French figures: The country’s most famous judge

French figures: The country's most famous judge
Photo: M6
There's famous and then there's 'first name only' famous - like Jesus, Madonna, Pele . . . and Mercotte.

Mercotte, born Jacqueline Mercorelli, had a long career as a food writer and critic, but she became more widely known when in 2012 she became one of the judges on Le Meilleur Pâtissier – France's version of Bake Off.

Eight years later and the 78-year-old is still judging the hugely popular TV show – now halfway through its ninth season on French TV channel M6 – and is so well known that you can say her name to most French people and they will know who you are talking about.

She has also inspired numerous tributes and cake-based representations, complete with her trademark colourful glasses.

Her fellow judge, Michelin-starred chef Cyril Lignac, doesn't seem to have captured the public imagination in  quite the same was as Mercotte's combination of steely judgement and twinkly smiles, as well as her occasional fits of giggles at the contestants' unfortunate baking fails.


For keen bakers, she also shares every week the recipe for the technical challenge set for the bakers, such as the 'nipples of Venus' cakes above, so you can try your hand at them.

READ ALSO Five reasons why French Bake Off is better than the British version

This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France. 

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