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The British Bake Off Burgess

ByChris Wright

Nov 16, 2021

Last month, fourth year student Peter Sawkins was made an Honorary Burgess of the City of Edinburgh. Lord Provost Frank Ross mentioned Peter being both the youngest and the first Scottish winner in the show’s history. He won the 2020 season of The Great British Bake Off and now has returned to studying (and baking) in Edinburgh.

When asked about being made a Burgess in an interview with The Student, Peter said it “was quite a surprising thing. It’s a very old title. It was a great honour because I’ve lived in Edinburgh all my life. The City Council unanimously voted to give me this title to recognize me in this way. And it was really a wonderful thing to hear. To hear that I was part of something that had that really positive impact on people’s life during a tough time was lovely.”

Peter also has a new book titled ‘Peter Bakes’, which was released last month. During the interview, he talked about it and told The Student that “the book is just everything about what and how I love to bake. There’s over 100 recipes. Everything is sweet in the book. We started out with a blank page. We decided what kind of chapters we were doing and wanted to create chapters based on different types of baking and then wrote a recipe list which did amend over time.”

Sawkins then went on to say that he was “just trying to think of my favourite flavour combinations, those of my friends and family, and the techniques that I’ve had the most success with in the past and the techniques that I most enjoyed creating and working with in the kitchen. So I’ve just shared all that in this book and put together kind of a highlight reel of the things that I most love baking.”

Peter wrote the book with certain motivations in mind. His main intention with the book is “just to share an excitement and passion for baking. It’s to get people excited to go in the kitchen. I think if you pick up a book, it piques your interest, it gets you engaged. I think the book has done a really good job. And people are just inspired by the recipes and go and make something else or if people just sort of enjoy sitting down with it and thinking about the food, and that then gets them to go and start crafting away. Or if they follow the recipes to the T.”

In short, the main aim of the book is to connect people with a love for the art of baking in any way, “just so long as it gets them to engage in it and think about the process of baking and get going in the kitchen. I think that will be a success from the book.”

As for his advice to novice bakers, he said to “start simple. Don’t do anything too complicated, too fast. You pick up baking intuition as you go, and as you make mistakes, you learn from them and you can progress gradually.”

Image: Peter Sawkins by @tomduckett31