A popular TV baker has told how appearing on the Great British Bake Off and striking up a friendship with Paul Hollywood changed her life.
Beca Lyne-Pirkis, 34 was speaking during a visit to the Village Bakery who sponsor her own baking programme, Becws, on S4C.
She was taken on a guided tour of their new Baking Academy and Innovation Centre as well as their bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate by managing director Robin Jones.
The Cardiff-born mum-of-two was a semi finalist on the Bake Off show in 2013 when she had some “honest exchanges” with Paul Hollywood.
Beca was persuaded to enter the competition by her family and her appearances were such a big hit that she caught the eye of television producers back in Wales.
With two series of Becws under her belt, Beca is now looking forward to a third series this year – and all because of the Great British Bake Off.
She recalled: “When I went on the Great British Bake Off I stayed true to my style of baking which is very much a mix of traditional and experimental.
“Taking part was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It completely took over my life.
“Being criticised does hurt but it is one person’s opinion. I’ll take the criticism on board and the comments but I’ll always like to say why I did it and what the influences were.
“Paul Hollywood is quite strong minded and so am I. We do get on really well. I’ve seen him a few times since and I think he quite likes the fact that I am who I am.
“It was stressful but I thrive in those kinds of situations. I’m a very competitive person.
“I came out of the experience just overwhelmed by it all especially when it then got transmitted. It has been life changing.
“I’ve never worked so hard in my life but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
According to Beca, the award-winning Village Bakery were ideal sponsors for Becws which is produced for S4C by Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da.
Beca, whose love of baking came from her family, says it’s really important to have the right sponsor.
She said: “You have to be careful and that’s something we had discussions about. So I researched and tasted the Village Bakery’s products and I was really impressed.
“And today I was welcomed here like a long lost friend which was lovely.
“Robin’s dad, Alan, the company chairman, says he loves watching the show. It’s lovely to hear that from non-Welsh speakers who love what I make and they’re very proud of the association and that’s great.
“They wanted to see me and to show the sheer volume of different products that they make here. It’s been brilliant.
“For them, it’s first and foremost to make sure that their name and their quality is all at the highest end all the time and you can see that from Robin’s passion.
“Although they produce in volume, they check at every point the quality going forward so that the end product that people buy off the shelf is what they expect.
“They’re going from strength to strength from what I’ve seen and heard today.”
Beca can’t wait for the next series to get underway after taking to TV presenting like a duck to water.
She added: “I was very nervous to start with even though I come from a media background. Both my parents worked in TV but both behind camera and I always used to help them doing runners’ jobs.
“It was different being in front of the camera but because I was talking about something I knew inside out, it gave me the confidence to think that the camera is my best friend. I’m just telling them what I’m doing.”
Robin Jones was delighted to welcome Beca to the Village Bakery.
He said: “It’s been real pleasure showing Beca what we do here and how we adhere to our core values as craft bakers.
“The Village Bakery is still very much a family firm and we are very much a family of bakers at heart.”