Such a warm welcome today to Hermine, GBBO 2020 Semifinalist (Season 11). From the first episode of this season, I wanted to sit down for a chat with Hermine, to bask in the glow of her cheerful personality and matter-of-fact wisdom, and to hear a little more about her story. As soon as I followed Hermine on Instagram, I saw that she really stood for something and wanted to use her platform to inspire others to be fearless, to not take life too seriously, and above all to be kind to others. And in Episode 3, Bread Week, when Hermine earned a Paul Hollywood handshake for a salmon soda bread, I knew I wanted to taste Hermine’s food!
So right away, I reached out to Hermine and last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Hermine as she made baked sourdough and made dinner for her son Steven. I found that Hermine is just as genuine, cheerful, and kind in person as she appeared on the show.
If you’re new to the podcast, the concept here is unique - each guest gives me a recipe associated with a cherished memory, which I make, photograph, and share with the Storied Recipe community. Today, we start the conversation with a favorite recipe of Hermine’s from her home country of Benin, named Gbomo Dessi. From there, we move on to discuss so many other topics including why and how she started baking, the serendipitous series of events that led to her application, of course, this salmon soda bread, and which is tougher - Paul or public opinion.
- Family gatherings feasting on Gbomo Dessi, a favorite dish of Hermine's
- Learning to cook in Benin
- The motivation behind all of Hermine's bakes and why she never would have started baking if she didn't move to the UK
- The serendipitous series of events that led her to apply
- Bread week: The now-famous Salmon Soda Bread and watching Twitter live as the episode aired
- Coping with fear/anxiety both in the tent and when episodes aired
- Which is worse: Paul or Public Opinion?
- Using her platform to endorse kindness
- Hermine's advice to us
Listen to Guest Now
Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
Hermine's Storied Recipe
- 156 Lessons from Cameroon with Agatha Achindu, Author of Bountiful Cooking
- 151 How to Create Your OWN Family Cookbook with Sri Bodanapu
- 148 Vanishing Things: Mushrooms, Monsoons, & Cultures with Author Kaveri Ponnapa of The Vanishing Kodavas
- 140 Why This Revolution in Iran Can Succeed with Swarnika & Saeid
How to Follow Hermine, GBBO Semifinalist:
You can follow Hermine on Instagram at @bakealongwithhermine
Recipes Related to This Episode:
Hermine and I discuss two recipe in this episode. First, we talk about a childhood favorite of Hermine's, Gbomo Dessi. This tomato-based stew can be made with any number of proteins from chicken, beef, lamb, goat to smoked fish, prawns, and crabs. Hermine's mother made it with melon seed dumplings in the stew. She reports that in the UK you can find melon seed powder under the name Egussi. Back in Benin, Hermine ate the stew over a variety of dishes, including a cornmeal porridge, similar to polenta. Two other options are rice or pounded yam. The wonderful thing about this dish is, obviously, the variety of ways in which it can be made and the artistic license you can enjoy when making it. In researching this episode, I found many versions and here are a few I used when making my version.
From Africa Cuisine - this one calls for the Egussi that Hermine discusses
From 196 Flavors - this recipe teaches us how to make dumplings to put in the stew
Smoked Salmon and Chive Soda Bread
The second recipe we discussed in this episode is that delicious "sandwich all in one", as Paul Hollywood called Hermine's soda bread filled with smoked salmon, gruyere, and chives. In this episode of The Storied Recipe Podcast, Hermine discusses how she came up with the idea for this bread, and how she tested it on two friends before deciding to go for it during Bread Week. She also describes the chuckles she enjoyed while reading the live Twitter feed during the airing of GBBO, while viewers were mocking the "fishy bread". All the while, she new the outcome - that the bread was so good it earned a handshake from Paul Hollywood! We enjoyed the bread just as much here in my house. The recipe is on the Great British Baking Show website and images of my attempt at the bread are below.