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20 December 2021

War Studies student wins 2021 Great Intelligence Bake Off with gingerbread MI6 Headquarters

Nidia Sookhoo, War Studies MA Intelligence and Security Student has won the 2021 inter-university baking competition

Gingerbread MI6

War Studies Intelligence and Security MA Student Nidia Sookhoo has won the inter-university baking competition '2021 Great Intelligence Bake Off' with her gingerbread model of GCHQ 'Ginger Occultus'.

‘Ginger Occultus’ was inspired by the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The design takes a twist on MI6’s motto, ‘Semper Occultus’ which means ‘always secret’, transforming it into a playful rendition ‘Ginger Occultus’ - ‘Ginger Secret’. The piece was chosen to represent Britain’s Intelligence - having a building that represents both the field of intelligence while including the essence of the UK. Gingerbread was chosen as the Christmas season is approaching, with the warm spice flavours that bring the winter ‘that time of year’ nostalgia.

Nadia said:

I think I enjoyed winning as much as I did making it!!! Entering something on your own is one thing but when you do it as part of a niche/group, it’s so much nicer. It was a positive note to the end of our academic year - as a little gift of happiness for the Intelligence group at King's. I recently told my MA Supervisor Daniela Richterova that while I was making it, I said to myself - I want Kings to win! For this reason, upon finding out on Dec 7th that we won I was super excited and so was Daniela. The feedback we got was that the judges liked the creative take on SIS and the added Christmas element.

Devising the plan to actually create the building required a strategy, and also some backup plans to prevent an ‘intelligence failure’. I would have loved to have put even more time into refining the building’s design/precision if I had more time, as I know it is not up to Mary Berry’s standard. The main reason I was so enthusiastic to enter is that I am a big fan of British Bake off (particularly the older seasons). Secondly, I love to be expressive through creativity so I figured a cute gingerbread model of the MI6 building would be perfect to represent British + Intelligence + Bakeoff.

The Annual competition, judged by a jury of Senior Academics challenges university students across the UK to submit a baked creation to represent a specific brief, this year applicants were asked to produce a baked good which was inspired either by an object, person or theme that relates to Intelligence.

The winner was announced on Twitter by Dr Claudia Hillebrand, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University, which was acknowledged by Richard Moore, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) who said "Amazing effort, congratulations!"