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S03.E10: The Final

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After weeks of pastries, cakes and bread, three bakers have made it to the final. They now must face the most demanding of challenges yet as every aspect of their baking skill is scrutinised.

To prove themselves to judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, they must create pastry perfection with a signature pithivier. Then on to one of the most intricate technical challenges ever devised - fondant fancies. Finally, it all comes down to their last ever showstopper, creating a masterpiece with a notoriously difficult chiffon sponge.

After two days of baking, only one of the finalists can claim the title, winner of The Great British Bake Off.

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I didn't realize, until the very end, how much I wanted Brendan to win. I feel very deflated for him.

This show is usually so calming and lovely, but tonight I felt tense.

To top it off, no sheep!

Pants.

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Ha! My sister was saying, "don't be Brendan, don't be Brendan, don't be Brendan." I just love seeing all the other contestants and the families and friends. Such a happy scene.

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I think James might have won had his showstopper been more connected. I'd have liked to hear how Mary and the male judge decided between John and Brendan. I suspect Brendan's slight old-fashionedness was what did him in. The male judge, especially, liked to ding Brendan for that.

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I really thought up until today that Brendan was going to win, but tonight, for some reason, I started thinking that John was going to win. I didn't want Brendan to win, because he's been so self-satisfied, so sure that he was better than the others over the weeks of the show, but today, he seemed very different.  I think John's gingerbread was a big, big part of his win, that and today's bakes other than the technical.  His showstopper really amazed and pleased the judges.  James took a big chance on baking five cakes, and this one important time, his risk taking didn't pay off for him.  He was my favorite from the beginning, but his show stopper was a let down.

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I was inadvertently spoiled about 1/2 way through the season, but over the last 2-3 episodes I had convinced myself that I must have read it wrong and it was James that won.  But when Paul and Mary really didn't like James' show stopper, I realized, yep, John's the winner.  I think he really pulled it through when it counted most.  I thought his show stopper was the best of the bunch, and in my opinion Brendan's was a distant second. 

I was surprised they all did so poorly on the fondant fancies.  Maybe it was all too rushed, but none of them looked nice and smooth as they should. 

I'm glad I can now google some of the contestants to see what they've been up to. 

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I was disappointed that we didn't get to see Paul and Mary enjoying the perfect fondant fancies in their mini tent, like we usually do every week during the technical challenge. I really wanted to see what good ones would look like, since the three contestant's fancies were more or less drippy messes.

I was pleased to see John win, since he does want to be a baker, "when he grows up," and this win will really help him, I think. I like Brendan, but he was a bit old fashioned for my taste (and I'm 67!) I was sorry that James fell apart in his last weekend. It was obvious when that one crow flew away, leaving just two on the branch that he wasn't going to be in the running, As alway, I did like all of the contestants, so I wouldn't have been broken hearted to see any of them win. 

I am truly going to miss this format and the 4 hosts and judges. I'm not sure I can bear to watch the new series when it appears. We'll see. I am trying not to prejudge.

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I've had a crush on John since the beginning, so I was pleased. Loved his little "Help!" in this episode. Thought it was sad that his family was basically making fun of him in the interviews and his mom expected him to be out in the first week. I guess he showed them.

Brendan didn't really bother me until this episode. He seemed a bit over-the-top smug this week. Though I did feel bad for him when he was breaking up before the final judging... the camera stayed on him for such an awkwardly long time! I liked the three guys hugging.

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17 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I was surprised they all did so poorly on the fondant fancies.  Maybe it was all too rushed, but none of them looked nice and smooth as they should. 

The judges said they were asking a lot of the bakers in the time given, so I think that was the main reason all of the technicals were on the sloppier side. It amused me that John won that bake basically because someone had to. I also liked how it reset things for the showstopper.  

1 minute ago, dargosmydaddy said:

I liked the three guys hugging.

Is Brendan that short or are John and James that tall? They towered over him, hee.

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Just finished watching.  I was not thrilled that John won, TBH.

Just based on the editing for this episode, I felt that Brendan should have won, since it was clear that the judges were comparing his and John's season-long performances, since both had excellent showstoppers. After all, John circled the drain a couple of times over the past weeks--and if he had been a different contestant, or if it had been another show, he'd have been booted off the show for NOT finishing the week that he cut his hand.  I think what it boiled down to was (as someone already mentioned) that Brendan, while excellent, was more old fashioned and not "modern" enough. And frankly, he was already so skilled in many ways, he did not "grow" enough. Whereas John (whom I don't dislike, BTW) did grow, and he expressed more passion and feeling than the reserved Brendan. 

ETA: And of course, John is younger and wants to be a baker, blah blah blah. Crowning him the winner is so much more appealing than giving it to someone in his 60s  who is already semi-retired, etc.  This is my opinion, of course.

Sorry, the editing and/or the judges did not do enough to make me think that John was somehow more worthy than Brendan. I'm rather disappointed. Oh, and was I the only person who thought they were telegraphing the winner early in the episode with those home visits? As soon as they visited John's family, I thought he was going to win.

ETA: Whether Brendan appeared "smug" or not at any time should not be a reason to deem him unworthy of winning.

Edited by adhoc
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Brandon's partner seemed a lot younger than B. And B was wearing a ring but the fellow was a partner not husband. That's plus the whole chiffon cake story begged for more info.

Edited by rhys · Reason: Cuz chiffon came & chiffon cake are clearly 2 different things
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adhoc wrote "ETA: Whether Brendan appeared "smug" or not at any time should not be a reason to deem him unworthy of winning."

No, it shouldn't be a reason to deem him unworthy of winning, but it was the reason I didn't really want him to win, although until today, I was sure he was going to win.  I thought he was very good at most of the skills that make a good baker, but it bothered me that he thought his skills were so much better than the others, and that he expressed it so many times during the show.  

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^^ I didn't know that about the UK. I, too, thought I heard John's mention of a partner but figured I was wrong since I didn't see him tonight at the fete.

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1 hour ago, dargosmydaddy said:

I've had a crush on John since the beginning, so I was pleased. Loved his little "Help!" in this episode. Thought it was sad that his family was basically making fun of him in the interviews and his mom expected him to be out in the first week. I guess he showed them.

I think we saw where his apparent lack of confidence came from! That was pretty sad to see. Bless him.

Any of the three would have been worthy winners to me, though it was obvious after the showstopper that James was out of the running. I did really feel for Brendan when he was breaking up in front of the camera and couldn't finish. I do wonder what he was trying to say. It seemed like "in spite of...." That was lovely of him to want to bring the family back together after such a long time.

I do agree with others that TPTB wanted a more "modern" winner. And sometimes when a contestant is so consistent, as Brendan was, they perhaps get taken a bit for granted.

I came in late to the series, so now I get to binge the previous seasons on Netflix!

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I confess . . . I am one of those people who enjoys watching the process more than the outcome, so I intentionally spoiled myself on who won way back in week 2.  Good on ya, John.

What surprised me was that they only had ONE task for the final showstopper.  In later years, they had to produce multiple baked goods, and it was absolutely mind-blowing to see what "home bakers" could do in just a few hours.

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I liked all three finalists so I would have been happy with any of them winning but, about halfway through, I realized I was hoping John would win.  It was obvious that it was really, really important to him.  James, whom I liked very much, was a bit too cavalier about his showstopper and Brendan had said several times that his goal was to make the finals which he did and basically came in second.  I was actually choked up watching John be overwhelmed at the end.  Knowing at this remove that John eventually gave up or put on hold his law career makes me wonder if the GBBO didn't help him make a difficult decision about the direction his life was going.  

I didn't want to get spoiled about the winner so I've been avoiding all the links.  Now I can't wait to go back and read the ones posted last week.

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I felt so sorry for James, who was my favorite throughout, but his decision to go for quantity over quality was both senseless and disastrous.    At the least, he should have done something with more of a personal connection. Did love his girl friend and roommate.  

I thought John deserved to win   Count me in in those who found Brendan increasingly smug - to me, it was clear that he expected to win    He was consistent and precise, but just seemed to lack that little extra something   Why didn’t he decorate his gingerbread people?  

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As I also binge-watched the earlier series naturally I haven't read much about those series either, unless I found certain things too intriguing not to look up. For anyone who's interested I'd like to share a few pre & post final interviews I've read over the week.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2217320/The-Great-British-Bake-Off-The-finalists.html
*Past the John's hand injury photo, the inaugural series winner gives some tips for the final. If you don't want to get spoiled, avoid reading the rest of the article.


John
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/great-british-bake-off-winner-john-1383703
https://www.whatsontv.co.uk/news/john-whaite-ultimately-id-love-my-own-bakery-207569/

Brendan
https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/lifestyle/brendan-lynch-wont-hang-up-3909746
https://thetab.com/uk/stand/2012/10/09/cultureinterview-brendan-lynch-the-billy-elliot-of-the-baking-world-778

James
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/great-british-bake-scot-james-1376915
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/tv-radio/great-british-bake-star-james-2215263

Edited by sum
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2 hours ago, hendersonrocks said:

I loved watching the two youngsters hug wee Brendan. I don't find him smug at all - I think he struggles to show emotion and vulnerability. SAME, Brendan. Same. I got you.

I think that's probably the result of growing up gay in rural Ireland in the 50's and 60's.

2 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

Thought it was sad that his family was basically making fun of him in the interviews and his mom expected him to be out in the first week. I guess he showed them.

Did you hear what he said to his Mom as he hugged her?  "I'm not going to be a banker."

Interesting that John (and probably James) were studying for finals during the competition and we never heard of it until the end. 

John didn't leave much of an impression on me originally and he was certainly circling the drain for a couple of episodes mid-way.  But somewhere along the way, maybe in the episode he cut his finger, I realized I liked him and wanted him to stay as long as possible.  All along, I would have placed his odds of winning at extremely slim.  Even coming into the finale, I would have given both Brendan and James even odds with John a distant 3rd.  I'm glad his cake turned out as he wanted, it really looked like it was collapsing when he put the top tier on top of it. 

3 hours ago, Jodithgrace said:

I'm not sure I can bear to watch the new series when it appears. We'll see. I am trying not to prejudge.

PBS has advertised this season "For the last time ever".  It's unlikely we'll ever see the post-Mary seasons unless Netflix manages to get them.

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John deserved his win. It was close but he had a pretty perfect finish on his showstopper. But even though they always say it comes down to the showstopper, I think the signature also had him in front because they mentioned that Brendan's had caught a little on the sides. (Maybe John also won over the male judge by saying he was using his technique on the pastry.) I'm also happy for him just because it sounded like his own family was actively rooting against him.

I would've been more moved by Brendan's story with his showstopper if he didn't act so high and mighty about his skills as a baker. Obviously he's good, he wouldn't be on the show if he wasn't. But John and James could give the others their due, John thinking James would win while still praising Brendan's consistency and James thinking John and Brendan showed more skill but just hoped his own baking was good. Whereas Brendan couldn't reiterate enough that he's experienced and that in time James will get better at presentation, as though age was why he thought James' presentation in the signature was worse than his. Maybe Brendan's a nicer person in real life but competition doesn't bring out the best in him.

Sadly for James, I think he was doomed from the signature. Even though he won the technical, it was a very low bar. But I think his fifth cake alone could've been his showstopper and whether or not that would've changed the outcome, maybe he would've gone out on a better note. Even if it's not enough to win, I always hope all the finalists have strong showstoppers. But in total, he still has the most wins of the season and made it to the final, so there's definitely a lot to be proud of.

Also, fondant fancies sound disgusting. Marzipan, butter cream, and fondant yet the male judge complains that American pies are too sweet.

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Brendan was quite honest about how he felt about the result in the interviews I linked above. He was confident going into the final weekend, expected his name would be announced. He seemed to believe he was the deserved winner based on the performance but didn't only because of external reasons.

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I was rooting for Brendan, & really thought he was going to win, so I'm kind of disappointed. I thought John's showstopper looked sloppy & didn't understand why they kept praising how it looked.

4 hours ago, Jodithgrace said:

I am truly going to miss this format and the 4 hosts and judges. I'm not sure I can bear to watch the new series when it appears. We'll see. I am trying not to prejudge.

Right before the show started, a guy from the station came on & said that this was the last new episode they would be airing. I guess we won’t be getting the first 2 seasons, or any of the newer seasons. :-(

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10 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

The judges said they were asking a lot of the bakers in the time given, so I think that was the main reason all of the technicals were on the sloppier side. It amused me that John won that bake basically because someone had to.

Just for the record, it was James who won the technical. (Though you're right that the rankings for this were insignificant.)

10 hours ago, adhoc said:

Just based on the editing for this episode, I felt that Brendan should have won, since it was clear that the judges were comparing his and John's season-long performances

It wasn't clear to me. Between the two, it seemed (to me) that John came out slightly better within this episode. If they were really going to consider season-long performances, they would have finagled some way to have James win, as he's been repeatedly brilliant. -- No, not really, he took himself out of the running this episode (more on this below); but the first time I saw this episode I was more "gutted" than at any other point in any season, I was so committed to James as winner.

9 hours ago, Souris said:

I did really feel for Brendan when he was breaking up in front of the camera and couldn't finish. I do wonder what he was trying to say. It seemed like "in spite of...." 

I actually felt that it was cruel to expose Brendan that way; they didn't need to, there was a clear cut-away point after the first part of his speech. That was a rare moment in the course of this series when I could feel the producers delighting in a chance to exploit someone's vulnerability.

10 hours ago, Jodithgrace said:

I was disappointed that we didn't get to see Paul and Mary enjoying the perfect fondant fancies in their mini tent, like we usually do every week during the technical challenge. I really wanted to see what good ones would look like, since the three contestant's fancies were more or less drippy messes.

We did get to see them look at a proper collection of fondant fancies on its tiered tray; but it's true they didn't try them and exclaim about how good they tasted.

I agree that John's family had an off-putting vibe, with the constant little put-downs that no doubt are passed off as "just kidding" but can wear a person down over time. And he had made remarks earlier in the season about devoting himself to standing by his mother after her marriage ended, and his call home to tell her that her "big little boy" had achieved Star Baker, that made him sound as if they were dedicated to infantilizing him. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had moved away (if only for university) and had a partner. Good for him -- get away from them, John. (And apparently he has, and has dumped the career they had in mind for him.)

I admit that I was an unabashed James fan, probably the most biased I've been in any of the seasons. But I can't deny that he overreached and underperformed in the final. In fact, if anyone was being "smug" (and I don't think anyone was really), one could say it was James, for not practicing his two prepared items sufficiently (if you haven't done rough puff before this week, all the more reason to work on it) and for not really absorbing the Showstopper brief to make A Cake, not five. He seemed rather reliant on his flair, which has saved him so many times, to do it this time too. The thing that people forget about the "take a risk" and "go big or go home" strategies is that there are indeed two possible outcomes, and this time the risk didn't pay off.

I still like James a lot, and if anyone likes to bake bread, or just wants more of James's personality, I can recommend his book Brilliant Bread -- it's available on Kindle. Very reassuring and no-nonsense, and yes, scientific (in a non-exclusionary way).

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15 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

We did get to see them look at a proper collection of fondant fancies on its tiered tray; but it's true they didn't try them and exclaim about how good they tasted

Maybe they hate them like I do!

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8 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

 

PBS has advertised this season "For the last time ever".  It's unlikely we'll ever see the post-Mary seasons unless Netflix manages to get them.

Please don't say that.??  I'm holding out hope that PBS will dig up one more season from somewhere.  I love this show and I'm sad to see it go.

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I also wondered why Brendan's "person" was called "partner" while he was wearing a wedding ring. Then looked it up and gay marriage wasn't the law in the UK until 2014, so they wouldn't have used the term husband at that time.

I really liked James but the frosting on this cake was really a mess. I think John won the tie-break with Brendan because his showstopper was more modern and elegant looking.

I also thought that having Brendan on camera for so long, twice saying "in spite....." without finishing, was completely unnecessary. If he isn't going to say what it is, why show that?

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9 hours ago, GaT said:

Right before the show started, a guy from the station came on & said that this was the last new episode they would be airing. I guess we won’t be getting the first 2 seasons, or any of the newer seasons. :-(

Not totally unexpected but it still sucks.

Come on netflix!

I thought both Brendan and James were a lot more consistent throughout the season and Brendan was clearly never "modern" enough for the judges and John did really step up in the finale...

I am happy for him because he clearly feels so strongly about baking. And James' showstopper never came together.

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55 minutes ago, dleighg said:

I also thought that having Brendan on camera for so long, twice saying "in spite....." without finishing, was completely unnecessary. If he isn't going to say what it is, why show that?

My closed-captioning and ears saw and heard him saying "inspi-" (as in the beginning of "inspiration").

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Mary was holding the cake stand, but they didn't really focus in on it at all. I was hoping for a bit of a closeup; I'd noticed in a previous season that they had even photoshopped "Baking Show" over "Bake Off" !

Edited by dleighg
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16 hours ago, chaifan said:

I was inadvertently spoiled about 1/2 way through the season, but over the last 2-3 episodes I had convinced myself that I must have read it wrong and it was James that won.  But when Paul and Mary really didn't like James' show stopper, I realized, yep, John's the winner.  I think he really pulled it through when it counted most.  I thought his show stopper was the best of the bunch, and in my opinion Brendan's was a distant second. 

I was surprised they all did so poorly on the fondant fancies.  Maybe it was all too rushed, but none of them looked nice and smooth as they should. 

 

I wasn't spoiled but after that Parade article said John was now a baker, I had a strong suspicion.  It's a rare final when I would have been happy with any of them winning.

They did the fondant fancy as a technical in one of the later seasons, and they all failed as miserably.  Putting on a lot of buttercream seems to be really important, and then I suspect that you really need special equipment to do the dipping properly.  It sure isn't anything I'd want to eat.  Looks like a mouthful of plastic.

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15 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

It amused me that John won that bake basically because someone had to

You mean James. James won the technical.

4 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

They did the fondant fancy as a technical in one of the later seasons, and they all failed as miserably.

Actually, I believe it was a showstopper--18 each of two types I think. Quarter or Semi-finals maybe. I remember one doing a heart-shaped one and commenting that "if you spent 5 minutes on each one, there goes 3 hours", which is why she didn't frost hers that well (you had to frost before the fondant, otherwise it looks lumpy). 

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16 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

I think James might have won had his showstopper been more connected. I'd have liked to hear how Mary and the male judge decided between John and Brendan. I suspect Brendan's slight old-fashionedness was what did him in. The male judge, especially, liked to ding Brendan for that.

I'm inordinately happy to see "the male judge" used here. 

 

16 hours ago, chaifan said:

I'm glad I can now google some of the contestants to see what they've been up to. 

Me too! And thanks to the poster who gave us a bunch of links, which I'll be rushing to in a moment. 

 

16 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

I've had a crush on John since the beginning, so I was pleased. Loved his little "Help!" in this episode. Thought it was sad that his family was basically making fun of him in the interviews and his mom expected him to be out in the first week. I guess he showed them.

Brendan didn't really bother me until this episode. He seemed a bit over-the-top smug this week. Though I did feel bad for him when he was breaking up before the final judging... the camera stayed on him for such an awkwardly long time! I liked the three guys hugging.

As someone else said, I thought that that family interview seemed to show that he might win. It also seemed a little longer than the others, but that might not be the case. 

I think that they weren't making fun of him, but they had a career path planned out for him (which, it seems, he had followed so far) and they thought that baking was a hobby that was not to be taken as seriously as his career. In the end, though I would have been fine with any of them winning, I thought that a win would have the most effect on John. Of course that's no reason why he should win, it's just why I wanted him to. 

I thought that the camera person was trying to give Brendan a chance to say "in spite of" whatever he'd wanted to say. I agree that it was a long time, but I feel like a shorter, cut-away amount of time might have seemed like the show wasn't interested in giving him a chance to say what he was trying to say. I can see it might have been a tricky decision. 

 

16 hours ago, adhoc said:

Just based on the editing for this episode, I felt that Brendan should have won, since it was clear that the judges were comparing his and John's season-long performances, since both had excellent showstoppers. After all, John circled the drain a couple of times over the past weeks--and if he had been a different contestant, or if it had been another show, he'd have been booted off the show for NOT finishing the week that he cut his hand.  I think what it boiled down to was (as someone already mentioned) that Brendan, while excellent, was more old fashioned and not "modern" enough. And frankly, he was already so skilled in many ways, he did not "grow" enough. Whereas John (whom I don't dislike, BTW) did grow, and he expressed more passion and feeling than the reserved Brendan. 

 

I feel like what they might have been getting to at the end was that Brendan was classical and old-fashioned, James was very daring and contemporary (though he did show good knowledge) and John kind of combined a respect for tradition with a willingness to experiment. 

 

15 hours ago, Thumper said:

I want to know what Brendan was trying to say when he got all choked up.

It seemed to me that it was "in spite of" and I wondered if it was his illness, which I'd inadvertently read about (it meant that he couldn't taste his own work) or the "gay for many years in an unwelcoming atmosphere" issue, or maybe his family. I wish they had managed to squeeze in something about how the family reunion went. 

I gasped out loud when James's cake fell. I knew I was invested in this show, but that still surprised me. 

Thanks to everyone for their insights and snark on the season! I feel like I'm watching with friends. During the episodes I wonder, what are people thinking about what just happened?

Edited by Mystery · Reason: cut off some quoted text
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Could they have poured the icing over the “fancies”?  The icing looked thin enough to frost the bottom, pour over the top and then move to a clean surface to present.  Or use two forks - stab one in the middle and rest the bottom on another one.  

 

John’s showstopper chocolate cake was the only one I really wanted to taste.  The others were more like - sure i’d try a bite out of curiosity.  But I think I could eat that chocolate cake all by my self.  Sure I would regret it, but YOLO.

Edited by Mittengirl
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7 minutes ago, Mittengirl said:

Could they have poured the icing over the “fancies”?  The icing looked thin enough to frost the bottom, pour over the top and then move to a clean surface to present.  Or use two forks - stab one in the middle and rest the bottom on another one.  

Brendan started out saying that he was going to pour, but he ended up deciding that dunking was the way to go. Maybe if they'd had more time, pouring would have been neater. 

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48 minutes ago, illdoc said:
16 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

It amused me that John won that bake basically because someone had to

You mean James. James won the technical.

Oof. Yes, I do mean James. Thanks, @illdoc.

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9 minutes ago, Mystery said:

Brendan started out saying that he was going to pour, but he ended up deciding that dunking was the way to go. Maybe if they'd had more time, pouring would have been neater. 

Mary’s recipe has you using a fork, stabbed in at an angle to dip so then you can easily slide it off onto the rack. The bottoms are typically not frosted.

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The fondant has to be just the right consistency so that it's thin enough so the cakes don't get weighed down in it and fall off the fork. I also think you need to use a fork with long enough tines that they can hold the cake securely. 

I'd use the pour method, but that has its own problems. This is why I stick to simple bakes, LOL.

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 It's a rare final when I would have been happy with any of them winning.

I feel the same way.

I wanted John to win because his family was so unsupportive.

I wanted Brendan to win because it really seemed to be important to him.  And I do wonder about the whole back story of the family rift.  Did it have to do with the fact that he was gay?  Did his unfinished statement (which closed captioning showed as "inspir....") have anything to do with his partner or husband?

I wanted James to win because he had such a sense of humor and off he cuff remarks.

So I was satisfied overall except for those nasty fondant fancies.  No way in hell those could be successfully done in 2.5 hours, not even by Mary.

And I must confess that I had no desire to taste any of those showstoppers.  That kind of cake is just tasteless, in my opinion.  Just like angel food cake - I've even had chocolate angel food cake and it was so, well, bland.  The only tastes come from what you put on or with it.

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22 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

id his unfinished statement (which closed captioning showed as "inspir....") have anything to do with his partner or husband?

not to be pedantic (but I know I am, I can't help it) but at least my CC showed "inspi" what really only makes sense as "in spite"

Yes I also imagined it had to do with his family/community not accepting his partner/sexuality.

 

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Edited by dleighg
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21 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Did his unfinished statement (which closed captioning showed as "inspir....") have anything to do with his partner or husband?

With scripted shows, closed captioning can be done by referring to the script. But in a show like this, I imagine someone was just listening and typing as best they could. I definitely don't think the closed captioning is infallible. I feel pretty confident that he was trying to say "In spite of..." because of the context of the words before it. 

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17 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

I wanted John to win because his family was so unsupportive.

I might have the quote wrong, but John saying bakers just want to be told that they're loved was sort of heartbreaking in light of what we heard from his family. And then after winning, he said that he had finally done something to please his mom and that was the biggest prize. I found that especially sad considering (according to his Wikipedia bio) he got into Oxford but opted to go to a university closer to home to be near his family.

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12 minutes ago, dleighg said:

not to be pedantic (but I know I am, I can't help it) but at least my CC showed "inspi" what really only makes sense as "in spite"

You are quite right.  I thought that there was an "r' on it but there was not.  And "in spite" does make more sense.  A man of his age must have had quite a hellacious time as a young gay man in a place where that was illegal until 1993.  It's only been decriminalized for 25 years.

I loved the group hug and one of the guys saying "Quick, let's sabotage him while we can" which brought a laugh and cut the tension.

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16 hours ago, Winter Rose said:

Also, fondant fancies sound disgusting. Marzipan, butter cream, and fondant yet the male judge complains that American pies are too sweet.

QFT.

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I didn't understand the fondant. Whenever I have seen it before, it was a thick, heavy, dry-looking layer applied over a cake.  Never looked edible (but then I am not a huge sugary frosting lover).  That sticky stuff they dipped into didn't look like fondant at all.

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5 minutes ago, Thumper said:

I didn't understand the fondant. Whenever I have seen it before, it was a thick, heavy, dry-looking layer applied over a cake.  Never looked edible (but then I am not a huge sugary frosting lover).  That sticky stuff they dipped into didn't look like fondant at all.

There are different kinds of fondant, the type you are talking about is rolled fondant and this was poured/dipping fondant. 

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