It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of the show The Great British Bake Off, much to #HubbyRuss’s dismay (although he will watch it with me even if it isn’t his thing…thank you sweetheart). I didn’t really get into it until it moved to Channel 4 from the BBC, but when I caught an episode of it in 2019 by chance I was completely hooked. Every week I tuned in to see which of the bakers would get a coveted #HollywoodHandshake (so called as when a baker makes something that judge Paul Hollywood absolutely loves, he gives them a handshake, hence the term #HollywoodHandshake).

It is also no secret that although I was born in the UK my family comes from a tiny village called Mongrassano which is nestled in the heart of Calabria in Southern Italy. I therefore consider myself a proud #BritItalian and have a huge soft spot for anything Italian, especially for Italian food. Pasta, pizza, gelato are my all-time favourites, I could eat them all day, every day (but it wouldn’t be good for my waistline if I did).

2021: The Year That Italy Won All The Things

3 years ago it was 2021, which was the year that Italy seemed to win all the things. In that year Italy won the Eurovision Song Contest, the Euro 2020 football tournament (postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), they broke the European record at the Tokyo Olympics (also postponed from 2020), and Rose and Giovanni won Strictly Come Dancing. It was also the year that Giuseppe Dell’Anno, a fellow #BritItalian who at the time lived in Bristol, won The Great British Bake Off.

Giuseppe’s bakes had me captivated throughout The Great British Bake Off in 2021, they reminded me so much of the gorgeous food I had in my family’s village in Italy, and it was no surprise to me when he was crowned the winner. After that I started following Guiseppe on X/Twitter and Instagram, so when I spotted that he was going to be delivering a cookery masterclass at the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival on Saturday 22 June 2024, I booked a ticket to go and see it.

Yesterday was the big day but it was also the same day as the Play Secure virtual conference. I wanted to support my friend James Bore and the event organisers, so I joined Play Secure until around 2.15pm, then got a taxi to the train station to get the train to Cheltenham. When I got there the event was packed with loads of street food and drink stands, this isn’t something that I’m particularly into so I headed to the Chef’s Kitchen area just in time to see a burger making demonstration from The Beefy Boys and to get a seat ready for Giuseppe’s masterclass (luckily I got one right in the front row).

From Italy With Love: My Treasured Recipes by Giuseppe Dell’Anno

So there I was, sat in the middle of the front row when Giuseppe comes out to begin the masterclass; he recognises me from X/Twitter and says hello, this absolutely made my day! I’ve worked with and met many well known people and celebrities over the years including Chris Tarrant who I worked with for 7 years, John Lydon of The Sex Pistols, the actor Brian Blessed, the actor Patrick Duffy who starred in my all time favourite soap opera Dallas, Jenson Button the Formula 1 racing driver to name but a few, and of course I met King Charles III last December when he presented me with my MBE for services to cyber security and equality, diversity and inclusion. One thing they all had in common, King Charles III included, was how humble and down to earth they were, and they seemed genuinely happy to meet and interact with their fans. Giuseppe Dell’Anno was no exception to this, he was happy to interact and talk to everyone who wanted to meet him.

I picked up some very interesting nuggets about his experience on The Great British Bake Off, especially about how he can’t produce the exact same recipes that he made during his time on the show. The panna cotta that Giuseppe made during his masterclass was to die for, but in true Blue Peter style he had made some earlier that he distributed to the audience at the end of his talk. Giuseppe is an engineer by trade, and I found it very interesting when he talked about how his engineering background relates to his baking career, and how precise he is with ingredients. Soif a recipe says to put 50g of something in, that is exactly what he does – there is no throwing the ingredients into a bowl randomly and hoping for the best that whatever he is making will turn out okay! I was riveted when he measured out 50g of a mango and passion fruit puree onto the top of the panna cotta’s he made, there is no way I could do that, I’d have different amounts in each one!

One thing that is absolutely evident in everything Giuseppe does is his passion for baking and cooking, and for his beloved homeland of Italy. He cooks from the heart and it showed in spades in this masterclass, so much so that I’ve treated myself to his Italian Celebration Cake Masterclass on Saturday 12 October 2024 which is 2 days before my birthday; I thought if I am going to work on improving my baking skills I should do it with the best winner of the Great British Bake Off. I can’t wait to do this class and create an Italian celebration cake that I can share with my husband and friends on my birthday in October.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event as well as meeting Giuseppe in person and getting my copy of his second book “Giuseppe’s Easy Bakes” signed by him at the end. He runs baking classes and I’m seriously considering signing up to one of them in the Autumn; I figure that if I am going to learn how to bake properly, I might as well learn from a Great British Bake-Off winner who earned a few #HollywoodHandshakes during his time on the show from judge Paul Hollywood.

And I’ll take my copy of his first book “Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes” with me when I go to one of his baking classes to get that signed too (his third book which will contain savoury recipes, will be out in 2025).

To find out more about Giuseppe Dell’Anno, to buy his books or book onto one of his baking classes, visit his website You can also follow him on X/Twitter and Instagram.