So when we teamed up with the BBC Good Food Show this year, we decided to run our very own ‘Chocolate Baking Challenge’ - inviting people to send in their chocolate creation ideas to be in with a chance of winning a money-can’t-buy prize! One lucky winner would get the chance to see their recipe being made on The Great British Bake Off stage at the BBC Good Food Show, as well as meeting Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry!!

The entries we received were fantastic, but now I had to choose 5 to go through to our final in London, where the finalists would showcase their chocolaty delights to our VIP judging team:

John Whaite (2012 Great British Bake Off Winner)
Sarah Cook (Food Editor of BBC Good Food Magazine)
Jo Pratt (TV cook, bestselling author and Mum!)


One minute I was talking to Julia, and the next I'm stood right next to John Whaite
Congratulations go to Janice, our talented winner, who joined us at the BBC Good Food Show!

Even though I wasn’t allowed to enter the competition, I was going to meet the judges, so I was very excited!

After much deliberation, the final 5 had been selected:


Jonathan with his Salted Butterscotch Gluten Free Chocolate House Cake
Aimee with her Chocolate Ginger Crunch Cake
Janice with her Mint Chocolate Roulade
Veronique with her Devilishly Decadent Marmite Butterscotch Brownies and
Julia with her Chocolate Pavlova

On the day, I travelled to London to meet with the finalists at the BBC kitchens – it was nice to put faces to the names at last.
Everyone was so lovely and so appreciative that they had this opportunity, I think there were a few nerves, but these seemed to die down throughout the day.

Once everyone had arrived, we made our way to the kitchen area, where everyone was able to start preparing their delights.
One minute I was talking to Julia about her Pavlova, and the next minute I’m stood right next to John Whaite – I must admit I was a little tongue-tied to begin with, but that soon changed!

Jo and Sarah also joined John in the kitchens, and the 3 judges made their way around the room, speaking with everyone about their creations, the weather, in fact they talked about everything and anything, all 3 of the judges were so down-to-earth and friendly, they really made everyone feel at home.

Then came judging time! To allow the judges to review everything, I took the finalists downstairs to relax with a glass of champagne and some chocolates.
Then, after what seemed like a lifetime waiting, the judges re-appeared and we all got a chance to sample the delicious bakes that everyone had created.

Whilst we enjoyed Jonathan’s chocolate house and Aimee’s crunch cake, we sat down with the 3 judges and got to ask them some of our baking conundrums;  “Why doesn’t my cake rise evenly?”, “how does Mary Berry get her cakes looking so perfect?”

After much eating, drinking, talking and laughing, it was time for the judges to announce their winner…………..And the winner was – JANICE with her MINT CHOCOLATE ROULADE.

It had been a long but a wonderful day, and as a final treat for everyone, we went to the Landmark Hotel for ‘Chocolate Afternoon Tea’ – we couldn’t have asked for a more lovely bunch of finalists.

Congratulations to Janice, our winner, who joined us at the BBC Good Food Show!