The baking champ opens up about the drama in a new interview and admits he began baking because he was lonely.
Rahul Mandal has opened up about the moment he believed he had lost the Great British Bake Off, after a glass jar shattered across his workstation.
Rahul, who went on to win the competition after impressing judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, has thanked the production team for deciding to give him extra time to complete his creation after the unexpected mishap.
“It’s like doing exams and I have done a lot of exams in my life and really liked them,” he told the Times.
“I know I looked stressed but that was because you have to practise and then focus. My PhD was similar but this time I had 4½ hours not 4½ years.
“The first half an hour is the most important. I wasn’t really thinking about extra time. It was really kind of the production team and judges.”
Rahul, 30, has recently been visited by his parents, who reside in his hometown, Bengal, where he says baking isn’t popular.
“My parents didn’t know it was a big thing here,” he said. “I had to explain to them it is like X Factor with flour.
“We don’t have built-in ovens. We have small gas cookers connected to a cylinder.
“In India, my mum, my grandmother and my aunts who I lived with were brilliant cooks. My dad doesn’t but he can make tea now.
“I was always in the kitchen, I was never an outdoorsy kid. When I was little I read and painted and did yoga. But my mum was scared I would burn myself, so I didn’t cook anything until 16.
“I had eaten cake, though, as everyone has Christmas cake in India.”
The endearing engineering researcher went on to explain that he first began baking “because I was quite lonely.”
He explained: “I didn’t know how to meet people, then I had the idea to join the gardening society at Loughborough University and I met people who were similar to me.
“They used to bring baking things and I realised that you could bake bread in your home rather than buying it from a supermarket.”
Rahul, who still works at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham, says he isn’t worried about putting on weight after taking up baking.
“I love to bake but you don’t have to eat the whole thing,” he said. “Bake to share with people, bake to make people happy and eat a little bit yourself. Everything in moderation is really good. Baking is to spread love not obesity.”
But despite Rahul’s new found fame, don’t expect to see him on social media sites like Twitter or Instagram any time soon.
He said: “I think it might be too overwhelming for me, I think I’m OK as I am.”