Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

School's out for Martha; College Work Done, Bake off Star Martha Collison Is Finally Free to Fully Enjoy Her Burgeoning Cake-Making Career. She Talks to KEELEY BOLGER about Her Whirlwind Two Years since Appearing on the Popular TV Show

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

School's out for Martha; College Work Done, Bake off Star Martha Collison Is Finally Free to Fully Enjoy Her Burgeoning Cake-Making Career. She Talks to KEELEY BOLGER about Her Whirlwind Two Years since Appearing on the Popular TV Show

Article excerpt

Byline: KEELEY BOLGER

HE last two years have been rather dizzying for Martha Collison.

TBack in 2014, aged 17, she competed in the fifth series of The Great British Bake Off, finishing a-not-so shabby fifth place. Since then, she's baked for the Queen, given the Archbishop of Canterbury a cake masterclass, written her first cookbook, Twist, and put her sweet tooth to good effect as an afternoon tea advisor at Wimbledon.

All of which has been pulled off alongside studying for her AS and A-Levels.

"It's been challenging," deadpans Martha, now 19, with a laugh. "My friends have to book days with me in advance.

"It's strange being a teenager and having to do that, but it's fine. It's just like jumping into work life before I thought I would, but there's nothing bad about that."

If anything, she's thrilled by her prospects.

Although she hails from a family of keen cooks, nobody in her immediate circle had been bitten by the baking bug, until Martha showed an interest aged eight. While her friends wanted bikes and Barbies for Christmas, she had her sights set on a blender.

"I was in the dark a little bit, but it made baking more fun because it was exploring new territory," recalls Martha, who lives in Berkshire with her family.

At school, she'd daydream about the concoctions she'd try later on, stopping off to buy ingredients on her way home, and remembers her family "gritting their teeth and smiling" when she presented them with her early efforts.

"I think they thought it might be a phase," she adds, grinning. "But it wasn't. It's a long phase!" Martha'a original ambition was to become a food developer, but appearing on Bake Off changed everything.

"It's just been unbelievable," she says. "I've had to re-imagine my life, but in a really good way. Bake Off has really helped shape my future, which I'm really grateful for."

She hopes Twist, in which she details tasty ideas to reinvent a series of baking classics, will be the first of many books.

Given her successes since Bake Off, there's little reason why this shouldn't be the case - Martha still can't quite get her head around how everything's panned out. …

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