The Great British Bake Off 2017 bakers: Julia Chernogorova
From: Born in Siberia, lives in West Sussex
Day job: Worked as an Aviation Broker, but quit so she could focus on winning the Bake Off
What do you need to know about Julia?
Julia is originally from Siberia, but met her British husband Matt while she was on holiday in Turkey at the age of 17.
As a child she saved up money from her after-school job to buy baking ingredients, and after moving to the UK she dreamed of applying for GBBO.
“I moved to the UK just over three years ago and shortly after I arrived, I started watching Bake Off,” she explains. “I was a big fan and I quickly got hooked. I realised that is what I wanted I to do. I had a plan to apply but only after I had practised and practised. And so I have practised for three years to reach a good standard."
The stakes are high for Julia, because she has already left job so she can spend all her time on the Great British Bake Off. She says: “As soon as I heard, I quit my job. I was working as a broker organising and finding private jets for clients. I knew I had to leave, as I knew I would not be focused 100 per cent anymore."
What is Julia's baking style?
Don't expect a lot of Siberian influence in Julia's baking, because she is keen to cook for a British audience. “I didn’t want to bake a cake with weird stuff nobody had heard of,” she says. “I tweaked things to show I was different but I didn’t want to go over the line."
How well is she doing in The Great British Bake Off?
Walking into the tent for the first time was an "unbelievable" moment, Julia says. "Unless you have been in the tent, it’s such a difficult thing to explain what you go through but oh my goodness, you do feel emotional. Everything takes over. And it was also just so nerve-wracking. I never normally bite my nails but I literally ate my hands and fingers throughout that first day!”
She needn't have worried, ending Cake Week as one of the frontrunners despite her curious choice of courgette as an ingredient for her very first Bake Off bake. Her Russian doll showstopper was genius, a cake inside a cake being almost certainly a good idea in the glorious gluttony that is Bake Off.
"That's the fattest Russian doll I've ever seen," said Paul. We think it was a compliment...
Julia had a pretty average Biscuit Week, with jelly-filled sandwich biscuits which were more fun to wobble than eat, and in Caramel Week she also came in the middle of the pack.
But it was in Bread Week that Julia had her real triumph. Despite baking an extremely phallic snail, she managed to impress Paul and Prue enough to be crowned Star Baker.
Pudding Week proved a close shave for Julia – can she recover in Pastry Week?