Will Frances be able to bake another winner?

Frances Quinn. Photo by Dave Smith
Frances Quinn. Photo by Dave Smith

Harborough’s Great British Bake Off champion Frances Quinn is busy filming in London this week as part of a frantic build-up to her book launch next month.

Frances (33) said she is making “little short films of recipes from the book” to help with a major launch by her publishers Bloomsbury.

“It’s all part of the fun really” said Frances. “I really love re-creating the bakes in front of people.”

The book, called Quinntessential Baking, “will make people smile” said Frances.

“It’s taken time because I hope it’s not like any other cookbook. People who have seen it say it’s like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Tim Burton.

“My editor says ‘I’ve never worked on such an intense book before’”.

Frances won the BBC baking competition in 2013 - so there’s a two year gap between her win and her book.

“Commercially, it’s a bit of a risk to leave a two-year gap” she admitted.

“I suppose I’ve been in book hibernation, but this is something I want to do long-term, so the other things flow off it, and I wanted to get it absolutely right.

“Remember, I grew up in a book shop (Quinn’s in Market Harborough) and books are very important to me.

“Also, the book’s evolved as we worked on it. We couldn’t have got it out any quicker to be honest.”

Frances says she bakes almost every day, wherever she is.

“I do it from my own kitchen whenever I can, but often I’m touring round the country and then it’s ... wherever.

“Cooking in a tent for the Great British Bake Off was good practice for all that.

“But I think I can bake pretty much anywhere now. I made the cakes for a friend’s wedding recently, and on the day I was on my knees in my dress with an electric whisk!”

Of course baking every day means eating baked things every day, but Frances - who is six feet one - keeps slim with regular exercise.

“I’m walking very quickly as we do this interview” she laughed, down the phone.

“I’m also a keen runner and swimmer, and I get a lot of ideas while I’m exercising.”

There will probably be very few celebrities who start the Harborough Carnival Half Marathon - and then join the runners for the race.

“I think I finished in the top 15 females!” added Frances.

She said her own inspirations include cooks Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver, but also designer Paul Smith and illustrator Quentin Blake.

“Inspiration doesn’t just come from food” she said. “Design and ideas are everywhere, and if you can’t see them, you’re not looking hard enough.”

Frances says she hopes this book will be the foundation stone for a long career in her chosen field.

“Although I do find the TV celebrity part a bit uncomfortable occasionally” she admitted. “If people want a picture of me, I always want to say ‘photograph the bake, not me’!

“But I’m not just after 15 minutes of fame. I’m wanting a long career in something that I’m passionate about.”