Bake Off The Professionals: Inventive duo behind Leeds patisserie The Pudding Lab appear on Channel 4 show

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The inventive duo behind a beloved Leeds patisserie have appeared on the latest series of ‘Bake Off: The Professionals’.

Ashley Close and Kian Lian, who opened The Pudding Lab in Boston Spa back in 2021, are among the talented bakers in this year’s competition.

Their celebrated shop was a finalist in the Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Awards in two separate categories – and now the team have taken their profile to new heights with a TV appearance.

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Ashley Close and Kian Lian, from The Pudding Lab in Boston Spa, are competing in the new series of 'Bake Off: The Professionals'. Photo: Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions.Ashley Close and Kian Lian, from The Pudding Lab in Boston Spa, are competing in the new series of 'Bake Off: The Professionals'. Photo: Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions.
Ashley Close and Kian Lian, from The Pudding Lab in Boston Spa, are competing in the new series of 'Bake Off: The Professionals'. Photo: Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions. | Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

The prestigious baking show sees talented pastry chefs set tricky challenges by judges Benoit Blin and Cherish Finder, who are known for their tough critiques.

In the first episode, which premiered last night (June 10), the bakers were tasked with making 36 identical Tarte Aux Fraises, or sweet pastry shells filled with frangipane and strawberry.

Ashley and Kian, who have both previously worked as private chefs, immediately set about preparing their desserts.

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They told presenter Ellie Taylor that their careers have seen them work on super yachts for some huge celebrities.

When asked for names, Ashley said: “Seal and Heidi Klum. They were lovely people and very healthy eaters.”

The Pudding Lab, in Boston Spa, opened soon after lockdown in 2021 and specialises in classic desserts, as well as unique flavour combinations. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.The Pudding Lab, in Boston Spa, opened soon after lockdown in 2021 and specialises in classic desserts, as well as unique flavour combinations. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
The Pudding Lab, in Boston Spa, opened soon after lockdown in 2021 and specialises in classic desserts, as well as unique flavour combinations. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe. | Jonathan Gawthorpe

The teams were then set a showpiece challenge, in which they had to design huge trompe-l’oeil desserts designed to trick the eye.

Inspired by their love of music, the Boston Spa duo created a mouth-watering pecan pie disguised as a vinyl record player in their four hours in the kitchen.

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It featured pecan sponge, orange jelly and a bourbon whiskey whipped ganache, leaving judge Cherish Finder impressed. She said: “You have six elements in one cake.”

Ashley and Kian sailed through to the next round, which will air tonight (June 11) on BBC Two at 8pm.

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