Someone sound the scandal klaxon! A contestant on the new series of The Great British Bake Off has been accused of cheating due to her professional training at a top Parisian cookery school.
The Mail on Sunday has claimed that Marie Campbell – who won star baker this week for presenting judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, with a “perfect” Madeira cake and Black Forest gateau – once received training at the renowned Ecole Escoffier at the Ritz in Paris, where she specialised in patisserie.
It has also been reported that Campbell has gone on to run a school for chefs, as well as a cupcake baking business. If true, Campbell would arguably be breaking the rules of the amateur baking competition.
The BBC has rebutted this claim from The Mail, insisting that Campbell has not breached their rules because her training took place more than thirty years ago. The official entry form for the series states that contestants must not have any professional catering qualifications acquired within the last ten years. Applicants who work full time as bakers, cooks or chefs are also prohibited from competing. Those who gain their main source of income “from commercial baking in a professional environment” are barred too.
A BBC spokesman said: “There are strict criteria to take part in the show and Marie met those criteria. She gained a certificate for one week’s training in Paris in 1984, more than 10 years ago. She has not worked professionally as a baker or chef.”
Betting was suspended on The Great British Bake Off last week, amid suspicions that the name of the winner has already been leaked online. The opening episode of the series was watched by a mammoth 9.3 million viewers.
The Great British Bake Off airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on BBC One.