Queen of baking Mich Turner is full of praise for Chesterfield College students

Mich Turner talks to students at Chesterfield College
Mich Turner talks to students at Chesterfield College
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It’s fair to say baking and cooking have never been so popular as they are now.

Even as Mich Turner was standing on stage hosting this year’s Food and Drink Awards, millions of captivated viewers were glued to their TVs watching this year’s final of the Great British Bake Off.

Mich Turner interviewed by Ashley Booker, of the Derbyshire Times

Mich Turner interviewed by Ashley Booker, of the Derbyshire Times

The hit BBC show has soared in the ratings, highlighting just how popular baking has become - something which has come as no surprise to Mich.

“Baking is gratification,” she says. “It brings a huge amount of pleasure to those who are baking, to those who are sharing and to those who are receiving. It’s a lovely thing to bake someone a cake because it’s like you’re giving them your love.

“It’s an act of love to bake someone a cake and because it’s very precise you have to measure everything so accurately, it is an art and it is a science at the same time.

“It’s not a fuel. It’s not a food substance, it’s something that is an extra - it’s something that is a luxury, it’s premium. It’s your party dress. People love the idea of having something that’s really special - and that’s why baking has become popular. “

Mich - who appeared as a judge on ITV show Britain’s Best Bakery - is a trained scientist and the owner of Little Venice Cake Company, which she set up in 1999.

She received an MBE from the Queen in 2010 for her services to the catering industry and has an astonishing list of celebrity clients - including US president Barack Obama, David Beckham and Madonna.

Therefore it is no surprise to see her name linked with a return to TV to replace Mary Berry on the new-look Bake Off show on Channel 4.

“I cannot answer that question,” she says. “Let’s just see what happens. Channel 4 is a wonderful opportunity for taking what is a Titanic potentially in a new direction. So let’s hope that it continues to sail through new and uncharted waters. It is very, very much loved and I think anything that fuels people’s passion for baking is great.”

Mich, a mother of two who originally hails from Devon, is passionate about the talent of tomorrow coming into the industry and was clearly impressed with the pool of students at Chesterfield College

She says: “It’s lovely that they all have a sense of community, have a real sense of purpose of working in this industry, how much they have learnt, not just in terms of chef skills but in terms of themselves and building their confidence over the one, two, three, four years they have been here.

“Some of the students have only just started six weeks ago and there are others in there who are in their final year and are looking onwards and upwards.

“But the amount of assistance they give to the newbies who are coming in and the strength and support is fantastic. (The course has) also given them an opportunity to find their niche of what really drives them in the industry to become better food and drink specialists.”

Mich has just put the finishing touches to her sixth book called How To Have Your Cake and Eat - which hits the shelves next spring.

She also teaches and has an international franchise in the Middle East.

And before she hosted Wednesday’s glittering ceremony, she had this advice for students wanting to follow in her footsteps.

“Be prepared to work hard and be prepared to have a go. Never be afraid to innovate, innovate, innovate. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” she says. “If you don’t keep moving forward or be prepared to have a go, then you will never know how well you can do. “It’s the fear of failure that tends to stop a lot of people from having a go if they’re lacking in confidence. But the only time you’re going to fail is if you stop trying.”