The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 tonight (Tuesday 21st September) at its usual 8pm slot, with a fresh batch of bakers heading to the iconic tent to show off their skills – and hopefully secure a Hollywood handshake.
The Great British Bake Off 2021 line-up was revealed on Tuesday 14th September, with a 19-year-old psychology student, a car production operative and a sales manager who began baking in lockdown among them.
Each week there will be a Bake Off theme, with the 12 contestants tasked to make a Signature, Technical and Showstopper challenge and present it before judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.
Hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas will also be on hand for moral support and hilarious antics, of course, before the week’s Star Baker is crowned – and someone is sent home.
So, ahead of tonight’s episode, meet all the contestants in the Great British Bake Off 2021 line-up.
- Hear from judge Prue Leith on the Radio Times Podcast
Job: Met Police detective
Raised in London with Greek-Cypriot heritage, Amanda started baking with her mum when she was a child. She learned specifically about Greek baking from her paternal auntie. Her style is generous and creative with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. She loves painting directly on to her cakes, often giving them a pretty, feminine aesthetic that’s inspired by her two daughters.
Away from baking, Amanda studied graphic design at college and worked in advertising before moving to the Metropolitan Police to train as a detective.
Job: Sales Manager
Chigs is quite new to the baking world, embarking on his journey at the start of lockdown in 2020. Through the help of online videos and tutorials, the sales manager has managed to teach himself how to produce complex bakes and intricate chocolate work, and he’s hoping it’ll be able to impress judges Paul and Prue! Chigs is quite the thrill seeker and loves a challenge – he relishes high-octane activities such as bouldering, skydiving and trekking. When he’s not baking or climbing, you’ll find him spending time with his nephews who he adores.
Job: Client Relationship Manager
Born in northwest London to Kenyan-born, Portuguese-Goan parents, quadrilingual Crystelle is a baker who brings her wonderfully diverse heritage to her baking. She began baking seriously only three years ago and loves fusing spices from the places she’s visited into her bakes – a fougasse infused with turmeric, curry powder and spring onion is a firm favourite. Crystelle is also an enthusiastic singer, having kept herself busy over lockdown with her online choir.
From: North Yorkshire
Ever since the first series of Bake Off aired back in 2010, when Freya was just nine-years-old, she has dreamt of going on the show. Now, she’ll get to show off her baking skills, which includes making plant-based versions of classic bakes, which she started making for her dad a year ago. Her goal is to bake so that no one can tell the results are vegan.
Work-wise, Freya is currently studying for a psychology degree, and she lives at home with her parents so that she can continue to care for her horse, Winnie, while she’s at university.
Job: Shared Lives Co-ordinator
Food was always a big part of family life for George, who grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family. Now married to his childhood sweetheart, he has three children and a house full of animals, including a dancing Japanese Spitz, called Eli. His mum taught him to bake, which is a a legacy he’s now passing on to his own children. George loves all the Greek classics, and he has a keen eye for detail and perfection in the finished presentation.
When George isn’t baking, gardening or looking after his miniature zoo, he will be in the great outdoors with his family, on bike rides and walks.
Job: Chief Engineer
Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives in Bristol with his wife and their three young sons. As a self-confessed “food snob”, Giuseppe is determined to feed his children homemade confectionary, rather than anything that’s been mass-produced. His love for baking comes from his father, a professional chef who did all the cooking at home as Giuseppe was growing up, including making a cake every Sunday. He loves using Italian flavours in his bakes, while he also brings his engineer’s precision to the results.
Job: Head of Finance
“Baking is like breathing,” for Trinidadian-born Jairzeno. He started baking in 2014, after becoming disillusioned with delicious-looking bakes that just didn’t deliver on flavour. In his own baking, he emphasises on rich flavours, with guava and chocolate being a firm favourite. He also using lots of Caribbean spices, and aims for the perfect pâtissérie finish.
Job: IT Professional
Originally from the Black Forest in Germany, Jürgen moved to the UK in 2003 and now lives with his wife and son. As he was unable to find traditional German bread in his adopted home, Jürgen decided to bake his own – and his passion for baking has grown ever since. He is particularly well-known for his Jewish challah bread, and for the celebration cakes that he loves to bake for friends and family.
Job: Car Production Operative
Lizzie lives with her partner and their dog, Prudence, in an annex in her parents’ garden. She’s a baker who prefers simple presentation, and believes in flavour and quantity over precision. Her baking comfort zone is cake, but she loves experimenting with flavour and is generally prepared to give anything a go… as long as it doesn’t involve putting cheese in bread, which she thinks can only lead to disaster.
Job: Retired nurse and midwife
Having grown up surrounded by family who constantly cooked and baked, baking came naturally to Maggie. She has an impressive collection of classic recipe books and loves recreating traditional bakes, but also likes to experiment with new and exciting flavours. As a retired midwife, Maggie believes the excitement of delivering a baby can only be excellent preparation for taking part in Bake Off!
Job: Junior HR Business Partner
Coming from a big Jamaican family, Rochica bakes in a way that reflects her Caribbean heritage, with flavour, passion and love. She always is especially proud when her nan and aunties tell her she has baked a cake that reminds them of the treats they grew up with. Rochica’s interest in baking developed when she was left unable to dance due to an injury. Although she has started dancing again, she still finds plenty of time and reasons to bake!
Job: Software Developer
Tom discovered his true passion for baking a mere four years ago, when he made his dad a sticky toffee pudding cake. Now he bakes several times a week, rustling up everything from pies and quiches to bread. While some might follow the recipe, Tom likes to take the foundations of a basic recipe and make it his own, creating bakes that are fun and often follow a theme. Away from his stand mixer, Tom works for the family software company. He also loves amateur dramatics, singing, and he’s a keen runner.