You may recognise this week’s LDNER from a little show called The Great British Bake Off. Yes, she was in the tent last year making it to the quarter-finals and now she’s an ambassador for the Luminary Bakery. Meet Benjamina Ebuehi…
Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?
I have always lived south of the river. I grew up in Kennington but now live in Mitcham. I love that the coffee and brunch scene is really growing in and around the area in places like Tooting, which is great so I don’t have to travel too far for a flat white! I like that the local area provides pretty much everything I need but I can still get into Central London quite easily for a bit more hustle and bustle.
Where does your love of baking come from?
I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen from as long as I can remember. I loved to watch my mum cook and help out where I could. Growing up eating a lot of Nigerian food, I noticed early on that desserts didn’t feature much and weren’t really a thing. So I started making my own sweet treats – nothing too fancy at first! Mainly fairy cakes and simple biscuits but I just really enjoyed it. As I grew older, I took it more seriously and staring trying out breads, pastries and more complex recipes in order to expand my repertoire. Social media definitely played a big part in that – I followed lots of great food blogs and Instagrammers which gave me so much inspiration to try new recipes and eventually set up my own blog and apply for The Great British Bake Off.
How has life changed since The Great British Bake Off?
Life has been a bit of a whirlwind! During filming, I was working in a school and was wanting to go into teaching. But baking is definitely a huge passion of mine and is something I want to pursue full time. I’ve been able to meet and work with some amazing people in the industry and really explore different careers within the food world. It was also pretty strange at first when people would recognise me on the street and know who I was. That did take some getting used to but it’s been fantastic meeting so many people who just really love the show. And I still bake all the time, that’s not changed at all!
Why did you decide join the Luminary Bakery as an ambassador?
I decided to join Luminary Bakery as an ambassador because I simply love what they are doing. I remember stumbling across their Instagram page over a year ago and was so inspired by the way they were using baking to empower women. After Bake Off, I wanted to be able to use my talents and platform to help others and Luminary was a perfect fit. Being able to encourage and share knowledge and skills with other women is so rewarding and important and has such a positive impact on local communities.
What can you tell us about their new Stoke Newington cafe?
The Stoke Newington cafe will be open on Saturdays from the end of May and will give the public a chance to try some of the wonderful baked goods made by the women at Luminary Bakery! It’s very much a space for the local community to support and learn more about the work that goes on there. There’ll also be great coffee. I’ll also be developing a bake that will be sold exclusively at the cafe, so you’ll have to come down and try it!
Describe your perfect day in London.
My perfect day in London naturally revolves around food! I’d need to have to start the day with a coffee and a good brunch with friends at one of my favourite spots such as Story Coffee or Milk. I’m obsessed with brunch and I’m always on the look out for new places to try. After brunch, I could spend hours wandering around some of London’s amazing markets – Brixton is a favourite and is always a fun place to be. The atmosphere is constantly buzzing and I’m guaranteed to find a good bargain as well as some quality ingredients to play around with. After trawling around markets, a perfect day would have to include an afternoon coffee stop, anywhere where I can just sit, maybe read a book and just people watch. Londoners are full of surprises, you never know what you might see.