Afghanistan veteran and Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo has been speaking to Forces Network about everything from her time on tour to what military skills she put into action on the show.

Speaking at December's 10th Sun Military Awards ceremony in London the Royal Artillery reservist, who is training to be a stuntwoman, told all in a candid interview.

Take a look at the full transcript below...

1. You served in Afghanistan in 2009/10. How was that experience?

 

Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo, Afghanistan

"I actually really enjoyed being on tour. I think it was so nice to be pushed.

"I think being challenged in that way really gives you a real sense of purpose and it's something that I look back at and I'm quite proud of."

2. How was the transition for you into normal, everyday life?

 

"I think everyone finds the transition a little rocky, you know. I'm by no means alone in that.

"Once you've found your feet you can discover a new life outside the military but for me it was always nice to keep my foot in, which is why I'm a reservist now, because I always feel like I have a little bit of me that will always be military. So I can carry that on."

3. And going from that and through that transition to ending up in the Bake Off tent – how on earth did that happen?

 

"That was an odd story. It was literally just by chance, I happened to make somebody cake, thought, 'I quite enjoyed it', carried on.

"And then as you do, you think, you're never going to get on but I thought I'll wing in an application - and a couple of months later I'd won it.

"So, bit bizarre, unexpected. It's strange how things work out, I think."

4. And, as ridiculous as the question might sound, is there anything from your military training that helped you go through that Bake Off experience?

 

Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo, Afghanistan

"Do you know what, it's not a ridiculous question at all. It really is pertinent.

"I didn't realise it at first but as the weeks went on, just being able to multi-task quickly in my head and not get flustered [was crucial]. A lot of people noticed it and a lot of people commented on it and I think it was really a big factor in how I did so well."

5. What are your views on women in the military?

 

"I'm really glad to see the roles being opened up to women. I understand the hesitation being felt by men, but I believe it to be misinformed and outdated.

"I think it is true to say that your strongest woman will never be as strong as your strongest man, but your strongest woman will be light years ahead of your weakest man!"

"Women who want to join the RAC [Royal Armoured Corps] or infantry want to do so because they want to be judged on a level playing field to their male counterparts.

"No one wants to see the entry standard dropped. .and there is simply no need to do so."

"In a few years, I think we'll all look back and wonder what the fuss was all about.

I served as a Fire Support Team commander, a combat role which directly serves the Infantry on the ground. We were all perfectly capable, were more than adequately fit and we just got on with it. Women have been doing these roles for decades. If it were a problem, it would have been changed. It isn't."

6. What impact has the military had on your life?

 

Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo

"It gives you a mindset that you don't realise you have until you leave. The mentality that you have to get a job done, whatever it is. It doesn't cross your mind that the task is too hard or there are too many obstacles, it has to get done and you just have to find the solution.

"I can figure out complex logistical problems in my head while doing multiple other things and can't really remember the last time I panicked about something!

"The Army really throw you into the deep end. You are commanding 30+ soldiers after only a few months of finishing Sandhurst."

"I was running the surveillance operations for a whole battlegroup in my early twenties as a lieutenant. That sort of thing would just be unthinkable in civvy street, to give so much responsibility to someone so young, but you look back and realise that no one is really ready for anything.

"That experience is only gained the moment after you needed it, but it is only by giving people responsibility that you see them shine.

"The Army pushed me mentally and physically in a way that can't be matched in any other occupation." 

"The skills and confidence I gained is something that I am very thankful for. That will stay with me forever.

"When you join the military, you get brought into a fraternity with every other military person. No matter what service they are or were in, or what job they did, you feel more of a connection with someone who has served. There is an instant sort of trust and mutual respect. It's a very special group to be a part of."

7. Now finally, we are, just before Christmas, I know you’ve got a recipe you are going to share with our viewers. What are the key tips people need to know before they take it on?

 

Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo's ginger orange & dark chocolate shortbread biscuits

This is one I've put up because it's probably the easiest recipe I know. It's literally a case of, whack it all in the food processor, cut it out and whack it in the oven and that's why I love it. And yet it tastes delicious. Really easy.

If you'd like to find out more about Sophie's special recipe for a festive treat, just click here.

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