‘I fell into baking quite accidentally’ — meet Flora Shedden

At 20 years old, many of us are still floating adrift wondering how we’d most like to spend the bulk of our days. But, having just reached the two decade mark, talented cook Flora Shedden has already become the youngest ever semi-finalist of much-loved TV hit Great British Bake Off and is now the bonafide author of Gatherings: recipes for feasts great and small, a cookbook centred on the sharing of good food with close company. She’s also about to open a bakery in her beloved Scottish hometown. Read on to find out more about this productive millennial…

Tell us a bit about yourself and your passion for cooking…
I grew up in a house where there was always something happening involving food. We live in rural Perthshire in the heart of Scotland. Scottish food is very ingredient based and we have an amazing natural larder available to us. My mum is an amazing cook and I idolised her when I was wee, copying her every move in the kitchen. It has stayed with me since then – she taught me everything.

Can you tell us about your journey from being on the Great British Bake Off to launching your book Gatherings?
Before Bake Off I was much more of a cook than I was a baker. I fell into baking quite accidentally but it has given me so much. Gatherings came about when we finished filming, I wanted to get back to savoury and home cooking, particularly for people. It was a way of being honest with myself and I really enjoyed the process of how a book is created. I learnt so much from recipe structure to how a food photo shoot works.

There is still of course plenty of baking recipes through Gatherings; it’s simply about balance.

This month, we’re talking about winter wellness, can you give us your tips on how you prevent the January Blues?
My favourite way to combat the January Blues is entertaining. I think in the deep darkness of winter the last thing you want to be doing chewing your way through a solo salad. Find yourself a big, hearty one-pot slow cooking recipe with loadsa veggies, get your friends round and tuck in; it doesn’t have to be fancy! It will help mind, body and soul, I promise.

We hear you’d like to open a bakery, can you tell us about your plans for 2017?
Two day before Christmas 2016, we bought a building consisting of a flat and shop in the centre of my wee village, Dunkeld, in Perthshire. We spent the holidays gutting the place and are now at the fun stage of deciding how to make it ours. Though it is daunting doing up both our first flat and first shop at the same time, it is really exciting being able to call the shots.

Opening in late spring, I really hope the bakery will give something back to Dunkeld and the locals that have given me so much. I will also be starting a weekly radio show called the Kitchen Cafe in February and this month my new baking column will launch in the Sunday Telegraph. I suspect 2017 will be quite work-heavy; but when it’s food related I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in food?
Use social media, especially Instagram. I was very nervous about this element of my work but it is such a great way to document your style, cooking and approach to food. As long as you keep at it, it’s the best way to generate a following and ultimately work.

Lastly, what do you like to Khoollect?
Cookbooks! I have so many!

Gatherings: Recipes for Feasts Great and Small (Mitchell Beazley, hardback £25)

You may also like

Profile Photo
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Cook from Flora's book...

Try out an exclusive and deliciously decadent recipe from Flora’s book Gatherings.