The Great British Bake Off is back! It’s now been an entire decade since we got our first taste of the cooking competition on screens.
So what better way to celebrate than welcoming a whole baker’s dozen of contestants into the tent to impress judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood for ten weeks of competition (starting Tuesday, 27th August).
Aged from 20 to 56, this year’s 13 bakers include a veterinary surgeon, an international health adviser, a fashion designer and even a theatre manager/fitness instructor. This year’s bakers are the youngest bunch we’ve ever seen with more than half in their 20s.
Here’s all you need to know about the new batch of bakers joining hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig for The Great British Bake Off 2019.
Occupation: Geography Teacher
Who is Alice?
Alice grew up in Essex in a riverside town. Aged 15 she turned to baking when she was recovering from a back operation for scoliosis and was no longer able to take part in sport. She attended art school in New Zealand which is also where she perfected the fruit pavlova in her early 20s. When she returned to the UK Alice trained as a Geography teacher and now lives in East London. Alice brings baking into the classroom using her cakes to teach – who knew an angel slice could demonstrate erosion?
Alice likes delicate cakes with intricate decoration and packed with flavour.
Alice says: “I have wanted to be in Bake Off ever since the show has started, but I wasn’t really good enough when I was 18. To be on such a big show doing something that you are passionate about is a huge thing.
“I also felt that to be accepted into the tent gave me the confidence to feel that I could bake. It was a dream come true!”
Find out more about Alice.
Occupation: International Health Adviser
Who is David?
Growing up in Yorkshire David watched his mum bake all the time which inspired him to pick up his own wooden spoon. Travelling to Malawi for work also helped David build on his skills adding baking in an oil drum to his repertoire – he even invented a cake that you can steam cook over an open fire. David studied art and design before switching to nursing and travels the world for work now. He lives in London when not flying around the globe and likes making ceramics. David says his strength is bread (watch out Paul!) and he prefers strong flavours.
David says: “I have watched Bake Off from the start, and I have daydreamed so many times walking to work about being in it for such a long time. And when I got accepted it was such a mixture of emotions.
“You feel like royalty walking into the tent, you have a runner looking after you, bringing you drinks. It’s very different to ordinary life, and a fantastic experience.”
Find out more about David.
Occupation: Online Project Manager
Who is Helena?
Africa born Helena watched her grandma bake as a child, but she only really got stuck in herself when she moved to Las Vegas as part of an exchange scheme and lived with a Mormon family. Helena was born in Spanish city Ceuta in north Africa but was raised in Lanzarote. During her time at university, she moved to Leeds where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Helena says she likes American flavours, which is lucky because pumpkin and maple fit with her Gothic vibe. She also pulls on her Spanish background adding a dash of paprika now and then and of course she loves Halloween.
Helena says: “I won a baking competition at work and that gave me the confidence to apply. Although when I learned that I had got in I had a bit of a confidence crisis thinking, can I possibly be good enough?
“I was literally numb on the first day, I couldn’t take it all in, really. It was such a blur, and it hit me afterwards that I had made it into the Tent.”
Find out more about Helena.
Who is Henry?
Aged 12 Henry fell in love with The Great British Bake Off when it pitched up in his local park, yes we feel old too. The young boy started trying out bakes himself under the guidance of his family and his interest soon developed into a love of baking. He loves trying new things and testing combining flavours. Now Henry gets to try out his experiments on his fellow students in Durham, where he’s studying English Literature.
Henry says: “I have wanted to get into the tent since series 2. They filmed it at the end of my road, so I used to see Paul Hollywood when I walked past the tent to go to school in the mornings, so I really got into it. To be inside the actual tent was totally wonderful.”
Find out more about Henry.
Occupation: Theatre manager/fitness instructor
Who is Michael?
It was Michael’s mother who got him hooked on baking with her gentle encouragement as well as the handwritten recipes handed down from his grandparents. Michael was born in Newcastle but thinks of himself as Scottish as he moved to the country aged seven as well as studying in Edinburgh. Michael has Indian heritage and says he’s inspired by the country’s flavours. He works as a theatre manager in Stratford-Upon-Avon, but also leads fitness classes. Michael says he likes following a recipe and his best bakes are cakes and pastries.
Michael says: “This was the very first time that I applied, one night I applied as I was a bit bored, I never thought I would get to the audition process.
“My grandma [will be] totally speechless, she would have to sit down in a quiet room and have a cup of tea.”
Find out more about Michael.
Occupation: Print Shop Administrator
Who is Michelle?
Michelle grew up on a farm, but now lives in Tenby with her husband and teen son in Wales (she’s Welsh you know!) She first learnt to bake as a child by watching her mum. She now bakes nearly every day from loaves for breakfast to desserts for after dinner. Michelle says she likes to experiment and likes to sneak in vegetables into her bakes. She focuses on produce and is precise when baking…and she’s Welsh, did she say that?
Michelle says: “I was so emotional when I found out, I cry when I am happy and cry when I am sad. I have wanted it for so long, so I couldn’t believe it.”
Find out more about Michelle.
Occupation: HGV Driver
Who is Phil?
Phil’s love of baking kicked off in a Home Economics class, but it was only six years ago that he really got stuck in. The HGV driver now bakes up to five times a week, whipping up everything from brioche to focaccia. Phil grew up in Barking and trained to be a driver aged 17, he now lives in Rainham, Essex with his wife and two daughters. Phil loves cooking for his family, which is handy because working the early shift leaves him free in the afternoon to get cooking their dinner. Phil likes motorbikes and even attends meet-ups with other like-minded bikers. He turns up to their meetings with bakes more often than not. Phil says he likes delicate decorations and has been practicing with his piping.
Phil says: “My memory of the first week is being minibussed into the site and seeing the tent, those wonderful white peaks and thinking that this is happening, it’s not just a dream. I have yearned for this for years, it’s amazing.”
Find out more about Phil.
Occupation: Marketing Consultant
Who is Priya?
Priya’s love of baking began all thanks to an after school club, then a decade ago she began to bake to wind down, but it was when she was given a stand mixer for her wedding gift that she got really serious about baking. Priya has been known to bake into the night, sharing her bakes with her friends and family. The freelance marketing consultant lives in Leicester with her husband and two kids and is writing her first book. Priya likes to try out vegan bakes and is a fan of tropical flavours.
Priya says: “I downloaded the application for Bake Off in 2012 the year I got married but I thought I would never get in. I applied again last year, and then this year I got in and it was so dreamy and unreal.
“I was in no doubt it would change my life. And it taught me to pursue the things you love, and you just have to go for it.”
Find out more about Priya.
Occupation: Veterinary Surgeon
Who is Rosie?
Rosie fell in love with baking when she was given a children’s baking book aged five. The vet grew up in Oxfordshire and studied at Cambridge. She now lives in Somerset with her husband, who she met as a child, and a lot of animals. Rosie is kept busy as a veterinary surgeon so likes to unwind with a late-night bake, which her nurses appreciate. Rosie is a fan of patisserie, which is her “go-to” bake. She says she is inspired by her rural surroundings.
Rosie says: “When I heard I was accepted, the only word I can describe it as is ecstatic!
“The nurses at work are going to be so surprised, they will have no idea. They asked me the other day would I apply again and I could honestly and categorically answer, no I don’t think I will!”
Find out more about Rosie.
Occupation: Shop Assistant
Who is Steph?
Steph’s love of baking comes from her grandad who was a fan of homemade bread. The shop assistant has always been known for making a mess when in the kitchen, but her love of baking really took off about three years ago. The self-taught baker still sees herself as “learning”. Steph lives in Chester with her mum, and loves sports and wellness, which she says inspires her baking. She’s a fan of adding vegetables or fruit to her bakes, cutting out sugar and making her bakes healthier. Steph loves to make a biscuit and tries to one-up the supermarket biccies. Her signature bake is a sourdough loaf which she calls ‘Sammy’. Don’t ask.
Steph says: “I didn’t think that I would get in, I wanted to give it a go. It’s just beyond anything that I can imagine, because I didn’t really dream that I would get in, it has been the most incredible surreal experience.”
Find out more about Steph.
Who has left the GBBO tent already?
Dan – evicted Week 1
Occupation: Support Worker
Who is Dan?
Dan is a self-taught baker but does remember his mum whipping up a Victoria sponge when he was young. His army chef dad even visited his school to teach the children how to plait bread.
Aged 21 Dan really got into baking himself… to impress his girlfriend. It must have worked as she’s now his wife! dan was born in Worksop and grew up in Rotherham, where he still lives with his three dogs and wife Laura. Dan loves decorating cakes so much he even made his own wedding cake.
Dan says: “I was so adamant to get on [Bake Off], it’s very hard to describe the feelings, all strange and surreal. And then when you are in the tent it all feels normal pretty quickly.
“The first time I saw the white peaks of the tent it gave me butterflies”
Why was he evicted?
While Dan didn’t have the best of starts viewers were a bit surprised when he was evicted as Jamie had also made quite a few mistakes…
Find out more about Dan.
Jamie – evicted Week 2
Occupation: Part-time waiter
Who is Jamie?
Jamie learned all about baking from his grandma and his parents. After watching an episode of The Great British Bake Off he set off on his own trying to plait a loaf of bread and that’s when his love of baking really took off. Jamie and his identical twin live in Surrey where he works as a part-time waiter before he heads off to study Sports Science at university. Jamie says he enjoys technical bakes, like croissants, but isn’t keen on the pressure of the tent.
Jamie says: “When they called to tell me it was a real shock, I really wasn’t expecting it at all. But a nice shock!
“I was quite nervous at the beginning but by the second day the bakers had all gelled and we were all pretty much best mates, and it was great.”
Why was he evicted?
Despite being a favourite Jamie left the tent in week 2 following a series of errors. From mishappen bakes to crumbling under pressure it was Jamie’s time to go.
Find out more about Jamie.
Amelia – evicted Week 3
Occupation: Fashion designer
Who is Amelia?
Amelia has been baking for 19 years, and first found her love for the skill when her mum and grandma would make cake decorations. Amelia’s father is Caribbean, her mother British/Half-Polish. While Amelia grew up in Halifax she studied in Leeds and Leicester. It was at university that she really put her skills to the test, baking up goods for her friends and fundraising events. She now lives in London and works for a sportswear designer.
Her northern roots inspire her baking as well as her belief that fresh farm produce is best. Amelia says her best bake was a snow leopard cake she baked for her nephew’s fifth birthday.
Amelia says: “It was all so much fun, meeting all the bakers, meeting the judges and presenters, there wasn’t one moment from that first week that I didn’t enjoy. It was magical.
“I am really excited to tell my godson who is 6 that I am on Bake Off and that will be the best thing ever. I cannot wait to tell him as he means the world to me, I am bursting to tell him.”
Why was Amelia evicted?
Amelia had a rough week. She forgot 10% of her bread dough leaving her white baps a bit of the small side. For the showstopper her underdone bakes failed to impress and it was the end of the road for the designer.
Find out more about Amelia.
The Great British Bake Off is on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.