GBBO’s Luis Troyano - ‘I’m a proud Stockport guy’
Almost 14 million viewers watched Poynton’s own Luis Troyano in the final of the Great British Bake Off. What’s next for him?
He may not have been the first to put Poynton on the map, but Luis Troyano was probably the first to put it on a cake.
His showstopping creation for the final of BBC’s Great British Bake Off was a towering piece of edible art with the name of Poynton spelled out beneath a colliery wheel - a celebration of the village’s coalmining heritage.
And then there was his caramel-gilded cake depicting The Cage at Lyme Park. Seldom has food so boldly proclaimed its origins.
‘I’m a proud Stockport guy. I have no shame in saying where I’m from,’ says Luis. ‘I did The Cage mainly because it’s my wife’s favourite place to visit. I never expected that cake to get the response it did. When it aired, it went crazy with people going “Where is this and what is it he’s done?”’
Half the TV viewing population of Britain watched Luis in the Bake Off final, creating the Poynton cake - inspired by one of the ‘gateway’ sculptures Luis had seen as he drove through Poynton’s re-vitalised ‘shared space’ centre.
He finished runner-up to Nancy Birtwhistle, but not before Luis’s own fame had risen like an out-of-control soufflé.
‘I go into Poynton quite a lot and everybody stops me at the moment, saying how fantastic that you’ve put the village on the map. It’s definitely put a smile on people’s faces,’ says graphic designer Luis. aged 43.
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There are invitations from charities, engagements at food shows and other commercial opportunities, for which Luis now has an agent. There is also the possibility of a book, in which Luis would explain his trademark artistic approach to baking.
What he won’t be doing is giving up the day job, as director of Cheadle-based branding and marketing agency Forever Creative.
‘People say “When are you going to open your shop?”,’ says Luis. I never did Bake Off for that. I did it because I was at an age when I wanted to experience something I’ve never done before.’
Born the youngest of three children to Manuel and Maria, immigrants from southern Spain, Luis grew up near the centre of Stockport, but with long summers spent in Spain.
His late father worked in restaurants, but Luis’s own teenage stints cleaning glasses and waiting on tables were enough to convince him he did not want to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
‘It’s such a hard job. Anybody who works in that industry gets my total respect,’ he says.
But he did love cooking, learning Spanish recipes whose very ingredients would be a mystery to his contemporaries at Stockport School. He met his wife Louise - who, he says, ‘doesn’t cook at all’ - at Stockport College, where both were studying graphic design.
But Luis only started baking five years ago.
‘I wanted to see what it was about, that flour could be made into so many different things,’ he says.
Bake Off was such a tough challenge that by the end of filming, in June, Luis says he was more exhausted than at any time in his life.
‘The worst period, any contestant will tell you, is after you finish in the tent, then on Monday you’re back at work, and it feels like some surreal dream,’ he says.
As well as being exhausted, Luis was also bound to keep his participation in Bake Off, let alone the result, a secret for several more weeks until the programme aired.
‘Even my best friends did not know I’d done it,’ he says.
Luis’s favourite places
‘I love Stockport because I was brought up there,’ says Luis. ‘Stockport gets a lot of bad press, but I think it is a great town.’
Poynton, his home village, is another place he cherishes, and his favourite pubs there are the Farmers Arms and the Kingfisher. As a keen bee-keeper, he enjoys visiting his allotment in Hazel Grove, where some of his bees are kept, and a friend’s orchard in Higher Poynton, where he has another hive.
Luis and Louise’s favourite Cheshire restaurants include the Hand and Trumpet at Wrinehill, Crewe, but they also enjoy eating-out in Manchester, where Gaucho, Restaurant Bar and Grill and Jamie’s Italian are top haunts.
But he does confess one guilty culinary pleasure...Nando’s.