18 December 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Cianna McNally

“At the time I felt shocked but absolutely delighted to have won! Now that it’s all out in the open, I’m getting to relive that and share it with everyone who’s been watching from Monaghan, which is even nicer.”

These were the words of Cathy MacKenna, who won the final of The Great Irish Bake Off last Sunday evening. Speaking to The Northern Standard, Cathy described the competition, which was filmed in September, as “intense and tough at times” but said overall it was hugely enjoyable.

“I had the chance to spend a month doing something that I absolutely love, with a great group of people – can’t get much better than that!”

Viewers of the TV3 show would have seen Cathy regularly praised by judges Paul Kelly and Lily Higgins for her use of flavours in the form of warm spices, seasonal fruits and earthy tones, which made her bakes stand out. When asked where she got her inspiration from in this regard, Cathy explained that there was an element of trial and error involved.

“We’re very interested in food at home and love to try out unusual recipes and ingredients. Between books, TV shows and online recipe sites, there’s always plenty to draw inspiration from. After that, it’s just trial and error really!”

Cathy’s beautiful Harvest style wedding cake in the final wowed the judges on both flavour and presentation. Having only five hours to make it, the pressure was on.

“I knew the flavours I wanted to choose and the style I was hoping to create as the fresh fruits and autumn colours tied in well with my Harvest theme. During practice I took some time trying different combinations until I was happy with what I’d made and then set to learning my steps off by heart to make sure not to waste any time as I knew the five hours would fly by.”

Cathy watched the final of The Great Irish Bake Off in the Westenra Arms Hotel in Monaghan in the company of her family and friends.

“Watching with all my friends and family was wonderful and I’d like to thank the Westenra Arms for taking such good care of us on the night.” 

The reaction to the talented baker’s win has been very positive and Cathy acknowledged all the supportive calls and messages she received. She was also quick to encourage anybody with an interest in baking to apply to take part in The Great Irish Bake Off as she felt it was a ….


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