Menu Close

Pancakes, and how life flipped upside down for Leicester’s Bake-Off chemist

The University of Leicester’s very own culinary chemist and Great British Bake Off finalist, Dr Josh Smalley, lent his insights into pancake perfection for Shrove Tuesday.

He hosted his annual Pancake Day Celebration yesterday (February 13) in the University’s School of Chemistry, raising money for charity and demonstrating how to prepare pancakes with his typical scientific finesse.

Picture: University of Leicester

In a new video for the University’s social media channels, he can be seen in action preparing one of over 300 pancakes for the day and raising £260. They were accompanied by three flavours of ice cream – white chocolate and raspberry, lotus biscoff and Crunchie and vanilla flavoured – made using liquid nitrogen, a favourite on the School of Chemistry’s open days! Not everything went to plan though.

This year, Josh is raising money for AgeUk and chemistry outreach charity, the Salters’ Institute.

An alumnus of the University of Leicester and currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Leicester Institute for Structural and Chemical Biology, Josh competed in last year’s Great British Bake Off, making it to the final with two ‘Star Bakers’ and a ‘Hollywood Handshake’ along the way.

He has been keeping busy since the final aired in November though: The Salters’ Institute announced that Josh will be the first Salters’ Chemistry Champion of 2024. As a Chemistry Champion, Josh will participate in their programmes, assist with fundraising, and share how chemistry and related sciences influence our daily lives.

He is also hosting a webinar with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry World team, an opportunity to witness the magic of baking through the lens of chemistry. Entitled ‘Culinary chemistry: Exploring the science of baking with Josh Smalley’ and taking place on Wednesday 27 March at 12noon GMT, information on registering can be found at:

Picture: University of Leicester

Earlier this month, the keen rugby player could be found helping the Leicester Tigers in preparing their Jaffa Orange Drizzle Cake. He also became a patron of East Midlands charity Edgar’s Gift, that provides gifts and experiences to young adults suffering with cancer.

Josh said: “I feel incredibly honoured to have been invited to be involved with charities which mean a lot to me personally and I am really looking forward to seeing what amazing events and activities we can put on this year. It has been incredible to have received such interest surrounding the crossover of Science and Baking and I have already multiple talks and demonstrations lined up for 2024 and beyond. Exciting times ahead for sure.”

RAF Advertisement