The Great British Bake Off is not for the half-baked or the soggy-bottomed – while it may seem like a sweet, fete-style cake competition, behind-the-scenes of Bake Off filming is gruelling, rigorous and tiring.
So it’s little surprise, then, that the application process for the nation’s best-loved baking competition is equally as exhaustive, made up of several stages that tests your overall hardiness in an addition to your actual cooking ability.
If you’re watching the series this year, and think you’d be able to stand the heat of the Bake Off kitchen in 2021 – we’ve got your application process covered.
With a little help from 2017 Bake Off champion, Sophie Faldo, here’s your recipe for success for The Great British Bake Off application form.
Where do you apply for The Great British Bake Off 2021?
If watching all the action on screen has given you an appetite for baking competitively, you can follow this link to apply.
Applications are now open for 2021 – and will stay open until 6th December 2020.
The rules of applying for The Great British Bake Off
Before you even start to wade through the lengthy form, you should check you’re actually eligible to apply, as the show has a staggering 24 rules of entry.
Essentially, all hopefuls must:
- Be 16 or over
- Be a resident of the UK
- Be able to commit to all the filming days required for the programme – expected to fall between April and August 2021 this year
- Have never worked as a full-time baker, cook or chef
- Not have baking or cooking as their primary source of income
- Not have an NVQ or other qualification in baking, cooking, food production, catering or food preparation - unless obtained over ten years ago.
You can read the full list of rules here.
The Great British Bake Off application form
The form itself is reportedly seven pages long, with each hopeful baker having to answer a series of questions primarily about their cooking ability.
“Every section, like bread and cakes, and biscuits, has its own page and you have to say what your signature bake is and how often you bake it,” Sophie explains to RadioTimes.com. “The application form is really long.”
The second stage
Should your application form show you know your roulade from your jam roly-poly, you will be selected for a lengthy telephone interview.
Then, the baking begins with the first round interview.
Hopefuls are invited to meet producers and casting executives, armed with two of their best bakes.
“You can bring anything you like,” Sophie says. “Producers advise that one bake should be sweet, and the other be savoury."
The third round
Having hopefully wowed the producers, the final few hopefuls are invited for the final round of interviews – completing a dreaded technical challenge on camera.
“You have to bake something while you’re there, to make sure you’ve not just been bringing in someone else’s work,” Sophie says. “They have cameras walking around the place. I think it’s to see that we were happy baking and talking at the same time, and whether we can cope with that.”
When do you find out that you’ve made the bakers dozen?
According to Sophie, you only find out you’ve made it to the live shows almost at the very last minute.
“They don’t tell you until quite late on,” she says. “You know you’re potentially in the running but they never really commit themselves until the very last minute.
“It’s probably around six weeks before you start filming, for you to get sent all your briefs.
“Then you have to send back your recipes.”
Are expenses covered while applying for The Great British Bake Off?
What with all the practicing, travelling, and baking, applying for The Great British Bake Off is no cheap feat – with everything having to come out of the bakers’ own pocket.
Sophie was a special case, with travel for her final audition covered by the production company.
“I was ski instructing in the Alps for all of that season, so they actually paid for my last flight back,” she said. “But everything else you have to pay for yourself.”
Love Productions only start paying for your ingredients should you make the final 12.
Any last minute advice?
The tent is famed for its eccentric personalities and quirky participants (remember the baker who was a civil servant by day, DJ by night?), but Sophie believes that “you can only be yourself” when facing the producers.
“The producers will have an idea in their mind of exactly what they want, and I’ve never been party to that,” she says.
Sophie agrees that to enter the Bake Off tent, you have to be sure that you can handle the vast amounts of pressure – and, most importantly (and obviously), a knowledgable baker.
“You’ve got to have a really good head under pressure and have a relatively good, all round knowledge, so maybe do a bit of swotting up,” she concludes. "So you know the difference between the bakes.”
The Great British Bake Off returns in 2021 on Channel 4. If you want more to watch, check out our TV Guide.