Great British Bake Off 2017 contestants: Chuen-Yan ‘Yan’
Bio: Yan was born in Hong Kong, and moved to the UK at the age of two. She lives in North London with her wife, Marian, and her cat Kacey, and works as a biomedical scientist for the Francis Crick institute.
She grew up in a Chinese household that would traditionally steam rather than bake, but she began to take baking more seriously 10 years ago in between 24-hour shifts as a molecular biologist for the NHS.
“I know my own family used to steam cakes and use the oven as storage space – but that’s because flats are tiny in Hong Kong,” she says. “And I still use my oven as storage because my kitchen is tiny – but I didn’t do that in the tent!”
Check out some of her best bakes below.
What is her specialty?
Yan has created a sourdough starter which she has nicknamed ‘Muvver’. “I love bread,” she says. “One of the best things about chatting to Paul when I met him on the first day was chatting about bread. I learnt so much in a matter of minutes.”
“I was like a rabbit caught in a headlight for the entire day,” she says of her first week in the tent. “But I work in a high profile laboratory and you have to show a cool exterior. If you panic in the lab, everyone else does. In the tent, I tried to keep a cool exterior, too, even though I was feeling apprehensive inside!”
Yan’s science background certainly helped her create an incredible showstopper cake, a ‘banana-ramen’ concoction of fake salmon roe and noodles. Although all those science smarts didn’t stop her falling for GBBO Rule One: always make sure the oven’s on.
Yan has been getting along pretty comfortably, and has been particularly successful with the Technical Challenges. But does she have what it takes to become Star Baker?