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If You Can't Stand the Heat....But Laoise Could!

Laoise Casey, winner of The Big Bake 2012 pictured with her winning recipe: Bread and Butter Pudding with pistachio.

Dundrum Cooking Enthusiast Wins National Big Bake

“I can't believe I'm going to get to meet Catherine Leyden and be on the telly. My Granny will be tuning in to see her recipe, she's as happy as me!”

Delighted with her winner’s apron, Laoise Casey from Dundrum in Dublin was last night crowned Big Bake champion at a heated bake-off in Cooks Academy on South William Street in the city.

The event organised by Age Action and supported by Bluebird Care drew interest from across the country.

Eight finalists from Donegal, Meath, Galway, Dublin, Kildare and Mayo battled it out with soaring temperatures and mouth-watering tastes smoking from the Cooks Academy kitchen.

Head judge, award-winning celebrity chef Gary O’Hanlon said he was pleasantly surprised at the standard of the competition suggesting that runner-up 16-year old Laura McFadden from Carrigart in Co. Donegal should be stepping into some of Ireland’s finest eateries given her unique baking skills.

Laura baked a chocolate fudge cake and described her runner-up position as “the best thing ever. I love baking, I’d do anything to bake and this is like a dream come true.”

But it was HR Manager Laoise Casey who wowed the judges with her skill, finesse and calm baking methods. “The eclectic mix of tastes and depth of skill shown by Laoise is amazing. I want that recipe,” said Gary O’Hanlon.

Letting her Grandma’s recipe out of the bag for this contest organised by Age Action as part of National Positive Ageing Week, Laoise will now appear on Ireland AM with Catherine Leyden where she will re-produce her winning entry. She also received a Luxury Home Backing Pack from home interiors store Hegartys.ie

Fundraising Manager with Age Action Rhona O’Connor says, “we were thrilled with the level of talent at this year’s Big Bake and the interest from around Ireland. It’s great to see traditional skills being used by young and old and recipes being handed down through generations.”

Eddie O’Toole of Bluebird Care described the event as another example of positive ageing, “16-year old Laura with her traditional cooking methods, Karyn with her mother-in-law’s recipe in memory of her, and Laoise also used her Grandma’s secret recipe, it's great to see all generations coming together.” 

The Big Bake finalists were:

• Máire Davoren, from Ballybrit, Galway who baked a Strawberry and Chocolate Gateaux.
• Brid Halpin and Peter O'Riordan from Bloomfield Care Centre, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16 who baked Bloomfield Butterfly Buns.
• Karyn Ryan from Navan, Co. Meath who baked her mother-in-laws secret recipe for Strawberry Torte. (2nd runner up)
• Jill Neary, from Ballina, Co. Mayo who baked a fruit soda cake.
• Pamela Farrell, from Navan, Co. Meath, who baked Pam’s Nicker Glory.
• Laura McFadden from Carrigart who baked Chocolate Fudge Cake. (1st runner up)
• Laoise Casey from Dundrum in Dublin, who baked Bread and Butter pudding using pistachio bread. (winner)
• Clare Bellis from Dublin, who baked Rum and Ginger cake.

For photos of the event log onto bluebirdcare.ie