Lizzie Acker was the eight contestant to leave the 2022 season of The Great British Bake Off, but she has more than established her role as a much-loved alumna of the cookery programme. We caught up with her over Zoom to find out what she’ll be up to at The Big Feastival this year.
What will you be doing at Feastival?
So, I will be demo-ing and also hosting a little workshop, same as last year which was the first ever music festival I’d ever been to. I’m usually quite nervous and don’t really like being dead overwhelmed in massive crowds and loud places, but you know what? Feastival completely changed my mind because it was such an amazing space and it’s so well set out. It was so lovely, I’d never felt so comfortable and now I want to go back every year. It is dead accessible, family-friendly and go see DJ BBQ! He’s the best person I’ve ever seen – I want to be that cool.
Some people say food is love. In your case food has kind of become education, hasn't it?
Yeah, massively. I am really grateful to have places like Feastival which give me the opportunity to stand on a stage and raise some awareness. The statistics show that one in seven people is neurodiverse, so someone’s always going to know someone; it might be your daughter or your cousin or son. There are little changes you can make, and baking becomes completely accessible and more neurodiverse-friendly. Because that’s what baking should be, isn’t it? Everyone should be able to have fun and enjoy it. When you actually think about it, we've turned baking into this perfect thing where it has to be a showstopper every time. It doesn't; it just needs to be something you can have fun with, and you get something nice out of it.
That episode of the fuzzy cake [the showstopper cake Lizzie presented as a representation of how she experienced her neurodiversity] was one of the best received episodes Bake Off has ever had. I thought people were going be like, ‘this is like some X-Factor sob story’ but they related to it and that’s the best thing. It gave me an amazing step off and led me into a whole charity thing. There needs to be people talking in the public eye and if can fill that space and make people feel more comfortable with diagnoses and stuff, why not?
Are you hoping to do this more, going forward?
I’m an ambassador of Strawberry Field – a charity in Liverpool – who help neurodiverse people aged between 19-25 get into the workplace. I’ve got an idea for a book that I want to do in my head, but publishers aren’t really on the same level as me. Because I hated books I don’t want to do a normal book – it’s got to be weird book. Some publishers have said there’s not really the market for it, but I’m like, one in seven people are neurodiverse, how can you tell me there’s no market?
And, seven in seven people like eating.
Yeah, it’s crazy. I’d really like to do a podcast and explore all different aspects of neurodiversity and how it affects different people in different ways. Also, I really want to get a Guinness World Record this year.
Would that be baking related?
At the minute I’m thinking it’s going be…you know how people have a party trick? Like putting an After Eight on your head and getting it into your mouth? I’m good at that.
Has that one already been established. Would you be breaking it or making it?
Making one. I think it’s hilarious. I’m 30 this year and a lot of my friends are having babies and getting married. I’m like, all I want do is set a Guinness World Record for getting an After Eight down my head. I could do it on the Feastival stage.
Nice. Finally, I’ve got to ask, what’s your favourite bake?
My favourite thing to make is actually bread or cinnamon buns. It sounds really weird, but because of the proving times I’m forced to stay in the house and do stuff for an hour. It makes me weirdly productive and once I’m done I end up with a loaf and I’ve done two loads of washing and I feel like a domestic goddess.