by Camilla Ridley
From Bake Off Finalist, to entrepreneur and fashion influencer Alice Fevronia tells us about her journey and shares her favourite easy Christmas recipes
Alice Fevronia pictured here with her amazing festive pavlova wearing our Ridley London Lyra shirt dress in red needle cord.
Suddenly Christmas is just around the corner, and whatever you're doing, wherever you are, I'm sure food will be high on your agenda. While there are so many gastronomic traditions to look forward to each year, occasionally it's nice to add a bit of variety to proceedings. Particularly if this also means easy and impressive crowd pleasers. I recently caught up with Bake off finalist and Ridley Dress fan Alice Fevronia to talk about her exciting new project as well as her favourite things to make at Christmas.
CR: How has your life changed since being a finalist on Bake Off?
AF: It’s been 3 years since my season of Bake Off finished and I’m still amazed by how my life has changed since, I really do still have to pinch myself that baking is my job now! It was a strange journey as the pandemic hit only a few months after the show ended, but it’s been a really fun few years full of wonderful opportunities. I’ve met some incredible people, and worked on really fun projects with some amazing brands, so I feel very lucky! Most excitingly, I've also just launched a new business 'On the Cake Stand' which connects people with talented local bakers in their area. A bit like Uber for baking.
CR: Bake off has become a real phenomena, why do you think baking has caught on so much here in the UK?
AF:I think we’ve always been a nation of home bakers, but the Bake Off has shown there really are no limits to what you can make, and how creative and fun it can be. I’ve baked since I was a little girl, but I think the show definitely inspired me to try new things. It’s also just a really wholesome show with people who are passionate about baking, and I think that passion rubs off onto people.
Alice Fevronia pictured here with her amazing festive pavlova wearing our burgundy velvet Ridley London Livia midi dress.
CR: Bake I’m amazed by your beautiful creations. Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you come up with your recipes?
AF:I get my inspiration from all sorts of places. Sometimes my ideas are based around a flavour combination or I might want to use some seasonal ingredients, so I then go about thinking how those flavours could be incorporated into different elements of a bake, and how I can make it my own. With decoration, I often just start with a general idea and then see where it takes me, as it usually evolves as I’m making it. The ideas are often based around certain times of the year, celebrations or inspired by the person the bake is for!
CR: When I think about baking, wonderful cakes and lots of sugar and fat immediately spring to mind, how do you think this image of baking fits into a world of growing obesity rates, where health and wellbeing are becoming increasingly important? And do you have a vision for a healthy baking future?
AF: For me, it’s always been about ‘everything in moderation’, and there’s no reason why people can’t enjoy delicious bakes as part of their diet, especially as homemade bakes don’t have all the preservatives and additives that shop bought treats (even lower calorie and low fat ones) do. There’s definitely a place for healthy bakes though, and cakes made with fruits and vegetables can be delicious. I always get asked who eats all my bakes, but baking for me is all about sharing, so most of the things I make get shared between my friends and family, or my boyfriend’s work colleagues. I wouldn’t say I eat an unhealthy amount of baking!
CR: I understand you got into baking following a series of operations that ended your sporting aspirations. How do you feel looking back on this time, and what advice would you give anyone else facing a similar life change?
AF: My spinal operation took a toll on me physically and mentally, but baking and art definitely helped me to fill my time after the surgery and give me another focus. I’ve spoken to a number of young people going through the spinal surgery for scoliosis since Bake Off, and have given the same advice…use the time as an opportunity to find something else they’re passionate about. It might end one path, but another one always opens.
Alice Fevronia pictured here with her amazing delicious mince pies wearing our statement Ridley London Jane maxi dress in metallic green silk.
CR: I understand you’re juggling a full time career in teaching with growing your baking business. How are you finding this? And what advice would you give any of our readers looking to make a career change?
AF: I actually gave up teaching 2 and a half years ago as it was becoming increasingly difficult to balance both and do them both well, so I decided to take the plunge and see where I could go with baking. I do love being in schools though, so I now volunteer doing some mentoring with students preparing for their GCSEs at a local school. I’m aware that my career change came from a spot of luck appearing on a TV show which isn’t the normal route, or an option for most people, but what I would say is you have to go looking for the opportunities, they won’t come to you.
CR: What advice would you give to anyone slightly intimidated by or new to baking? Are there bigger, positive life lessons it can teach you?
AF: If you can read, you can bake. Start with the basics, or the things you really enjoy, and you can’t go far wrong. Even if it doesn’t go as well as you hoped, you will learn something every time you bake (and usually have something delicious to eat), and before long it will become very intuitive. Baking is a science, so you will quickly learn what will work and what won’t and how to troubleshoot!
CR: For non-bakers what’s your easiest (fail safe) baking recipe to get right and why’s it so great? (Please supply link to your recipe)
AF: My favourite easy recipe that I go to again and again is my brownie recipe. You can add pretty much anything to the base recipe to switch up the flavours. The recipe is for tahini brownies, but you can swap this for peanut butter, caramel sauce, even mincemeat for mince pie brownies! https://www.alicefevronia.com/blog/tahini-and-sea-salt-brownies
CR: What do you wear in your kitchen and what do you look for in clothes?
AF: I’m usually dressed quite casually when I’m baking (don’t want to go ruining my best clothes with chocolate sauce!) but my wardrobe has definitely changed in the past few years. I used to spend 90% of my time in teacher attire, but now I spend most of my time getting messy in my kitchen! I’m trying to buy less clothing, and when I do, I want it to be good quality and made sustainably. I love getting dressed up, and midi and maxi dresses have been my go-to for a long time. I just find them really comfortable and flattering.
CR: How will you be spending Christmas this year?
AF: I’ll be spending time with my family and my boyfriend’s family, luckily we are both from Essex so we can see everyone quite easily. I’m sure it will mostly consist of eating delicious food, playing board games, and watching lots of Christmas films!
CR: What's your favourite thing about Christmas?
AF: Definitely the food. You really can’t beat the feeling of baking around Christmas. The smells from the festive ingredients, Christmas tunes belting out, decorations and lights, it really does feel magical. That and just spending time with my family. I live in London and the atmosphere is always amazing here, I have so many lovely memories of wandering around London with my friends and family around Christmas.
Alice Fevronia pictured here in her kitchen wearing our Ridley London leopard velvet devore Livia midi dress
CR: What will you be wearing this Christmas?
AF: I have the very beautiful Octavia dress in the ruby adelphi voyage silk satin which is just such a stunning dress, and the fabric feels so luxurious to wear. It is perfect for Christmas Day itself, or for a festive party, so it will be making a few appearances this season!
CR: Do you have any New Years resolutions and what are your plans for 2023?
AF: I don’t really make resolutions because I never keep them! However, I’m starting off 2023 in New Zealand (I think I will be mid-air for New Year) so that will be fun, and I hope to travel a lot more next year. Being a freelancer, I never really know what each year will hold, but I’m very grateful to be doing what I do, so I will be planning lots more recipes and baking content.
CR: You’re kindly sharing your ultimate Christmas cake and mince pie recipes, can you share any top Christmas baking or culinary tips?
AF: There’s always so much going on at Christmas, I think the key is to try and prep as much as possible in advance, make things ahead of time and freeze them if it will make your life easier! Meringues are great because you can make them even a week or two before guests arrive when you do have the time, and then just add the topping and sauces at the last minute!
Ridley London's new collection of special Christmas dresses, skirts, tops, jackets and knitwear is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097