A prison governor, a firefighter and a bodybuilder: judging by this year’s batch of Great British Bake Off contestants, Paul and Mary have their work cut out.
The 12 fresh bakers will make their debut in the famous Bake Off tent on Wednesday 5th August, giving us just over a week to get to know our new friends before the series returns on BBC1.
But which of this baking dozen will triumph at the end of series six? Start guessing the winner now.
Ian – aged 41
A travel photographer turned stay-at-home dad, Ian lives with his wife and two children in Cambridgeshire. A fan of foraging, travelling and Caribbean flavours: expect lots of ginger, lime and coconut in his recipes.
Alvin – aged 37
Originally from the Philippines, nurse Alvin now lives in Bracknell with his wife and two young children. Outwardly calm, but admits to nerves — especially around caramel. He started serious baking six years ago, and now bakes at least four times a week.
Paul – aged 49
A Swansea prison governor with a penchant for sugarcraft, and a little suspicious of Sue’s prison jokes. Before joining the prison service Paul performed ceremonial duties with the Coldstream Guards at Buckingham Palace. Bake Off, for Paul, is “an opportunity to show that men like me, stereotyped by our jobs, do and can love baking and that it is a skill and talent to be proud of.”
Flora – aged 19
At 19, Flora is this year’s youngest contestant. She’s from Perthshire, where her harshest critics are her two younger sisters. She’s about to start a degree in history of art, and is currently working as an assistant in a contemporary art gallery.
Mat – aged 37
A London firefighter who learnt to bake between shifts, Mat says he prefers sweet over savoury baking. Has perfected Richard Burr’s “pen-behind-the-ear” look from last year.
Ugne – aged 32
Born in Lithuania, now lives in Essex with her partner and two children. As well as a passionate baker, Ugne’s also a keen bodybuilder with a cheeky sense of humour. She says she likes to combine classic English baking with Eastern European flavours and methods.
Tamal – aged 29
The trainee anaesthetist working in Manchester likes to inject his cake with a syringe to make sure it’s moist. Tamal learned the baking art from his older sister, who eventually trusted him to make her wedding cake.
Stu – aged 35
A professional musician and a bit of a rule-breaker, he “wants to do well at this because a lot of people don’t know this side of me”. He learned to love baking while watching his parents working in the restaurant kitchen they owned when he was a child, and is particularly fond of experimenting with Middle Eastern spices.
Nadiya – aged 30
Nadiya’s family comes from Bangladesh, but she first learnt to bake at school in Luton. She now lives in Leeds with her husband and their three children who, she says, will be “very disappointed if I don’t go through”.
Sandy – aged 49
A child welfare officer from near Bradford, Sandy admits “I can be a bit random. I can be making a cake and you’ll have a meat pie by the time I’ve finished.” She loves cooking for family and friends, but also volunteers at a local school, running a cookery club for young children.
Marie – aged 66
Bakes every day for her five grandchildren in Perthshire. She was inspired to take up baking in her 30s when she lived in Paris with her family. Her daughter entered her for this year’s competition.
Dorret – aged 53
Dorret is a project accountant who likes cooking with chocolate and alcohol. Her family is originally from the West Indies, but Dorret grew up in Preston. Her dream is to go to the Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris.
Hungry for more?
The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood will be making a special appearance at this year’s Radio Times Festival on Friday 25th September.