If there’s one thing that everyone should try in the kitchen at least once in their lives it’s… bread.
This is the gospel according to Luis Troyano and he really, really means it.
“It can be a life changing experience,” he enthuses, eyes bright, smile rolling pin wide.
“There is no better feeling than to be able to create something so magical and it’s so easy. All you need is a bowl and your hands.”
And of course bread was instrumental in the 43 year-old’s rise to the giddy heights of prime time success in last year’s Great British Bake Off.
Still a mere five years old but already a national institution, more than 13 million of us tuned in to October’s GBBO to see Poynton-born Luis make it through to the final three. In the end he narrowly missed the top spot, losing out to Nancy ‘Close to Perfection’ Birtwistle.
But the affable former advertising exec is proof positive that nice guys don’t have to finish first to win. Since the series he’s waved goodbye to his graphic design background and donned the apron full-time.
“Bake Off was a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.
“I baked a lot, laughed a lot, swore a lot, cried a lot, used a lot of flour and made a lot of new friends.”
“One of the questions I’m asked most from would-be bakers is ‘should I try out for Bake Off?’ and, no hesitation, the answer is ’yes’ – I loved every minute.”
Now Luis is ready to jump out of the oven and straight onto the hob as he broadens his already panoramic culinary horizons.
He’s on a mission to demystify the arcane world of posh cookery-speak with some proper Northern plain talk. He’s developed a range of quick, easy recipes and meal ideas called #perfectbites to back this up.
His first foray into the world of food writing, entitled Bake It Great, is due out in August. Seats at his busy schedule of demos and public appearances go, well, like hot cakes.
Luis has been at The Trafford Centre today in his role as brand ambassador for oven maker Bosch.
He’s been cooking up a storm for starry-eyed shoppers onboard the company’s new Mobile Training Academy (affectionately known as the Bosch Bus).
He’s helping to promote the German engineering giant’s new Serie8 range of ovens. It’s a shiny futuristic looking piece of kit that comes with Assist technology. Just select what you want to cook from a broad range of categories, ‘cake’ for example, and the oven does the rest.
“I love helping to make it easier for people to get into the kitchen and be creative,” Luis said.
“I was pretty much brought up in the kitchen. My parents are from Spain and they owned their own restaurant, so I’ve been around food all my life.
“I know it’s not the same for everyone, there are lots of people who want to give cooking a go but feel a bit daunted by it all.
“Anything that makes the process simple, easy and, above all, enjoyable, has got to be a good thing.”
Luis effortlessly takes his audience through the finer points of chocolate orange scones and stuffed, rolled side of salmon fillet before the inevitable round of questions and off-the-cuff expert tips.
Want to get more juice from your fruit? Roll it before you slice. Fed up with bakes sticking to the tray? Lay it on silicone-coated parchment…simple.
But Luis’ best tip is the most obvious one – just give it a go.
“There’s no better feeling than to be able to create something from scratch that people appreciate. Then you can look at it with pride and think ‘I made this!’” he beams. “Cooking really can change your life.”
So, start with that bread, or even some of Luis’ scones, and see where it takes you. A few years from now you might find yourself under that big white gazebo facing Paul and Mary.
Bosch’s Mobile Training Academy is currently taking part in a countrywide tour and will be coming to a shopping centre near you soon.
Luis’ recipes can be viewed on video by clicking here.
Luis Troyano’s new book Bake It Great will be released in August.