Bake Off: The Professionals
Bake Off: The Professionals (previously Bake Off: Crème de la Crème from 2016–2017) is a British television baking competition featuring teams of professional pastry chefs pit against one another through two different challenges. It is a spin-off from The Great British Bake Off, and its first episode was screened on BBC Two on 29 March 2016. The eight-episode first series of the programme was presented by Tom Kerridge, with Benoit Blin, Cherish Finden and Claire Clark serving as judges. The second series was presented by Angus Deayton, but Claire Clark did not return as a judge. The third series moved to Channel 4 to join The Great British Bake Off after the BBC declined to renew the series. The Channel 4 series has been renamed Bake Off: The Professionals, and is presented by comedian Tom Allen and former contestant on the main series, Liam Charles.
|Bake Off: The Professionals|
|Also known as||Bake Off: Crème de la Crème|
|Directed by||Emma Reynolds|
|Presented by||Tom Kerridge|
|Theme music composer||Tom Howe|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||37|
|Executive producer(s)||Anna Beattie|
|Producer(s)||Kate Baller, Laura Smith|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Love Productions|
|Original network||BBC Two (2016–17)|
Channel 4 (2018–)
|Original release||29 March 2016 –|
|Related shows||The Great British Bake Off|
The first series was won by the Squires Kitchen Cookery School team led by Mark Tilling, followed by a team of military chefs led by Liam Grime, a team from London Hilton Park Lane with Emmanuel Bonneau, and Thibault Marchand and Erica Sangiorgi from Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel.
The series is a competition between teams of professional pastry chefs from high-end hotels and restaurants, as well as supermarkets, armed forces and other companies and organisations. The competition aims to find the finest pastry chefs in the country, who can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and can create desserts that have "stunning visual impact, phenomenal flavour, and texture." Teams of pastry chefs are chosen for the competition, with three pastry chefs in each team in the first two series, one of them the team captain. In the third In the heats, teams of duo competed. the three teams are given two challenges and are awarded marks from the three judges for each of their creations, the team with the best total score after both challenges is guaranteed a place in the semifinal. The team with the highest total score throughout the whole of the heats is also guaranteed a place within the semifinal. Each episode consists of two challenges:
- Miniature Challenge
- In this challenge each team have to create a batch of 3 different types of miniatures. All must be uniform in appearance, finished to the very highest professional standards and will only have three hours to make all 108 pastries. Each miniature is marked out of 30 with a total of 90 points available.
- Other challenges may replace the miniature challenge. For example, there may be a secret recipe challenge for one of the heat rounds where the contestants are not given information beforehand on the bakes they have to do, and only given a recipe on the day before the start baking.
- Showpiece Challenge
- In this challenge each team are asked to reinvent a popular British dessert and present it as a fine-dining showpiece display. Each judge has 50 points they can award with a total of 150 points available.
The format changed between the first and second series. The first series started with 15 teams, three teams in each of the five heats, with the winning team each episode guaranteed a place in the semifinals, with one additional wild card from the heats. Three teams were selected from the two semifinals to compete in the final. The second series started with ten teams separated into two groups of five, with one team eliminated each episode over two sets of three heats before the semifinal. The two winners from the two semifinal then compete in the final. The third series started with twelve teams, in two groups of six, again with one team eliminated in three sets of heats. The remaining six teams, three from each group, then competed for a place in the quarterfinal, followed by the semifinal, leaving three teams in the final.
|1||8||29 March 2016||17 May 2016||Squires Kitchen Cookery School||London Hilton Park Lane||BBC Two|
|2||9||4 April 2017||31 May 2017||Military Chefs||Cocorico Patisserie|
|3||10||6 May 2018||8 July 2018||London Hilton Park Lane||Sweet Art Lab||Channel 4|
|Resorts World Birmingham|
|4||10||30 April 2019||14 June 2019||Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel||Pennyhill Park Hotel|
|South Place Hotel|
The first series of the competition was filmed at Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, It was presented by Tom Kerridge, and the competition was judged by Benoit Blin, Cherish Finden and Claire Clark.
There were fifteen teams of pastry chefs in the first round. The team from Marks & Spencer, British Armed Forces, London's Boulangerie Jade, London Hilton on Park Lane, and Leed's Lauden Chocolate winning their respective heats to reach the semifinal, while Squires Kitchen Cookery School from Surrey also went through as the best scoring runners-up. The Squires Kitchen and Hilton teams won their semifinals, with Boulangerie Jade chosen for the third spot in the final. The competition was won by the team from Squires Kitchen led by Mark Tilling with his former pupils Helen Vass and Samantha Rain.
Ten teams competed in this series, some of whom also competed in the first series. Two teams competed in the final, which was between a returning team, the Military Chefs, and a team from Cocorico Patisserie of Cardiff. The competition was won by the Military Chefs with Liam Grime the team captain and two other RAF chefs, Ian Mark and Chris Morrell.
The third series was filmed at Firle Place, East Sussex and was moved to Channel 4 and retitled Bake Off: The Professionals, with Tom Allen and Liam Charles taking over as presenters. Blin and Finden returned as judges. Twelve teams, with only two pastry chefs in a team, competed in this series. The final was between three pairs: Emmanuel Bonneau and returning contestant Sam Leatherby from London Hilton on Park Lane, Darryl Collins and Bharat Chandegra from Resorts World in Birmingham and Hideko Kawa and Theo Beauchet, representing Sweet Art Lab in London. The competition was won by Emmanuel and Sam from London Hilton on Park Lane.
The fourth series was filmed at Firle Place, East Sussex The same presenters and judges returned for series 4, and again with 12 pairs of pastry chefs competing using the same format as series 3. The competition was won Thibault Marchand and Erica Sangiorgi from Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, beating teams from Pennyhill Park Hotel and South Place Hotel.
Bake Off: The Professionals returned for a fifth series on 26 May 2020 with 12 teams of pastry chefs.
Early reviews were largely negative, with many reviewers comparing it unfavourably to The Great British Bake Off, suggesting that it had lost the crucial elements that made the original Bake Off a success. Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph complained that the new show "bore no resemblance to it whatsoever, thus seemed to be merely piggybacking cynically on the Bake-Off “brand". He also found two of the judges' accents as well as the scoring system "impenetrable", the baking "bafflingly scientific" and the teams not "terribly likeable". He concluded that Creme de la Creme "was nice but dull", and that as "a Bake-Off spin-off, it was a soggy-bottomed disaster. " Many of the viewing public concurred with the assessments of the critics and found the show lacking the "charm, fun and warmth" of the original. Chitra Ramaswamy of The Guardian thought that when the professional version of Bake Off gets serious means that "it gets silly", and he "found the format convoluted, which telly like this should never be." Gabriel Tate of The Times found the show a to be a "bloodless, uninvolving affair at once frenetically busy and yawningly free of incident, full of astounding technical proficiency and jawdropping invention, but devoid of passion and identity."
The version on Channel 4 was given a lukewarm reception by the critics. Although Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph considered the new pairing of Allen and Charles an improvement as presenters, he found it "lacking the warmth, wit and charm" of its parent programme. Lucy Mangan of The Guardian thought that, unlike the original programme, the professional version failed to get viewers invested in the contestants, and that "watching professionals get it wrong" was "a cold, slightly embittering experience". James Jackson of The Times described it as a "format fluff" that is "like a smaller, colder moon orbiting the warm Jupiter giant that is the GBBO mother show."
|1||29 March 2016||4.63||2|
|2||5 April 2016||4.09||2|
|3||12 April 2016||4.15||2|
|4||19 April 2016||3.81||2|
|5||26 April 2016||3.59||2|
|6||3 May 2016||3.59||1|
|7||10 May 2016||3.39||1|
|8||17 May 2016||3.68||1|
|1||4 April 2017||2.66||4|
|2||11 April 2017||2.85||3|
|3||18 April 2017||2.60||3|
|4||25 April 2017||2.66||1|
|5||2 May 2017||2.70||3|
|6||9 May 2017||2.49||3|
|7||16 May 2017||2.66||3|
|8||24 May 2017||2.22||6|
|9||31 May 2017||2.35||6|
Viewing figures for Channel 4 are total numbers including +1.
|1||6 May 2018||2.21||4|
|2||13 May 2018||2.19||3|
|3||20 May 2018||2.29||2|
|4||27 May 2018||2.13||4|
|5||3 June 2018||1.52||7|
|6||10 June 2018||1.92||3|
|7||17 June 2018||1.84||4|
|8||24 June 2018||1.83||4|
|9||1 July 2018||1.59||5|
|10||8 July 2018||2.17||3|
Viewing figures given since September 2018 are total figures from multiple-screen viewings that include other viewing platforms in addition to television, such as computers and smartphones.
|1||30 April 2019||2.38||2|
|2||7 May 2019||2.04||2|
|3||14 May 2019||1.83||4|
|4||21 May 2019||2.17||3|
|5||28 May 2019||1.71||4|
|6||4 June 2019||2.18||1|
|7||11 June 2019||2.09||3|
|8||12 June 2019||1.92||6|
|9||13 June 2019||1.94||7|
|10||14 June 2019||2.05||4|
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