Great British Bake Off 2017 contestants: Chuen-Yan ‘Yan’
What do you need to know about Yan?
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!”
What is Yan’s baking style?
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.”
How well is she doing in The Great British Bake Off?
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. She’s never been in danger of leaving the tent, but equally she has never been at the front of the pack.
She earned a coveted Hollywood Handshake during Pudding Week, one of three bakers to receive the accolade.
Pastry Week saw Yan reveal her equation for the ‘perfect pie’, but her mathematical efforts didn’t exactly double the judges’ praises. Prue called her savoury signature “a mess”. Ouch.