Ex-Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite defends Rahul victory: 'Be kind'

A former Great British Bake Off winner has defended Rahul’s victory after some viewers accused the judges of fixing the result.

Rahul Mandal, 30, lifted the trophy after a nail-biting final which saw a storage jar on the research scientist’s workbench shatter, sending glass everywhere.

Some fans of the Channel 4 show said Kim-Joy should have won.

But John Whaite, who won Bake Off when it was a BBC show in 2012, said it was wrong to suggest the judges had an agenda.

“We cannot know whether the impartiality of the judges was fettered,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We cannot draw such inferences from a one hour show which is tidily edited from about 140 hours of footage. I can only speak from my experience: the judges are seemingly impartial.

“The Bake Off is an exhilarating but exhausting process. The bakers dedicate hours to their craft and to the whirlwind of an undertaking which temporarily diverts and derails the fickle carriage of life. They all deserve our deepest respect and tendered well-wishes. Be kind.”

He had a criticism about one of the final challenges though, asking: “What was the fire pit about?”

Rahul, who moved to the UK from India eight years ago and lives in Rotherham, had struggled with confidence throughout the hit series.

But the research scientist, who received several Paul Hollywood handshakes, beat Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy to triumph in the competition.

Kim-Joy wrote on Twitter: “I didn’t win – but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

“I’ve learnt so much about baking and have become so much more confident. And I’ve made 11 amazing new friends!”

Rahul had to restart his showstopper after the 32C heat in the tent caused a storage jar on his workbench to shatter, sending glass everywhere.

He began recreating his rock garden landscape dessert, featuring buttercream plants, choux rocks and chocolate orange mounds, from scratch after throwing away anything that might have shards in.

Judges Prue Leith and Hollywood ultimately gave him extra time at the end of challenge to make up for the 15 minutes he lost.

After discovering he had won, he said: “I just feel I need to talk with my mum.

“What’s next for me? I am going to start learning how not to say sorry so much… sorry about that.”

He later admitted he thought the glass breaking signalled the end of the road for him in the competition.

“It broke into a thousand pieces and went in everything so it all had to be chucked, it almost broke me and I really thought that was it for me,” he said.

“Fortunately I was able to prove that I could finish it.”

Earlier in the episode Rahul impressed the judges with his doughnuts in the signature challenge, despite never having eaten one before the competition.

Hollywood described his doughnut filled with mango creme patisserie as “like a mango bomb”.

His spiced orange ring doughnut, heavily decorated with buttercream flowers, was more of a misstep and host Noel Fielding joked: “They are like a doughnut you would get at a funeral, can you lay some on my gravestone when I die?”

All three contestants struggled during the technical challenge, when they had to leave the tent and bake outdoors for the first time.

Tasked with cooking six pitta breads and three dips on top of a campfire, the trio all found managing the flames to be an unexpected difficulty.

Rahul branded his breads “an utter disgrace”, while Ruby said hers were “diabolical”.

Kim-Joy fared slightly better and went on to win the challenge, with Rahul coming second.

After crowning Rahul the overall winner, Leith said: “I think the amazing thing about Rahul and why I am so proud of him is that he came in unconfident, but he just kept going, and he never reined in his ambition, he always tried to do a bit more than everybody else, and it paid off.”

Hollywood added: “He is one of those characters that you will miss when you are not with him.

“You know his intensity sometimes is amazing, and he is so good at what he does, but I don’t think he realises still how good he actually is and I think that’s what’s magic about Rahul.”

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