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Bake Off sponge ringer... Favourite went to a top cookery school.

Byline: MARK JEFFERIES Showbiz Editor

GREAT British Bake Off favourite Marie Campbell trained at a top chefs' school and ran a cupcake firm, it has emerged.

The BBC1 show's website says she could not boil an egg when her kids were small.

But now it is revealed she has since been to the prestigious Ecole Escoffier at the Paris Ritz.

She has also run a hotel on the Isle of Skye as well as the home baking business.

Marie, 66, was named star baker last week, impressing judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with her zesty madeira cake.

Under show rules, contestants cannot have "worked full-time as a baker, cook or chef ".

PROFESSIONAL

Others in the sixth series, including Tamal Ray, 29, Alvin Magallanes, 37, and Ugne Bubnaityte, 32, have shared accomplished food blogs, recipes and photos online - though there is no suggestion they have yet worked professionally.

Fans were horrified at the claims. Gideon Way said: "Many people are calling it The Great British Fake Off. Too many semi-pro bakers."

Wayne Clarke added: "If someone is making a living from their job, that's hardly an amateur."

But Marie said: "Love Productions (the show's producers) knew about my patisserie training, which was only for a week a long time ago."

The BBC said Marie was not a professional baker as the cake firm was not her main source of income. And at the hotel she employed a chef while her role was limited to baking scones for guests, it added.

It said: "There are strict criteria to take part in the show and Marie met the criteria. She has not worked professionally as a baker or chef."

mark.jefferies@mirror.co.uk

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2015
Words:287
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