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Jessica is top of the teen bakers
4:43pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
Buy this photo » Jessica Oakhill in action during the competition
AN OXFORD High School pupil who was inspired to cook after watching TV show The Great British Bake Off has won a national junior contest.
Jessica Oakhill, who lives near Bicester, impressed the judges, including presenter of the popular programme and former Oxford High School pupil Mel Giedroyc, with the cupcakes she made on Thursday.
The Girls’ Day School Trust GDST) Bake Off competition was held to mark the 140th anniversary of the trust and the final was held at Ipswich High School.
After beating the competition, Jessica, 16, said: “I was very surprised and quite shocked because everyone else was so good.
“It was an amazing feeling when they read out my name.”
Judith Carlisle, headteacher of Oxford High School in Belbroughton Road, North Oxford, said: “This is fantastic. The skills that girls learn at Oxford High mean that they can be brilliant at absolutely anything.
“Focus, determination and a serious passion for cake has led Jess to culinary victory – I am extremely proud of her for this impressive achievement.”
Helen Fraser, GDST chief executive, said: “It takes a great deal to do well in a competition like this – not least, you need to be able to keep your cool in the heat of the kitchen. It’s a test of character as much as of skill.”
Comedian Ms Giedroyc said: “It’s a big milestone, 140 years. It’s well beyond the sell-by date of any cake – but not, I’m glad to say, of the talent that has been on show in this competition.”
The finalists prepared 12 cupcakes and put forward six of them for judging.
Jane Sago, vice-chairman of the Suffolk East Federation of Women’s Institutes, also judged the entries, marking them on presentation, technique and taste.
To reach the final, GDST pupils from across the country competed in regional bake-offs, in which they were each asked to bake a lemon Victoria sandwich cake to a recipe provided by celebrity chef Mary Berry.
More than 600 pupils took part in the competition from 20 GDST schools across the country.
At Oxford High School alone there were 64 entries.
Jessica said she was undecided about the career she wants to pursue, but she said she would consider a job incorporating baking or cooking.