I discovered his YouTube channel on my Instagram feed and was mesmerized by the beautiful food displays. Bradley is an excellent host, calmly walking even the least talented baker like me seamlessly through all the steps required to create an edible piece of Harry Potter. He even explains why to do things a certain way based on the food science! I knew I had to tell you all about this channel, and what better way than to interview Bradley himself?
Bradley’s Baking Background
How did you get into baking? How long have you been baking/cooking for?
I’ve been baking ever since I can remember! My grandma is an amazing cook and my auntie used to do catering for birthdays and events. I’ve got fond memories of her baking cakes while looking after me as a kid and all I wanted to do was grab a spoon and join in! Food is quite a big part of our family and my mum always encouraged us to learn how to cook while growing up. I love the creativity and passion you can put into food so carried on from there. I’m mostly self-taught but cooking shows on TV and YouTube have been a big help in refining my skills.
What’s your favourite dish you’ve ever made?
I don’t know if I could pin it down to just one! I love doing three-course meals, especially when there’s a theme and you can tell a story with the dishes. I made homemade Bao Buns for the first time last month so that’s my new go-to starter, and a steak recipe for the main is always a winner in my eyes. My favourite dessert is probably the cake I made inspired by the musical Kinky Boots. It was a 3D red velvet cake of the glittery red stiletto heel from the show so it took both good baking and a cheeky bit of DIY to bring it to life!
Do you invent all your recipes or pull from other sources? What inspires your choices?
One of the things I love most about baking is that once you’ve mastered the basic rules and ratios you can adapt them to create whole new dishes. Most of my recipes are either based on the classics, family recipes, or things that I’ve stumbled across in books and over the internet.
When I find an item of food and drink in the book my first thought is how can I take different components of my other recipes, add a few magical elements and transform it into something new? I love a challenge so being able to think outside the box and do the unexpected definitely inspires me to create new recipes.
The Harry Potter Element of My Harry Potter Kitchen
What’s your Hogwarts house?
I’m Gryffindor through and through – although my friends do say I have Slytherin tendencies… Best of both worlds I guess!
How did you first get into Harry Potter?
I’ve got ‘Auntie Deborah’ to thank for that one! She’s a close family friend that we used to visit often while growing up and she gifted the first books to us. As ashamed as I am to admit it, they were actually collecting dust on the shelves for quite a while as I decided to listen to the Stephen Fry audiobooks instead. After subliminally learning all the words by playing the tapes before bed I finally got round to reading the physical book the same year the Philosopher’s Stone went into cinemas. From there I was hooked so after catching up on the first four books I was hooked enough to binge the last three on their release days.
What made you say, “I’m going to combine baking and Harry Potter into cooking videos!”?
Well, you know what they say… “The challenge chooses the Wizard!”
It wasn’t intentional but I’d been looking for a regular mini-series to start on YouTube for a while. We occasionally have book sales at work and one month they had the illustrated edition of the Philosophers Stone (which I obviously couldn’t resist). I decided to re-read it so I could see all of Jim Kay’s phenomenal work and then about halfway through it hit me. I’d gone all those years without appreciating just how much food there was in the books so I started re-reading it again, this time noting them down, and knew there was more than enough content here to create a series – and that’s how My Harry Potter Kitchen was born!
What’s been your favourite dish or drink from Harry Potter to make so far?
So far I think my favourite has been the Cauldron Cakes. It’s what I like to call a ‘one-take wonder’ recipe as I pictured what I wanted the finished product to be in my head, broke it down into components and then got to baking. Everything you see in episode 29 is my first attempt as it all went so smoothly so I was over the moon with how spot on to my original vision they were – it was just like magic!
What’s a dish that turned out more challenging than you expected (perhaps even one that didn’t make the cut!)?
All the dishes have made the cut so far but Mars Bars were definitely the trickiest and it took a good five or six attempts to create the one you saw in episode 24! I went through so many recipes and techniques for chocolate nougat, caramel and tempered chocolate before perfecting it. Individually they’re not too bad but trying to tackle them at the same time (and get it to look good enough on camera) might have caused me to lose a few hairs. I’ll never take chocolate bars for granted again!
If you could introduce one new dish to the wizarding world, what would it be and why?
Oooo, great question! Everyone knows that drinking Unicorn Blood is a recipe for disaster but I bet you they’ve got some magical qualities that won’t leave you with a half-life!
Perhaps a UniCornetto Ice-Cream Cone? A cocktail made with Unicorn tears? Or a Unicornuccino – a magical coffee drink, sprinkled with Unicorn dust, that will keep you awake for days!
What magic from Harry Potter do you find yourself wishing you had to use in the kitchen?
Mrs Weasley has got to be the witch that I get the most kitchen envy from! Multitasking in the kitchen is always tough, especially if you’re in quite a cramped space so being able to charm spoons to stir pots, knives to do the chopping and sponges to do the washing up would be an absolute dream!
Oh, and Accio would be a must-have to find those pesky ingredients hiding in the back of the cupboard!
You’ve done some of the Great British Bake Off recipes on your channel, have you ever considered auditioning for the show?
My Behind the Bake Off series was so much fun and a big challenge for me to try and replicate everything they made on the show! I have considered it, and after 10 series I’d love to see them mix up the format a bit to inspire the next generation of bakers.
My favourite cooking shows at the moment are actually Nailed It and Sugar Rush on Netflix which both have really innovative (and addictive) formats. Netflix – if you’re ever looking for an extra bit of magic on the shows – call me!
What main piece of advice would you give someone looking to start a cooking channel online?
You don’t need to wait for liquid luck to set up a blog, Instagram or YouTube channel so go for it! I’m really only at the beginning of my YouTube journey but it’s been brilliant so far and I can’t wait to see what will happen next. I’ve learnt more than I could have ever imagined and my skills have definitely grown from it – both baking itself, video editing and social media content creation.
Success won’t happen overnight but if you’re passionate about it then that’s what people will love seeing! Stick with it, set gradual realistic milestones and make sure you’re proud of everything you put your name to – that way no matter what happens you know you’ve stayed true to yourself