Great British Bake Off champion Matty Edgell discusses the importance of having multiple passionate pursuits, regardless of how different they may be
“From an outsider’s perspective, baking and fitness can be seen as two contradictory hobbies,” says Matty Edgell, who took home the coveted Great British Bake Off trophy (glass cake stand) in 2023 after his fiancée Lara signed him up for the competition.
Prior to his TV debut, baking was a private endeavour for teacher Matty — one reserved for his closest family — and it was his enthusiasm for physical fitness, science and education that took centre stage in his life. It’s no surprise, then, that his participation in the series came as a shock to his friends and students.
“Being quite health conscious and someone who watches what I eat, I understand why it may seem strange to also really enjoy baking sugary desserts filled with chocolate and everything that’s the opposite of the first part of that sentence,” he says. “But I think that it’s so important to indulge in hobbies aside from your main interests.”
“Just because you like sports, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be interested in other things. It’s all about balance. Too much of one thing — no matter how good it is — is a bad thing.”
The more, the merrier
Having multiple avenues of escapism can enable you to lean upon different activities according to the situation. If you only ever stick to one hobby or method of relaxation, then it may be difficult to always put it into practice.
Having multiple hobbies isn’t just something Matty simply does for fun — the 28-year-old also finds that pursuing a variety of interests is a great way to relax and unwind.
“When I was younger, and even now to a certain extent, I would rely on both baking and exercise at different times for escapism. You can’t always go and play a game of football every time you need a break from life or feel stressed out, and in a similar way, you can’t always bake a cake,” he explains.
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“Once you finish exercising, you always feel good, even if you didn’t initially want to do it. The endorphins that you get from it make you feel better about yourself,” he continues. “With baking, you feel good because you’ve achieved something, regardless of whether it’s up to your standards or not. It’s an accomplishment and that feeling is one of satisfaction.”
Finding the satisfaction
Matty’s the first to admit that it isn’t always easy to find your confidence when it comes to mastering a new hobby or trying an activity for the first time, but his advice is to stick with it, and the rest will follow.
“I thought I wasn’t good enough [for Bake Off], so I never applied,” he reveals. “I felt uncomfortable at the beginning, but my confidence grew throughout the series.”
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If ever there was proof that it’s worth sticking with something you enjoy, even if you’re not the best at it, Matty’s success is it.
In terms of next steps, Matty isn’t sure what the future holds. He’s sure, however, that he’ll continue to actively pursue his interests in baking and fitness in new ways, encouraging people to do the same with their own.