When Manisha Parmar was 14 years old, her mother taught her how to make a vanilla sponge cake. The transformation from raw ingredients to what Manisha remembers as “a beautifully soft, cloud-like texture” was a magical process that she would never forget. After this the teenager became hooked on baking, every weekend trying something new and adventurous, constantly learning and improving on her newly acquired skills.
In 2011 whilst watching the second series of the Great British Bake Off, she thought to herself “how hard can this be?” Applying to the show was the easy part, but when she got a call from Love Productions the very next day, Manisha was pleasantly surprised. Having never had a baking lesson in her life (unless of course you count the vanilla sponge!), she was put through her paces with a series of questions. Her biggest inspirations are Raymond Blanc, Eric Lanlard, Nigella Lawson and Michel Roux Jnr, all of whom she has followed for many years on various TV shows; to date this was where she had learnt everything she knew about baking.
After a few rounds of auditions, Manisha got that all important call and at last she felt “recognised for being good at something”. As a new chapter began she got used to being on camera and practised her skills on family and friends so that she would be prepared for the wrath of the judges. Manisha survived many rounds of the show, being the fifth out of twelve contestants to leave. She feels proud that she got so far, but acknowledges that her last day was a bad one due to a “soggy puff pastry, vomit-like crème caramel and an overflowing banana butterscotch pie.”
Post Bake Off Manisha has been commissioned for a number of cake creations, and she still enjoys baking at home for family and friends. With attendances at the Good Food Show 2012 and the Cake and Bake Show 2013, Manisha credits the Bake Off and the buzz around it with giving her a new-found confidence boost.
As for the future, Manisha is still baking and learning new techniques all the time, keeping it very much as a hobby alongside her day job as a Nursery Nurse. She enjoys baking cakes with an emphasis on taste, texture and flavour rather than novelty cakes, and prides herself on personalising her cakes to suit the preferences of the recipient. Having already commissioned a cake from Manisha, here at Expressive Thoughts we can confirm that her work is delectable!
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