The Great British Bake Off aired on Channel 4 for the first time last Tuesday and, if you were watching, you might have been happy to see Watford’s contestant win star baker.

Steven Carter-Bailey is reportedly “buzzing” that he’s been given what he describes as ‘a brilliant and potentially life-changing opportunity’ to pursue his big passion in life.

“My mum, Judi, has been such a massive influence on me,” says Steven, eyes lighting up as he does. “My grandmother was a war time nurse and she was always on the go, so never had the time to bake.

“When my mum had children, she wanted to provide a warm environment where the oven was always on. Toad in the hole, pies, cakes, she always had something on the go. I learnt so much as I grew up watching mum bake.

“The first thing I ever made was a lemon drizzle cake at the age of nine and I carried on from there. I’ve now been baking for 25 years!”

Watford Observer:

Immersing himself in every cookbook he can lay his hands on, Steven admits it felt almost ‘Disney like’ when he first stepped behind his GBBO workstation. He reveals: “When I stepped in that tent, it felt such a precious moment seeing the pastel colours and all the production team getting ready for our arrival. None of us had slept the night before and it felt like as if we were children going to boarding school for the first time. There was such an air of nervous excitement around us. It really was Disney like.”

Any nerves quickly evaporated when presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding walked into the tent. “They really are beautiful human beings on and off camera,” says Steven. “They have genuine concern for everyone and I know everyone will have an opinion but for us, they really were such a special part of this experience. They calmed us down when we started baking our cakes.”

He says that as soon as he started throwing himself into the cake challenges, the adrenaline soon kicked in. “That first day was a long day,” recalls Steven. “But it was exciting. I wanted to hear what judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith had to say. I am obviously very familiar with Paul thanks to Bake Off, but I know Prue is such an accomplished chef.”

And what made the first day really special was telling his mum that he was actually baking in the tent. “She was in floods of tears,” he reveals. “She has never been one of these people where you had to get high grades. She could hear how happy I was and she was so happy for me that I was fulfilling a huge dream of mine.”

But his mum is the only person Steven has told and the gregarious 34-year-old admits he is so relieved his big secret is now out. “I felt like I’ve been cheating my friends as I have not been able to tell them,” he says. “I’ve had to be really secretive and now I can tell them, they will know why I have been acting so oddly. I’ve wanted to throw myself into this whole experience and so I have found myself living, breathing and sleeping all things baking. But what an amazing programme to be part of.”

Steven now feels swapping his career in marketing for a baking one is a possibility. He says: “Landing a place in the line-up for this year’s show has made me realise what my big passion in life is. It’s a real cliché but you have to love your job. I’d definitely love to swap my career one day.”