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Whitby Man Wins The Great British Bake Off 2019

David Atherton - The Great British Bake Off winner 2019

Published at 6:55am 30th October 2019. (Updated at 9:52am 30th October 2019)

A man from Whitby has been crowned the winner of this year's The Great British Bake Off.

David Atherton, 36, who is a Health Adviser, wowed judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith with his showstopper to be named the champion.

He saw off competition from four-time star baker Steph and Alice.


David grew up in Whitby, where his mum (who baked all the time – the family never ate a shop-bought loaf at home) inspired him to start baking.

His passion was further developed by his travels to Malawi (among other places) with his work as a Health Advisor, where he learnt to build an oven out of an oil drum and invented a cake that could steam cook over a village fire.

David studied art and design before switching to nursing. When he’s not travelling the world for work, he lives in London and has lots of hobbies like cycling and ceramics.

David’s baking repertoire is broad, but his strengths lie in bread. He’s not into fancy, colourful icings, but prefers robust flavours and good, solid bakes.

David said:

“It feels so good!  It’s been weeks and weeks of intensity and fatigue and then to finish it with this! I saved the best till last, and it’s the best feeling in the world. Week on week other people were stronger, I was always the underdog and yet I just managed to get through.

All of it is a bit surreal, and I am still trying to process it, but the whole Bake Off journey is non-stop and part of it is just having the stamina.  Thousands of bakers apply every year, and every one who gets into the tent is an exceptional baker.  I think I just didn’t get stressed at the pressure of the tent.  

Honestly it was never in my mind that I thought I could win this, I have had daydreams of winning Bake Off for about 10 years.  The judges always loved my presentation but not my flavours so to get a 1st in the Technical of the Final was amazing.   I didn’t imagine for one micro second that I would get to the Final let alone win it.  It’s just unreal.

I really enjoyed every episode in the tent and I never felt that I was flaky throughout the whole series, although I did feel very nervous at the Final which was unlike me.  

“There were tricky and interesting challenges for the final.  Prue liked my mirror glaze of my Chocolate Armagnac cake with prunes, and Paul liked my textures.  

For my Stilton Souffles they both thought they were delicious.  And for my Showstopper of Peachy PicNik I got an ‘amazing, clever, exceptional and a stunning’ from Paul [and he even liked my flavours for once], while Prue thought it looked fantastic and gave me a bravo.

Steph and Alice bake as good as they look, they are both beautiful inside and out, stunning people and great bakers.  The three of us were so happy to be in the Final together, we were so close and really supported each other.  This year particularly all the bakers helped support each other through the journey, from day one.  It’s a shame we can’t all win. 

Sandi and Noel were really the biggest surprise for me.  They are so warm and so supportive which I didn’t expect.   They are both so empathetic, they know when to hug you and when to have a banter.  They aren’t judges but they can judge the moment perfectly, they can read us all so well.

My worst moment was every week when a Baker left, but when Henry left that was a big gap for me and I realised we were down to smaller numbers, and I didn’t want it to end.  My worst baking week was bread week and I felt I let myself down, but overall I liked all the challenges even when I did badly.  

The best moment for me was when I finished a challenge and I looked around the tent and saw that everyone had successfully finished their challenge.  I was so impressed that as a team we all managed to present something for the Judges.  I also loved the moment after a bake we could all run out of the tent and relax on the grass in the sun - and of course I can’t forget my Hollywood Handshake in 1920s week.

I felt the pressure in the tent but I just didn’t get stressed, I did feel nervous but I didn’t let it get to me.  I wanted to enjoy myself rather than having any negative feelings.  It’s not like other TV shows where the competition is so high - the overall support from the backroom teams to the cameramen was amazing and unexpected.  I am a calm person and I thought Bake Off would break me, but as it’s such a friendly environment I felt I thrived from week to week.

After winning, I kept the trophy under the bed, and I am now planning to put a potted palm on it and keep it in the living room.

Pottery is still a big part of my life, and I will continue to take my bakes into class.  It was the pottery class who always encouraged me to apply, so I know they will be very pleased when they find out I have won.  They had more faith in me than I did!

I watched the final with Alice and Steph and our friends and family at the recording of An Extra Slice, it was a special moment and it brought back all the lovely emotions.

Bake Off has given me a whole new set of friends, including The Least Laddy Lads Club – the members are Henry, Michael and myself.  We were describing the setting time of gelatine in fine detail, and Sandi observed us and christened us with that name.  We were all such a loving and close club in the tent, and although it’s a cliché we truly have become a Bake Off family of our year 2019.

Bake Off really has definitely broadened my baking knowledge and has helped me try new things.  The challenges force you to take on new and different types of icing and meringue that you wouldn’t normally bake with.

I really care about health and lifestyle and food is an important part of that.  I am a healthy eater and like to incorporate that in my baking.  I want to continue my role as a health adviser working with various charities all over the world, it’s a big and important part of my life.

I would like to say thank you to my lovely boyfriend Nik for all his support and my mum who taught me everything I know.  She taught us from tiny kids how to bake, and she has given me my temperament, she is the least stressed person I know.  Dad is the chief test taster and pretty much easily pleased.

I am looking forward to the exciting opportunities that might come from this.  I love researching recipes and writing them up, so just watch this space! 

And don’t think you have to be a totally perfect baker to apply for Bake Off, if you think like that you won’t ever be ready.  You get a lot of help and you learn so much along the way.  It’s a great experience and I would encourage any amateur bakers out there to apply."

At the end of the episode Paul said:  

"Well done mate you smashed it….  David came in as probably the underdog into the final knowing that twice Alice has won and Steph won four times.  

He has gone from nothing to win the whole thing; it’s priceless, absolutely priceless, he should be really proud of himself.  I think he has done an amazing job.”

And Prue added:

“David is an extraordinary baker and I am so full of admiration for him.  Right from the beginning he has never lost his temper he has always been very neat and organised.    It was really a question of the tortoise catching the hare, he just steadily went on and won!”

Fellow baker Alice said:

“David just blew us out of the water  - the best baker won.   I am so happy and really proud of myself and I can really leave with my head held high.  It’s just the best feeling.”

And fellow runner up Steph added:

 “I have made some amazing life long friends.  It’s just really been  the most incredible experience ever”.

David Atherton - The Great British Bake Off winner 2019
David Atherton - The Great British Bake Off winner 2019
David Atherton - The Great British Bake Off winner 2019


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