It’s baking time!
Great British bake off returns to our screens on 5th August and this years in-take will have to do a lot to impress Paul and Mary.
This years contestants include a Lithuanian bodybuilder and a teenager from Scotland
Mat is a London fire fighter. He’s now mastered not only simple cakes and biscuits but bread, pastries and pies. Preferring sweet over savoury baking, Mat calls himself a “competent amateur” who “learns every time he bakes”. Mat lives with his wife in London. He says his greatest ambition is to own a dishwasher.
Stu is a professional musician. He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children and has been baking from a young age. He used to watch his parents in the restaurant kitchen they owned and was always amazed by the magic of the oven and “how something liquid could go in and out would come this fluffed-up awesomeness”. He is confident with most genres of baking and is fascinated by the science of it all. He enjoys trialling different flavour combinations, especially Middle Eastern spices.
Flora At 19, Flora is this year’s youngest baker. An old head on young shoulders, Flora’s an assistant at a contemporary art gallery while she waits to start her history of art degree. Flora lives at home with her parents and two younger sisters in the Scottish countryside, 20 minutes from the nearest shop. But she always makes sure the larder is stocked, and regularly bakes cakes and loaves for the family, often filling the freezer up with ingredients. Flora comes from a big family of bakers and can’t remember ever not baking. But standards have to be high to impress her harshest critics – her sisters.
Paul lives in Wales and has been a prison governor for eight years. He sees being in The Great British Bake Off as “an opportunity to show that men like me, stereotyped by our jobs, do and can love baking and that it is a skill and talent to be proud of”.
Dorret is from Preston and works as an accountant. A self-confessed foodie, Dorret has been baking for 40 years and enjoys tap dancing, ballet and salsa to counteract the calories she consumes. Dorret and her husband regularly visit Michelin-starred restaurants for inspiration and ideas for their next culinary experiment, and often host dinner parties to impress their friends with their skills. Mother to her 21-year-old daughter, Dorret’s dream is to go to the Cordon Bleu school in Paris.
Nadiya has been baking for 10 years Born in Luton, she now lives in Leeds with her husband and is full time mum to their three children. Having put her career on the backburner to devote her life to her family, with their support she now feels inspired to have her own adventure – and make them proud.
Ian lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife and two children. He’s a travel photographer and has the honour of being the Dalai Lama’s personal snapper when he visits the UK. In recent years, Ian’s become more of a househusband and while his wife heads to work he often spends his days making giant catapults and zip wires for his children to play with. He started baking six years ago because he wanted them to have fresh bread every day. Ian’s passion for foraging and travelling the world mean he’s never afraid to bake with an unusual discovery from his garden – or much further afield.
Tamal is a trainee anaesthetist working at a hospital in Manchester. He grew up in Hertfordshire where his parents moved from India in the 1960s. His older sister played a big part in bringing him up and taught him to bake. She gave Tamal the ultimate compliment when he was asked to bake her wedding cake. Since then, he is regularly asked to bake family and friends’ wedding cakes too – the largest one was five tiers.
Sandy is a child welfare officer who lives and works near Bradford. Mother of one, Sandy says that she bakes to show her family, friends and colleagues that she cares about them.
Alvin is originally from the Philippines, and works as a nurse in Berkshire, where he lives with his wife and their two children. He’s constantly jotting down everything from recipes to techniques so he can pass all his knowledge on to them both as they grow up.
Ugne is bodybuilder. Originally from Lithuania, Ugne now lives in Essex with her partner, also a bodybuilder, and their two young children, and works as a PA and administrator. Ugne learnt to bake from her mother and grandmother, who used Eastern European baking methods and utensils. She loves English baking and each day makes her family bread, pies and pastries, but also likes to incorporate traditional Lithuanian flavours into her bakes to remind her of home.