Young Ribble Valley baker wins TV show with remarkable gingerbread model

Stephen Harrison with his stunning gingerbread creation of York Minster
Stephen Harrison with his stunning gingerbread creation of York Minster

A former pupil of Bowland High School is enjoying the sweet taste of success after winning over millions of viewers and taking home the trophy for his ambitious creation on Channel 4's "Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas".

Talented Stephen Harrison (26), who is from Slaidburn, but now runs gluten-free baking business, "The Free From Baker", in York, appeared on the popular programme and scooped the winning trophy after baking a spectacular model of York Minster out of gingerbread.

Stephen, who is also an ex-pupil of Brennads Endowed Primary School, was brought up on a Ribble Valley farm, but has since moved to York where he was studying at university. He competed against three other competitors to create a gingerbread house in six hours in presenter Kirsty Allsopp's kitchen. He was all smiles when he discovered he had scooped the top prize.

Stephen is no stranger to showing off his talents. Last year, he appeared on The Great British Bake Off, An Extra Slice. He previously worked at the Artisan Gluten Free Bakery and Café at Newark for 20 months. Diagnosed with coeliac disease as a youngster, Stephen has been on a gluten free diet since the age of seven. He went onto work in hospitality from the age of 14 whilst at school and studying at the University of York. He decided earlier this year to start his own business after spotting a gap in the market for delicious gluten free cakes.

His proud mother, Heather Harrison, said: "We are so pleased and delighted for Stephen. The scale of the model was extremely detailed and measured 80cm long and 36cm tall and was made of over 50 individual pieces of gingerbread containing 80 boiled sweet stain glass windows. It was stunning. The entire structure was made from gluten free gingerbread. Stephen said filming for the programme had been an amazing, although somewhat nerve-wracking experience and he was surprised to win as the standard of the gingerbread houses had been very high."

You can watch the full series of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas weekdays on Channel 4 at 5pm, or catch up on All 4.