#74 How baking can change the world with Tom Gilliford

If you thought that a Great British Bake Off competitor only cares about cakes and bread, you’d be wrong.

In this episode I talk to Tom Gilliford from the 2016 season of GBBO (Britains most popular TV baking show) about education, weight loss and left leaning politics.

Tom graduated from Oxford with a degree in teaching and a post grad qualification in Philosophy and Theology, which he chose to do because – in his own words – “I couldn’t do physics because I wasn’t good at the numbers”.

He’s taken this ability to think deeply about complex problems and brought this into the world of education and consultancy.

Tom also uses his love of baking to help teach people about criticism, thinking without following a method and how this can apply to the world of education.

Tom was in the 2016 series of GBBO until the 7th episode and won two Star Baker awards on consecutive weeks.

Tom and I discuss the difference between doing a bit of baking on the weekend and facing the onslaught from the public and media when the show was aired three months later.

Tom had to learn that other people could take control of your narrative and he had to adapt and turn events to his advantage.

Thanks to GBBO and the media exposure he now has a Twitter following of nearly 15,000 people and has been able to use his platform for good and experience things that wouldn’t have previously been possible.

In this episode Tom and I talk about the highs and lows of Tom’s career so far and his most recent venture with Cactus Kitchens.

Tom also describes how he lost 30 kilo’s before becoming a teacher and how he found the motivation to start his weight loss journey.

We finish the episode exploring the more political side of Tom’s interests in the face of the general election on the 8th June.


  • What was the GBBO application process like? [12:52]

  • What was the highlight of the experience of being on the show? [24:22]

  • Advice for people also having a difficult time with food and weight [38:10]

  • Finding the sweet spot between cooking and innovation [49:16]      

  • Hopes for the 8th June General Election [57:51]



  • What is the Great British Bake Off? [9:09]

  • About being prepared (or not) for the public interest and the scrutiny from the Daily Mail [29:05]

  • Tom lost 30-40kilos before becoming a teacher [35:01]

  • How to give feedback on a product, not a person [45:56]

  • A new way for the left to enter political discourse [52:48 ]     

  • Three things that make Tom feel content [1:03:14]



Have you ever baked for a social or political cause? Take a photo and don’t forget to tag me in it (@markleruste)!


Let me know what you thought of the episode, what do you think of education consultancy with a baking twist and do you think this can help with innovation in the workplace?

Write a comment below!






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