A University of Portsmouth employee and father of four is one of the 12 amateur bakers in this year’s The Great British Bake Off starting on BBC1 next Wednesday.
Enwezor Nzegwu, 39, is a business consultant in the Information Services department at the University of Portsmouth by day and a self-professed ‘baking geek’ by night.
He was expert at making macarons when he was selected to take part in the show, but because of the rigor and intensity of taking part, he now feels there probably isn’t any bake which he wouldn’t be able to recreate. Taking part has also meant he now can’t eat anything without noticing its balance of flavours.
He has, in a sense, become an accidental and very polite gourmand who notices if a milkshake has a hint of malt or pinch of salt added for flavour.
Enwezor is well known among work colleagues as the guy who sometimes brings homemade bakes to meetings.
He said: “Being on The Great British Bake Off has been the most amazing experience. I’ve learned so much and made the most fantastic friends. I couldn’t believe I was selected.
“I’d watched the programme and thought I knew what it involved, but it’s much more intense, more demanding. I didn’t think it would be so hard, but it has also been an incredible experience, I’ve just loved it.”
He is not allowed to say for how long he remains in the programme in which one contestant is sent home by the judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry each week, but he described the first time the judges criticised fellow contestants’ work, on the first week, as tortuous.
He said: “I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, it was awful, just awful. All the people on the show are just fantastic, I think they are careful to select people who can bake but who are not in it for fame. It’s all about the skills – we are all just baking geeks – so it was really tough to take the feedback sometimes.”
Enwezor’s strength in the kitchen is, he says, his interest in technique. He is not so keen on or gifted at decoration.
“I love making things like macarons or éclairs. I enjoy a degree of technical difficulty. But being on the show was such a great learning experience and I can now see anything and think ‘I can make that’. I’m also much more critical about taste and flavour.”
He and his wife Karen and their four children, aged two to seven, have lived in Southsea for 15 years. Before he started working at the University, where he helps departments undergo business change, he worked for IBM.
Nobody at work knew until today that he had been chosen as a contestant on the show.