THE HEAT of the kitchen - and being on national TV - is off, but Limerick baker Hazel Ryan Sheehan won’t stop cooking, after being eliminated in the closing stages of The Great Irish Bake-Off.
The 31-year-old mum of two left the TV3 show in episode six this Wednesday night as part of a double-elimination, after first being pitted against 10 other “outstanding bakers” who are all competing to be crowned Ireland’s best amateur baker.
“I’m absolutely loved the show, and watched all the first series, but it was really surreal being on it.
“I watched the first season thinking I could totally do better, but when I met the other bakers in the tent they were streets ahead. The talent is incredible,” she told the Limerick Leader.
Watching yourself on the telly is very strange,” she admitted.
“You wonder - ‘do I really say those things? Why don’t people tell me I sound like that! But it is good fun and the feedback that I have gotten has been that I am natural.
“I have had friends reconnect from secondary school who have said I am the very same as I was then, which is nice.”
The pre-school teacher for children with autism who graduated from Trinity after studying applied behavioural analysis, said she had made “12 new friends instantly” through the rest of the bakers on the show.
She has also learned to “try new things and use new tips and techniques that I picked up on the way”.
“I definitely didn’t challenge myself in my own baking,” she said.
“I am capable of more and I need to further my repertoire and increase the things that I do and this brought it home to me.”
In a recent episode, she fell faint during one of the technical challenges, as she hadn’t slept the night before and didn’t eat properly.
She learnt her skills in the kitchen from her mother Doris Ryan, and her daughter Caitlin, age 12, is now hanging on her apron strings watching her bake. She now bakes about four times a week for her blog, and her ultimate dream is to turn her blog into a book. See www.cupcakerys.com/