|Mary Berry with Alistair Appleton|
The first ever eagerly anticipated Cake and Bake show took place last weekend at Earls Court in London. I had bought tickets some time ago, along with my daughter Laura and her mother-in-law Chris and we expected a full day of baking demonstrations, sampling and shopping.
Unfortunately, it seemed that the trade stands were dominated by the art of sugarcraft - which didn’t particularly interest us – as well as the ever popular cupcake wrappers, boxes, sprinkles, etc. We were therefore disappointed that the general alchemy of cake-making seemed to be missing along with the equipment and utensils to aid in their production.
We felt that the exhibition layout wasn’t wonderful and navigating the awkward shape with an oversized programme and map wasn’t easy in the overcrowded areas. Indeed, for the first few hours, in most cases stands were 6-deep in ticket-holders and therefore it was impossible to view any of the items being demonstrated or for sale. Stands also ran out of promotional items before we got to them and, in fact, shut-up shop early.
Sadly, we felt that the Earls Court organisation wasn’t up to scratch either – long, long queues at the entrance, long, long queues in the refreshment areas – which were overpriced and under-stocked – and, of course, long, long queues for the loos.
During the afternoon we did manage to glimpse Eric Lanlard in the distance on the Baking Mad stand, saw Patissier Claire Clark, and Edd Kimber (of Great British Bake Off fame) signed a book for me before we ventured over to the Demonstration Kitchen and were lucky enough to see Mary Berry demonstrate three of her recipes. She was introduced by Alistair Appleton– sometimes seen on Escape to the Country – and was joined towards the end by Paul Hollywood.
As the crowds thinned at the close of the day it was then possible to take another, this time ‘breathable’, tour of the exhibition but the disappointment lingered and it was difficult to drum up further enthusiasm. I wonder if others felt the same?