A fresh batch of Great British Bake Off contestants have accepted the challenge of baking for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry – but what are the most memorable former finalists and winners from The Great British Bake Off doing now?
Edd Kimber (winner, 2010)
After coming out top in the first ever Bake Off, Edd packed in his debt collecting job and went to work in the pastry kitchen at Raymond Blanc’s restaurant Le Manoir. He’s since appeared on TV shows including Sunday Brunch, and as resident baker on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. He also writes regular columns for food magazines like BBC Good Food, and reviewed series three of Bake Off for RadioTimes.com, as well as publishing his first cookbook The Boy Who Bakes in 2011, followed by Say It With Cake and Patisserie Made Simple. He still blogs at theboywhobakes.co.uk.
Jo Wheatley (winner, 2011)
Since winning the 2011 Bake Off, Jo has continued to display her baking skills on TV, including the scone-making lesson she gave food critic Jay Rayner on The One Show. She’s now started a home-cooking school from her Essex house, which includes classes in cupcake decorating and bread-making, and appears at food festival events across the country. Jo has also shared her favourite recipes in books A Passion For Cooking and Home Baking.
John Whaite (winner, 2012)
Although John was nearly sent packing at the start of the competition after putting salt – instead of sugar – in his rum babas (nightmare!), he went on to win the third series. He’s since published two cookbooks, John Whaite Bakes and John Whaite Bakes at Home, and earned a patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu in London. In 2014, John launched his own chocolate shop, The Hungry Dog Artisan Chocolates, and runs baking classes. In 2015 he opened cookery school John Whaite’s Kitchen in rural Lancashire.
Frances Quinn (winner, 2013)
Frances conjured up wonders in the Bake Off tent during the fourth series and has since produced recipes and features for magazines and newspapers, as well as appearing on radio and TV and demonstrating her work at shows and festivals around the UK. She has also released her book Quinntessential Baking, “a treasure trove of inspirational ideas to bring a spark of creativity and a teaspoon of wonder into your kitchen.”
Ruby Tandoh (finalist 2013)
Ruby Tandoh has written baking columns for The Guardian, penned a book called Crumb and blogs at rubyandthekitchen.co.uk. She also made headlines in October 2013 when she hit back at accusations that she’d flirted with Paul Hollywood to get ahead in the competition. Tandoh told the Guardian, “I’d rather eat my own foot than attempt to seduce my way to victory, and even if I had any intention [of] playing that card, it’s insulting to both the judges to suggest that they’d ever let their professional integrity be undermined in that way.” She later came out as gay on social media.
James Morton (finalist 2012)
Despite reaching the 2012 final, James hasn’t swapped his white coat for an apron and after graduating university with a degree in medicine, he now works as a junior doctor for the NHS. However, he’s still found time to publish Brilliant Bread – a guide to flatbreads, sourdoughs, sweet doughs, buns, doughnuts, focaccia and all other possible breads – as well as releasing How Baking Works (And What To Do When It Doesn’t).
Howard Middleton (contestant 2013)
Council worker Howard was eliminated from Bake Off before the final but he provided some of the most memorable moments (The Missing Trifle, Muffin Elbows…) of the fourth series. His book Delicious Gluten-Free Baking is out now. Let’s hope there’s a chapter on how to keep track of your trifle…
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