Bake Off: The Professionals' judges don't come across as the easiest people to impress.
Anyone who's ever watched a competitive cooking show knows that mean judges are nothing new of course. However, despite the dominance of hard-nosed adjudicators, the Bake Off: The Professionals duo Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden seem to take it to new extremes.
As soon as someone serves up a slightly under-baked macaron or accidentally over-whips a crème pât, you can guarantee that sparks will fly. It begs the question, why are both Blin and Finden quite so harsh.
Who are the Bake Off: The Professionals judges?
The Bake Off: The Professionals judges are Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden.
Since the show made its BBC bow back in 2016 as Bake Off: Crème de la Crème, competitors have come under the microscope of hard-to-impress duo.
Both judges have a fearsome reputation, having spent the last five shouting at anyone who dares to serve substandard pastry.
However, beyond their onscreen antics, both Blin and Finden have incredibly impressive baking CVs.
It's no accident that the inscrutable Frenchman has wound up passing judgement on other people's inferior patisserie skills.
Since 1995, Blin has lead the pastry team at the Michelin-starred institution Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire. Under the wing of chef Raymond Blanc, Blin has become one of the world's leading pastry chefs, becoming a Master of the Culinary Arts in 2005.
READ MORE: Bake Off winner David Atherton explains why we should all be putting sweet potatoes in cakes
He is also no stranger to cooking competitions. In 2011, he led the UK team at the Coupe du Monde pastry finals in Lyon. This experience makes him perfectly placed to judge the Bake Off: The Professionals hopefuls.
Much like Blin, Cherish Finden has also enjoyed a highly decorated pastry career. The Singapore-born chef has over 20 years' international cooking experience at some top kitchens.
She too has triumphed in various cooking competitions. In 2000, she lead the Singapore pastry team to victory at the IKA Culinary Olympics.
This experience, coupled with her career in some of the best pastry brigades around, means that she's more than qualified to spot a shoddy meringue.
Why are Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin so harsh?
It's clear from their careers to date that both Finden and Blin are used to the best. After all, spending two decades in the company of the greatest cooks on earth is bound to raise your expectations.
However, there's no doubt that both Finden and Blin have a take-no-prisoners approach to judging. One reason for this could be their shared culinary heritage.
Both Blin and Finden have first-hand experience of top quality kitchens at a time where blunt feedback and an uncompromising attitude to standards were the norm.
In addition, both Blin and Finden are, at the end of the day, judging professional chefs. It's understandable that they might expect their skills to be a little more polished than their amateur counterparts.
Even so, there's no doubt that both judges can be incredibly cutting with their feedback. Small wonder that almost every Bake Off: The Professionals team looks faintly traumatised when it comes to presenting their work.
How much do Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin get paid for Bake Off: The Professionals?
Both Blin and Finden's salaries are kept closely under wraps by Channel 4. However, if it's anywhere close to Paul Hollywood's contract for the amateur show, both chefs will be laughing all the way to the bank.
According to multiple reports, Hollywood nets around £400,000 per season of Bake Off, after signing a bumper three-season contract worth £1.2 million.
Similarly, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith supposedly earn about £200,000 per season.
While the Bake Off: The Professionals audience is much smaller, it seems reasonable to suggest that both Blin and Finden will be pretty comfortable with their contracts.
Who are the Bake Off: The Professionals presenters?
Light-hearted presenting duo Liam Charles and Tom Allen somewhat temper the savagery of Blin and Finden.
Both Charles and Allen know what it's like to cook on camera, which makes them extremely sympathetic to the occasional disaster.
Charles, for instance, starred in series eight of the amateur show, charming audiences with his flair and enthusiasm. Allen, meanwhile, recently made his bow in the Celebrity Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, finishing behind his friend Rob Beckett.
Both Charles and Allen certainly help to keep things cheery after some particularly horrible comments. Without them, Bake Off: The Professionals would certainly be a grimmer show.