Former Coleg y Cymoedd learners star on hit TV baking show as new series kicks off
Two former Coleg y Cymoedd catering learners have made it on to a hit TV baking show where they will compete against some of the top professionals in the industry for the crown of best patisserie team in the UK.
Michael Coggan and Andrew Minto, who both work as pastry chefs for Cardiff Bay’s Gin and Bake, are contestants in the new series of Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals.
Presented by comedian Tom Allen and former Bake Off contestant Liam Charles, the show will see the pair compete against 11 other teams of baking professionals from restaurants, hotels, and small businesses across the country to be awarded the coveted title.
They will take part in a range of testing challenges judged by Benoit Blin, Head Pastry Chef at the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, and Cherish Finden, multi-award-winning Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham in London.
This isn’t the first time that team captain Michael has competed in the show after originally falling short of making the final six in 2018. However, he is now hoping to claim the crown this time round with Andrew.
Both chefs hold impressive resumes after studying at Coleg y Cymoedd. After studying Professional Cookery at the college’s Ystrad Mynach campus, Michael landed his first professional role at the Hilton in Cardiff, following a college work placement at the hotel chain. He then went on to work in a string of five-star establishments, including Gleneagles in Scotland and St David’s Hotel in Cardiff, before joining Gin and Bake, where he now heads up the pastry team and recipe development.
Similarly, Andrew, who previously completed a VRQ Level 2 Professional Cookery qualification at the college, worked at a number of establishments in Wales including The Celtic Manor, The Newbridge on Usk and Lanelay Hall Hotel in Talbot Green before joining Michael at Gin and Bake.
Last year, Michael visited culinary learners at Coleg y Cymoedd to give them an exclusive cooking masterclass and answer any questions about working in the sector. During his visit, he taught learners on the Level 3 Patisserie course how to master essential dessert skills, such as tempering chocolate and creating garnishes. He also gave them an insight into the world of entremets - small, sweet French dishes traditionally served between savoury courses - and demonstrated how to make a chocolate showpiece to display these delicate creations.
The talented chef is hoping to return to campus again in the future to continue to share his skills and expertise with the future generation of a professional bakers.