Can’t stand the heat? Get out the kitchen: can finance executives mirror as pro bakers?

By Laura Morrison, Account Executive

The nation’s favourite cooking show is back on our screens for another year. No, not MasterChef, no, not Hell’s Kitchen, okay, favourite was a stretch. But the Great British Bake off is back – and this time with a banking bang!

What you might not have noticed, is that one of this year’s bright eyed and bushy tailed contestants is an insurance analyst at Goldman Sachs in London. Crystelle Pereira is the second Goldman Sachs employee to be on the show within three years.

This got us thinking, I wonder which other finance executives are keen bakers…does Warren Buffet like a Victoria Sponge (topped with some Dairy Queen, naturally)? Does Jamie Dimon whip up half a dozen scones every Sunday? Or does David Solomon spend hours kneading the perfect eight strand plaited loaf?

Speaking of Solomon, not only has he been the CEO of Goldman Sachs for three years, he’s also a keen DJ in his spare time. Going by the name of DJ D-Sol, the 59-year-old regularly ‘spins the deck’ on EDM (which does not stand for enterprise data management) and dance. With a DJ name that sounds like an off-brand vitamin supplement, there is no doubt in my mind he is an equally chaotic baker. Flour on the face, eggshell in the cake, maybe even mixing sugar for salt. Whilst baking may not be David’s forte, let’s not cut our losses on the DJing just yet, D-Sol’s best release did conjure up over half a million views on YouTube. Maybe he could try his hand at remixing the Bake-Off theme song? A treat for the eyes and ears.

From Solomon to a renowned investor in Goldman – the Oracle of Omaha. Warren Buffett, at the ripe old age of 91, strikes me as a much better fit. He is the Mary Berry of the finance world. Knowledge, experience, an aptitude for success, they could be twins. This is a man who first bought stocks when he was 11. He also filed his first tax at 13. With his incredibly successful investments and years’ worth of mastery, this man was born to succeed. My money is on Buffett frequenting star baker, as in the words of the master himself, “when it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”

So, what of Goldman’s fiercest competitors? Well, longstanding J.P Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is more the Paul Hollywood of the bunch. A diplomat and authentic businessman, he isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Paul is a similar character in many ways, albeit a little more ruthless when it comes to under-proved bread. Jamie would be the type of baker to follow a recipe to a T, and present a well-polished, intricately decorated, masterpiece. In other words, a recipe for success (J.P’s shareholders certainly agree).

Closer to home, the likes of Mark Carney might surprise you. After recently stepping down from his position as the governor of the Bank of England, perhaps he is one to focus his newly found spare time on perfecting a croquembouche. It’s challenging, unpredictable and everyone is expecting it to deliver – nothing he hasn’t come across before. Turning attention to Rishi Sunak, a second potential dark horse. As one of the youngest Chancellors of the Exchequer, and simultaneously inheriting the biggest economic downturn since 2008, ‘Dishy Rishi’ is surely on our radar. ‘A batch made in heaven’ has never been quite so apt.

On reflection, baking and finance is far from the perfect combination of flavours. It’s no chilli and chocolate or lemon and lime. So for now, it’s probably safer to leaving the baking to the professionals, and high-finance to the Wall Street wizards.

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