SOUTH Gloucestershire baker Giuseppe Dell’Anno has been crowned the winner of the 12th series of The Great British Bake Off.
The 45-year-old amateur baker and chief engineer from Emersons Green is the first Italian to take home the top prize.
He saw off competition from Crystelle Pereira and Chigs Parmar in Tuesday’s final episode of the Channel 4 baking contest.
After being handed the title, Giuseppe said: “There are no words, I am speechless for once. All I can think of is the reaction from my mum and dad.
“The fact is that everything I have done to deserve this comes from (dad’s) heritage, it’s the best thank you note I can possibly send him.”
Judge Dame Prue Leith noted the influence of Giuseppe’s heritage on his baking throughout the series.
“He is such a classic, beautiful baker and he represents a long tradition of classic Italian baking. He has done it brilliantly all the way through,” she said.
“I am going home to make much more Italian cakes because they really are good.”
Giuseppe said it was amazing to be the first “Britalian” winner, having received incredible support from both Bristol and Italy.
He took the crown despite coming last in the final technical challenge of the series and oven issues in the showstopper.
Both Leith and fellow judge Paul Hollywood said the final was the closest yet – each contestant having received two coveted “Hollywood handshakes” and two star baker awards during the series.
The episode saw the trio tasked with making exquisite carrot cakes, Belgian buns, and a showstopper dessert inspired by the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice In Wonderland.
Giuseppe gambled with his carrot cake by baking one large sponge and a special “family jam” of figs and walnuts.
He was also placed last in the technical challenge after “massively” overbaking his Belgian buns, despite their neatness.
“The icing is perfect, the shape is lovely, everything except leaving them in the oven too long,” said Leith.
“That’s such a pity because this is the final.”
“They would have been number one, bar for the colour,” said Hollywood.
Meanwhile Crystelle won her first ever technical challenge, exclaiming: “It only took me 10 weeks.”
The final showstopper challenge of 2021 tasked the finalists with creating a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party display using both sweet and savoury treats, and showcasing a minimum of four baking disciplines.
Giuseppe opted for a giant tear-and-share brioche mushroom, with mango and passionfruit “drink me” panna cottas, heart-shaped orange and fig muffins, and an asparagus and pea filled choux caterpillar.
He faced a major setback after discovering his oven had not been closed properly and not preheated.
But despite this and his complicated design, his efforts were well received, with the panna cotta described as “stunning” by Hollywood, and “bliss” by Leith.
“That is the most perfect texture for a panna cotta… I’m taking it away with me,” added Leith, who took an extra helping.
The judges said that Chigs had “done a really good job” with his Cheshire Cat-inspired orange cake.
Crystelle also won praise for her Goan curry filling but fell down with her focaccia, which Hollywood branded as “raw dough” and “inedible”.
The latest Bake Off coronation was watched by the show’s crew, who formed a “bubble” in Down Hall Hotel near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, throughout the duration of filming.
Giuseppe said he would love to “crystallise my dad and family’s heritage” in a cookery book of Italian baking that would draw from his family and their love for baking.
“It runs through our blood,” he said.
“It would be good to know that there would be a cookbook out there for posterity for the Dell’Anno family.”
The new champion posted a picture of himself and the glass Bake Off trophy after the final had aired.
“I could have never gone through this exhilarating, but also draining adventure without the support of my wife, my fellow bakers and the constant support of the production team!” he wrote.
“Thank you all out there, for reaching out and showering me with love! I will be forever grateful.”