‘Why did he get preferential treatment?!’: Outraged Bake Off viewers ask why Rahul was given extra time, how he could win after burning his pitta and losing technical challenge and claim he ‘lied’ about never eating a doughnut
- Rahul Mandal has been crowned the winner of Great British Bake Off 2018 following dramatic series finale
- Kolkata-born research scientist, 30, beat off competition from finalists Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy Hewlett
- The trio went head-to-head both inside and outside the famous Bake Off tent in Welford Park, Berkshire
- His final challenge – an edible rock garden – secured his victory after a doughnut and pitta bread task
- The scenes were filmed in Berkshire during the summer heatwave the UK experienced in June and July
An emotional Rahul Mandal has been crowned the winner of Great British Bake Off 2018 following a dramatic series that was embroiled in ‘cheating’ claims.
The Kolkata-born research scientist, 30, beat off stiff competition from finalists Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy Hewlett to win the coveted crown on Tuesday night, but fans have accused the star baker of being a ‘liar and a cheat’ who received ‘preferential treatment’ from judges during the series finale.
His final challenge – an edible rock garden made from orange-flavoured green curd, cardamon diplomat and orange butter cream – secured his victory following a doughnut Signature Bake task and pitta bread Technical Challenge over an open fire that saw him mildly burn the bread.
However, eagle-eyed viewers noted that despite Rahul’s claim he had never eaten doughnuts before, he later said that he preferred the baked treat ‘with lots of filling’.
There was also outcry after the finalist was given a full 15 minutes’ extra time to complete his showstopper challenge when a glass storage jar shattered in the heat and shards went flying into his cake mix.
Winner: GBBO contestant Rahul Mandal, 30, beat off stiff competition from finalists Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy Hewlett to win the coveted crown on Tuesday night, just hours after bookies suspended bets on him scooping the top spot (pictured with Paul Hollywood, left, and Prue Leith, right)
Rahul filling his doughnuts during tonight’s series finale. Fans have accused the now-winner of being a ‘liar’ after he said he had never eaten a doughnut before – and later claimed he liked them with ‘lots of filling’ during the challenge
Controversy: One eagle-eyed viewer noted that despite Rahul’s claim that he had never eaten doughnuts before, he later said that he preferred the baked treat ‘with lots of filling’. One irate viewer branded the finalist a ‘liar’
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Preferential treatment? There was outcry tonight after Rahul was given a full 15 minutes’ extra time to complete his showstopper challenge when a glass storage jar shattered in the heat and shards went flying into his cake mix (pictured)
Fans were outraged when Rahul was given an extra 15 minutes during tonight’s episode. He had extra time to complete his showstopper challenge when a glass storage jar shattered in the heat and shards went flying into his cake mix
The contestants were tasked with a series of gruelling tasks, including baking pitta outside on hot stones (pictured) which saw Rahul burn his bread – causing viewers at home to claim he had been given ‘preferential treatment’
Outcry: Furious fans have claimed Rahul was given ‘preferential treatment’ during tonight’s final episode after he was given extra time during his dessert challenge, claimed to have never eaten a doughnut before, and burned his pitta bread
The three finalists went head-to-head both inside and outside the famous Bake Off tent in Welford Park, Berkshire to perform a series of gruelling culinary challenges.
The final outcome was shrouded in uncertainty, with Rahul’s repeated insistence that he ‘didn’t know what he was doing’ and fears that his baked goods were an ‘utter disgrace’.
Tuesday night’s scenes were filmed during the summer heatwave the UK experienced in June and July, and parasols had to be erected over each open fire to shield them from the sun as they slaved over the fire.
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Rahul’s place in the the top three had been embroiled in controversy, after he flew into the final despite a disastrous ‘Danish week’ performance last week that saw Paul brand his creations ‘hideous’ and ‘boring’.
Last week, host Sandi Toksvig was forced to defend Rahul after some viewers accused the scientist of cheating during the semi final episode – calling him an ‘astonishing talent’.
Rahul was seen continuing to decorate his bakes after Sandi and her co-host Noel Fielding had called time during challenges on last week’s show.
Host Sandi Toksvig gives Rahul a reassuring kiss during tonight’s finale. She was recently forced to defend Rahul after some viewers accused the scientist of cheating during the semi final episode – calling him an ‘astonishing talent’
Rahul’s final challenge (pictured) – an edible rock garden made from orange-flavoured green curd, cardamon and orange butter cream – secured his victory after a doughnut signature bake task and baking pitta bread over an open fire
Emotional: There were jubilant scenes outside the Bake Off tent when judges announced shy and retiring research scientist Rahul as the winner tonight. His final challenge – an edible rock garden made from orange-flavoured green curd, cardamon diplomat and orange butter cream – secured his victory over fellow finalists Ruby and Kim-Joy
Rahul with his trophy. His place in the the top three had been embroiled in controversy, after he flew into the final despite a disastrous ‘Danish week’ performance last week that saw Paul brand his creations ‘hideous’ and ‘boring’
Runners up: Rahul beat off stiff competition from finalists Ruby Bhogal (left) and viewers’ favourite Kim-Joy Hewlett (right) to win the coveted crown on Tuesday night, just hours after bookies suspended bets on him stealing the crown
GBBO series winner Rahul Mandal making doughnuts during his Signature Bake task. One eagle-eyed viewer noted that despite his claim he had never eaten doughnuts before, he later said that he preferred the baked treat ‘with lots of filling’
The finalists cooking outside during the outdoors challenge. The scenes were filmed during the summer heatwave the UK experienced in June and July, and parasols had to be erected over each open fire to shield them from the sun
Tensions were running high in the GBBO tent during Tuesday night’s dramatic series finale. The contestants were tasked with a series of gruelling tasks, including baking pitta outside on hot stones (pictured: the finished product)
Rahul baking pitta bread over an open fire in tonight’s series final. Tuesday night’s scenes were filmed during the summer heatwave the UK experienced in June and July, and parasols had to be erected over each open fire to shield them from the sun as they slaved over the fire
Nerves: The final outcome of tonight’s series finale was shrouded in uncertainty, with Rahul’s repeated insistence that he ‘didn’t know what he was doing’ and fears that his baked goods were an ‘utter disgrace’
Rahul’s place in the the top three had been embroiled in controversy, after he flew into the final despite a disastrous ‘Danish week’ performance last week that saw Paul brand his creations ‘hideous’ and ‘boring’
The three finalists went head-to-head both inside and outside the famous Bake Off tent in Welford Park, Berkshire tonight as the competitors performed a gruelling culinary challenge outside for the first time, with Kim-Joy scooping second place
Speaking about the semi final incident, Sandi told Digital Spy: ‘What you see is what you get [with Rahul]. He’s a really charming man with very little self-confidence and an astonishing talent.’
‘The others all have talent, [quarter-finalist] Briony is talented, Ruby is talented, Kim-Joy is talented but at the end of the day, it’s that bake on that day. I’m sorry if there is a backlash.’
She added: ‘Everybody is doing their best. These are not telly people. These are people who have decided to put themselves forward to do something that they are passionate about. So, I would hate for there to be a backlash against anybody.’
Rahul also escaped the chop during the show’s first ever vegan week challenge, when his chocolate and coconut vegan celebration cake dramatically toppled over and he had to present it to the judges in two pieces.
Who is GBBO winner Rahul Mandal?
Rahul, who moved to the UK from Kolkata in 2010 to do a PhD in optical metrology (precision measurement using light) at Loughborough University has already won an army of fans on social media.
Once in the UK, he discovered new flavours and cuisines that have inspired his East-meets-West style of baking.
He will perhaps be best remembered for receiving a flurry of coveted ‘Hollywood handshakes’ during the series after securing the Star Baker title during the Break and Cake weeks.
Rahul went from outsider to series favourite for the Channel 4 competition after winning Star Baker twice in the first three weeks, yet Rahul took up baking only five years ago, to help him make friends.
Winner: Rahul Mandul moved to the UK from Kolkata in 2010 to do a PhD in optical metrology (precision measurement using light) at Loughborough University. He previously worked at the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
A childhood snap of Kolkata-born GBBO winner Rahul Mandal standing in front of the Taj Mahal. Rahul went from outsider to series favourite for the Channel 4 content after winning Star Baker twice in the first three weeks, yet Rahul took up baking only five years ago
Series favourite Rahul as a little boy with a family member. His spreadsheet recipes and timid nature have already won him a huge fan base, and he melted hearts even more by revealing in week one that he Skypes his parents in India ‘every day’
His shaking hands have often betrayed his nerves and he once admitted: ‘Inside me is like a pressure cooker. It can burst any time.’ And despite his scientific approach he often winced while presenting his creations to be judged.
He famously apologised for putting too much fruit on his Chelsea buns during an earlier challenge, only for Paul Hollywood to tell him they were ‘baked to perfection’ and later describe him as a ‘little genius’ for his korovai – a sweet Eastern European bread served at weddings – which he decorated with swans.
In week two, his collar cake with chocolate shards earned him a coveted Hollywood handshake, the first for a showstopper, perhaps to make up for earlier calling him ‘chubby faced’.
Earlier this week, bookies suspended bets on Rahul Mandal taking the crown, and so it proved after he was named the winner on Tuesday night during a dramatic series finale (pictured: the Kolkuta-born scientist Skyping with his family back home)
His spreadsheet recipes and timid nature have already won him a huge fan base, and he melted hearts even more by revealing in week one that he Skypes his parents in India ‘every day’.
He was recently spotted carrying a giant sponge into work for his colleagues at the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
Rahul, who lives in Rotherham, admitted: ‘Even as a child, rather than watching sports, I enjoyed watching cookery shows. I never baked when I was in India. My baking journey began in the UK about five years ago when I was feeling lonely.
‘The first cake I made was about two years ago, when my parents visited the UK for the first time.’
Rahul’s friends Liz (pictured to his left) and David (to his right) supported him at the finale. They became his first friends when he arrived in Britain and took him under their wing, and David was the one who encouraged him to apply
‘Even five years ago I really had no idea about Bake Off. One of my colleagues kind of pushed me to apply. I think pretty much everybody I know will be surprised.’
Rahul came over to Britain eight years ago with no friends or family. Husband and wife Liz and David from Sheffield met him through work and deciding to take him under their wing, the trio struck up a firm friendship.
It was David that encouraged Rahul to bake and have the confidence to apply for the show.
Liz said during the finale: ‘I think it must have been really hard for him to come to this country and be on his own, it’s a very hard thing to do.’
David said: ‘To actually pick up the cuisine of a new country and get to a level where he’s one of the top three amateur bakers in the country is just phenomenal.
‘He is family and I know he sees us as his family in Sheffield. I think my life would have been a lot poorer if I hadn’t met Rahul.’
Bookies had suspended bets on on Rahul, who lives in Rotherham, taking the crown according to bookmakers.tv.
Research by the site’s TV number crunchers reveals prior to the plug being pulled on betting on the final, the Rotherham baker’s odds were slashed to just 1/2 (from 5/2) leaving him as the hot favourite ahead of fellow finalists Kim-Joy (3/1) and Ruby (3/1).
Alex Kostin of bookmakers.tv said: ‘Bookies have pulled the plug on this year’s Bake Off betting firmly in the belief Rahul will gets his hands on the cake stand trophy.
‘Ever since he ousted Manon a few weeks ago he’s been in pole position and unless there’s a big upset in store, it looks like Kim-Joy and Ruby will be battling for second place at best.’
Rahul, who arrived in England on his own eight years ago, also shared a touching moment with David and Liz, who ‘took him under their wing’ as he struggled to make friends in his new home, during the series finale.
Bake Off returned to Channel 4 last month, debuting 12 fresh home-bakers.
GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2018: THE RUNNERS-UP
The [Kim] joy of baking: Kim-Joy, who was a runner-up in tonight’s series finale, has previously said she has an ‘open’ approach to cakes (left) while project manager Ruby was inspired by her mother, who used to make Indian sweets when she was a child (right)
Occupation: Mental health specialist
Why Bake Off? Kim-Joy says her mixed-heritage is reflected in her open attitude to baking. She was born in Belgium to an English father and Malaysian-Chinese mother, grew up in London and now lives in Leeds. She applied for the show to boost her confidence as she never thought she could do it
Stand–out moments: She was awarded Star Baker during the series’ first ever Spice Week for her mini gingerbread house and festive chandelier, as well as during Vegan Week.
Occupation: Project manager
Why Bake Off? Growing up in an Indian family, Ruby was inspired by her mother, who used to make Indian sweets when she was a child. Now a Londoner, Ruby makes cakes, pastries and ‘boozy treats’ – which she enjoys inviting her friends and family over to indulge in
Stand-out moments: The brunette earned the Star Baker title in the semi-finals, and during Danish Week with her Smorrebrod and her Kagekone.
THE PUBLIC FAVOURITE VS THE BOOKIE’S CHOICE: KIM JOY AND RAHUL’S BAKE OFF JOURNEY
WEEK ONE: BISCUIT WEEK
Signature: Regional biscuits
Rahul’s Fennel and coconut Pitcaithly Bannock got a bad review from Prue who said ‘I don’t think the fennel has quite the flavour you thought it had.’
Kim-Joy’s Orange Blossom York Biscuits were described as ‘abolutely exquisite’ by Prue. Paul said it was a ‘beautifully balanced biscuit’ with ‘beautiful flavours’.
Technical: Wagon Wheel
Kim-Joy came in tenth place out of the 13 bakers while Rahul took seventh.
Showstopper: Biscuit selfie portrait
Rahul’s First Spring in the UK impressed with Paul describing it as a well baked biscuit and combined with the design made for a ‘great job’.
Kim-Joy’s ‘Me at Miyajima Shrine’ piece had ‘amazing decorations’ according to Prue but she said it could do with a tiny bit more spice.
WEEK TWO: Cake week
Kim-Joy’s Pandan Leaf Chiffon Cake were called ‘really elegant’ by Prue while Paul said that the textures were perfect although he didn’t like the flavour.
Rahul’s Lemon and Cardamon traybake tasted ‘beautiful’ according to Paul.
Technical: La gateu vert
Kim-Joy came in fourth place behind Rahul who took second.
Showstopper: Chocolate collar cake
Kim-Joy’s Yuzu & Raspberry Genoise Cat Cake impressed in looks but was ‘slightly too dry’ according to Paul.
Rahul’s Chocolate Orange Layer Cake prompted a ‘wow’ from Prue on presentation alone and earned him a Hollywood handshake – the first ever for in the show’s history for a Showstopper.
STAR BAKER: Rahul
WEEK THREE: Bread week
Signature: Chelsea Bun
Rahul’s Mango and Cranberry take did look ‘messy’ according to Prue but she really enjoyed the contrast of sweet and savoury and Paul said it was ‘baked to perfection’.
Kim Joy’s Pistachio & Cardamom Tangzhong was criticised for having too delicate a flavour.
Technical: Garlic naan breads
Kim-Joy came at the very bottom of the pack for her undercooked ‘inedible’ breads while Rahul got fourth.
Kim-Joy’s Orange Cranberry ‘Kit-ovai’ was a little bit ‘cake like’ according to Paul and needed another half an hour proving.
Rahul’s Garden Wedding Korovai was described as ‘fantastic’ by Paul and won Prue’s approval for the decoration.
STAR BAKER: Rahul
WEEK FOUR: Dessert week
Signature: Meringue roulade
Kim Joy’s Sweet Dreams Roulade had ‘exquisite piping’ but a ‘clumsy roulade’ said Prue but she did compliment its flavours.
Rahul’s Rhubarb and Custard Roulade was criticised for its lack of spiral and needed a longer bake but was praised for a ‘delicious interior.’
Kim-Joy came third from bottom in sixth and Rahul was not much further ahead in fourth.
Showstopper: Melting Chocolate Ball Desserts
Rahul’s Opera Cake with Kalash Inspired Dome got high praise for its ‘beautiful exterior and Prue ‘loved the flavour.’
Kim-Joy’s Melting Chocolate Galaxy received a rapturous applause after revealing orange flavoured turtles that were ‘very delicious’.
WEEK FIVE: Spice week
Signature: Ginger cake
Rahul’s Bonfire Night Caramel Ginger Cake was ‘pleasing to look at’ and ‘lovely and gingery’ according to Prue while Paul called him a ‘little genius’ earning him a second Hollywood handshake.
Kim-Joy’s Stem Ginger Cake with Poached Pears was described as having ‘the most beautiful texture’ by Prue and the ‘beautifully balanced’ flavours earned her her first Hollywood handshake.
Kim-Joy came in fourth while Rahul secured third.
Showstopper: Biscuit chandelier
Rahul’s Durga Puja Cardamon Chandelier was a ‘bit messy in places’ says Paul but he said the flavour ‘was beautiful.’
Kim-Joy’s Christmas Spiced Iced Chandelier was dubbed ‘gorgeous’ by Paul who said it was ‘very very well thought through.’
STAR BAKER: Kim-Joy
WEEK SIX: Pastry week
Kim-Joy’s flavours of India samosas were ‘missing something’ but had ‘perfect’ pastry according to Paul.
Meanwhile Rahul Paneer Singara & Misti Singara samosas were called ‘absolutely delicious’ by Prue earning him his third Hollywood handshake.
Technical: Puit d’amour
Kim-Joy came in fifth and Rahul two steps ahead in third.
Showstopper: Majestic pie
Kim-Joy’s Silke the Vegetarian Mermaid won praise for appearance and flavour but was let down by the dense pastry.
Rahul’s Butterfly Pie was a ‘bit wet’ but saved itself with ‘perfectly blended’ spices.
WEEK SEVEN: Vegan week
Signature: Savoury tartlets
Rahul’s Ghungi Chat and Coriander Posto & Veg Tartlets were put down for excessive filling but the Ghungi Chat had Prue describe them as ‘poetry’.
Kim-Joy’s Mascarpone Squirrel and Broccoli & Tomato Tartlets saw her earn her second Hollywood handshake thanks to her ‘very good job.’
Technical: Vegan tropical fruit pavlova
Kim-Joy scored her very lowest coming last place while Rahul won his first technical challenge
Showstopper: Vegan celebration cake
Kim-Joy’s Lavender & Lemon Fox Cake was described as a ‘very nice cake’ thanks to the well executed flavour balance.
Rahul’s Chocolate and Coconut Layer Cake with Raspberry Jam was ‘weakened’ by the coconut drizzle and tasted ‘too much’ of coconut.
STAR BAKER: Kim-Joy
WEEK EIGHT: Danish week
Kim-Joy’s Bumblebee eggs & Fish Smørrebrød were praised for being ‘authentic’ but the bread was not stiff enough for Paul.
Rahul’s Smoked Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Smørrebrød had created a very dense rye bread and was described as ‘awful’ by Paul.
Rahul’s burnt pancakes saw him come in last while Kim-Joy came in second.
Rahul’s Indian King Kagekone received criticism from both judges for being overcooked.
Prue had never seen ‘more exquisite piping’ than that on Kim-Joy’s Off to the Opera Kagekone, though flavour wise it was ‘underbaked and soggy’ reducing the baker to tears.
WEEK NINE: Semi-final Patisserie week
Signature: Dipped Madeleines
Rahul’s Orange Curd and Raspberry & Lemon Madeleines impressed and although the raspberry flavour didn’t rise as well the orange ones were ‘delicious’ according to Paul.
Kim-Joy’s Orange Bunny and Ginger & Lemon Madeleines were ‘beautifully ices’ but had too much baking powder in them and were slightly lacking in flavour.
Technical: Torta setteveli
After being reduced to tears by the chocolate mousse Kim-Joy managed to come in second while Rahul came in fourth.
Showstopper: Parisian Patisserie Window
Kim-Joy’s Passionfruit & Meringue, Orange Religieuses and Lemon & Blueberry Mille-feuille were too large according to Paul and were not delicate enough while the latter looked ‘dull’. However, there was high praise for her flavours.
Rahul’s Classic Fruit Tarts, Caramel Eclairs and Lemon & Blueberry Mille-Feuille were ‘unfinished’ due to lack of glazing and a ‘boring’ eclair according to Paul. Though he was able to redeem himself with the Mille-Feuille.
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