Bushmills Bake-Off, time to Meet the Judges!


Chef, producer and proprietor of Tartine at Distillers Arms Gary Stewart has encouraged all ages to embrace the joy of home baking and preserve-making with his Bushmills Bake-Off over the past ten years. He is now setting us all a new challenge, a festive version of the popular competition as part of the upcoming Bushmills Christmas Artisan Market at Mill Rest Hostel, Bushmills on Sunday 11th December 202, 12 to 4pm. There are three accomplished Judges preparing to taste your bakes and preserves is Paula McIntryre MBE, Audrey Clements and Natasha McKendry.



Paula McIntyre MBE

 ‘Make mistakes, burn things, scrape off the burn if you can or start again and don’t sweat it’ - down-to-earth advice from  Paula McIntyre MBE

Well, that takes a wee bit of pressure off having the much-loved Chef and author Paula McIntryre MBE as one of the Bushmills Festive Bake-Off judges this year.  Taking a well-deserved break filming Hamely Kitchen TV show which was a resounding success, we were all glued to her each week as she demonstrated nostalgic favourites from the area with a dollop of creative twist and a large helping of warm wit and charm! To celebrate Paula's achievements to date, we would need a separate website but her connection with Bushmills goes back many years to her days as Head Chef at The Bushmills Inn in the early days, her popular appearances and cooking demonstrations at the annual Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey festival and her support as a Director of local young girls charity Building Me based here in Bushmills village.

Despite her 'celeb' status, fans are taken by her down-to-earth and relatable approach to life and cooking, and her sell-out book of the same name 'Down to Earth has been reprinted as a limited run and available to purchase at the Bushmills Christmas Market on Sunday 11th December 2022 at the Mill Rest Bushmills Youth Hostel. Paula is an esteemed columnist but has branched out with three published recipe books to date, Down to Earth, A kitchen Year and the collaborative Taste Causeway's Recipes and Stories.


For Paula's full biog, check out her website. 


Read more about Paula or contact Paula for copies of 'Down to Earth'

Natasha McKendry


Natasha McKendry is the driving force behind the popular Bushmills bakery 'Wish upon a Cake'. Natasha has had a dream ever since she started baking with her Nanny at home that she wanted to have her own shop someday, selling homemade buns and treats. Fast forward almost 30 years, and due to the lockdown  and losing her job, she decided to start baking from her home kitchen to make ends meet. She moved quickly with the help and support of her husband Chris to a shop in Gortin and, in no time, a shop with bakery production in Chris's hometown of Bushmills. Wish upon a Cake offers a selection of mouthwatering Insta gorgeous cakes, bakes and sweet treats. Check out their socials for a meta-sweet hit! They have a growing number of retail stockists of their treat bags and they offer bespoke occasion cakes, desserts available to pre-order and their coffee, well that's another story! Natasha loves baking and bakers. Her counter presentation is a hint that she is not just about the flavour but loves to see a creative twist to our much-loved baked favs!

To pre-order deserts and bakes in time for Christmas as gifts or to enjoy yourselves or to find out more about Santa cookie kits, Elf on the shelf Smores boxes check out their socials or contact the team via the Wish upon a cake website.

Wish upon a cake

Audrey Clements


Audrey Clements is a well-known and much-loved Portballintrae resident with a culinary cv to put Pru Leith to shame. Anyone that frequented the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College in the1990s can attest that Audrey was the original Nigella. Stunning in crisp 'whites' and incredibly charming, she was both popular and creative.   She became Course Director of BSc Hons Culinary Arts Management within the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University. Audrey studied at the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College, Portrush and Manchester Polytechnic. In 1981 she completed the Part B final membership professional qualification in Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association by examination and the City and Guilds 706/3 Master Chef qualification in Advanced Kitchen and Larder with credit in 1991. Audrey has an Advanced Diploma in Further and Higher Education, which she attained at Ulster University, and she is a Fellow of the Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She joined the University in 2002 as part of the merger with the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College and from working in various management roles in the Hotel Industry in Stratford Upon Avon and Northern Ireland. Her former culinary industrial experience has included the Lecturers into Industry scheme at Michael Deane`s one-star Michelin and four AA Rosette award-winning restaurant in Belfast

.Audrey taught Classical and Contemporary Cuisine, Innovative Food and Food and Beverage Operations. Her interests include French and Spanish gastronomy and all aspects of international culinary arts. She keeps her hand in, keeping abreast of culinary trends, and as a bake-off judge, you will find her looking for innovation and creative twists in her judging.




Ready to enter

Its not too late to enter. Simply click on the link below for more information.

How to enter the Bushmills Festive Bake-Off