Star baker continues to shine

Star baker continues to shine

Success in the BBC’s Great British Bake Off has brought fame to former QE pupil Richard Burr.

Richard (OE 1987-1994), was named ‘star baker’ an unprecedented five times in the primetime television series, which will now also be shown in the US from 28th December. He had been the front-runner for much of the series and only narrowly missed out on the title, finishing as runner-up.

Speaking after the result was announced, Richard said: “I think the greatest lesson I have taken out is [that] if you want to do something, just crack on and do it: if you don’t just open the door, you will never find out.”

Despite being pipped at the post, Richard impressed the judges in the final in October, with Paul Hollywood praising the “unbelievable” flavours of his final creation – a spectacular pièce montée cake modelled on a windmill. In the end, however, first prize went to retired GP surgery manager Nancy Birtwhistle.

Since then, he has continued to enjoy the limelight, this month rubbing shoulders with well-known figures such as singer Paloma Faith at the BBC Music Awards at Earls Court.

His Twitter feed has more than 30,000 followers, while his blog posts are eagerly followed by many and feature updates on his recipe research as well as his charity work.

Richard went to St Paul’s C of E Primary School in Mill Hill before coming to QE when Eamonn Harris was Headmaster.

He traces his love of baking back to the time he spent baking with his mother as a small child. Then, as a teenager, he had a Saturday job washing up in a local bakery, which further fired his enthusiasm.

Richard is the fourth generation to work in his family’s building business and specialises in bricklaying and building. The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood said his experience as a builder could even be seen in his baking: “Whether Richard’s mixing up plaster, cement, dough or pastry, he knows about consistency. It’s like working a cement mixer. That’s why he does so well.”

Married to Sarah and with two daughters, Richard does most of the family cooking and enjoys baking with his wife. He especially enjoys bread and pastry-making, while making the girls’ birthday cakes are highlights of the family’s year.

Richard had long been a keen fan of The Great British Bake Off. “We watch it every year and really enjoy it,” he told the BBC. “After last year I had quite a few friends and family say ‘you should go on Bake Off’, so I put my money where my mouth was and here I am.”

A keen fisherman, diver and cyclist, he also grows his own vegetables and volunteers for the National Wildlife Trust. He is teaching his daughters eco-friendly ways to help animals by building homes for hedgehogs to hibernate in.

Richard told the School that he is proud of the first-class BSc degree in Biodiversity and Conservation that he gained in 2012 from Birkbeck College, London, studying part-time.