The Great British Bake Off is back – and these are the 12 brand new bakers ready to take on the tent in 2018.
Hoping to impress Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood are a banker, a blood courier and a DJ, as well as a PhD research scientist, two stay-at-home parents and a mental health specialist.
Find out who the Great British Bake Off 2019 contestants are as the new season starts.
- Prue Leith reveals Channel 4’s strategy for preventing Bake Off spoilers in the new series
- Liam Charles made his judging debut on Bake Off: the Professionals – and viewers loved it
The youngest baker on the show this year is 26-year-old Manon, while the oldest is Karen – a 60-year-old in-store sampling assistant.
Below is everything you need to know about the brand new batch of bakers:
Job: Civil Servant and House / Techno DJ
He says: “I didn’t watch Bake Off until two years ago and then my friends pressured me to apply and I thought ‘yes, let’s give it a go’. It’s an amazing challenge and when I applied I never thought I would get into the tent in a million years.
“It’s completely different baking in my kitchen to the tent…there is no pressure to get it right or race against a clock. I also love to have music playing and always have my sous-chef (aka my dog Oscar) waiting patiently by my side for something to drop on the floor that he can eat before I have a chance to stop him!”
He says: “I went in [Bake Off] for my dad who taught me how to make a Victoria Sponge as a little boy. And my partner who signed me up for this.
“All of my friends back home in India will be really surprised. They have known me to be a singer in a choir and a two piece band – but never as a baker. So it will be interesting to see their reaction.”
Job: Mental Health Specialist
She says: “None of my family really bake, it’s just me that bakes. My friends have always wanted me to apply, but I didn’t feel confident enough to apply until this year. I went into the tent mostly for myself to see if I could it!
“In a way, the colours in my kitchen are very similar to the tent, but obviously a lot smaller. It’s very peaceful in my kitchen, very calming and no time constraints. I find baking very relaxing, but it wasn’t like that in the tent!”
Job: Blood courier
From: Newport, Wales
He says: “I’ve always loved cooking, especially baking and as a family we’ve always loved watching Bake Off. I bake as often as I can – several times a week, mainly in the day while my wife and children are at school as I get some peace that way! The time pressure in the tent was harder of course but I have to admit I loved every minute.
“I can’t wait for everyone to find out [that he’s on Bake Off], it’s been the hardest secret to keep!”
Job: Project Manager
She says: “Because I am so new to baking there are going to be so many people that will be shocked. I don’t really post about my baking on social media, so I am sure my friends are going to be surprised.
“I think it may blow their minds as they know me for going out and going to the gym as opposed to being in the kitchen. I am a bit of an undercover baker! I cannot wait!”
Job: Full-time parent
He says: “My reasons for taking part in Bake Off were entirely selfish. I have been at home looking after the kids for the last six years, so it was a chance to do something for myself.
“With my youngest starting school, I’m now ready to rejoin the world of adults – I hoped that Bake Off might represent an opportunity to do something that I love and am passionate about.
“I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I’m on Bake Off! I have applied before, and all my friends know that, so it won’t be a shock to any of them.”
Job: Research Scientist
He says: “Even five years ago I really had no idea about The Great British Bake Off. One of my colleagues kind of pushed me to apply for Bake Off. He kept sending me the application link, until I said to him that I have started applying.
“I think pretty much everybody I know will be surprised. They know I bake, but not to the scale that I could enter the tent. Colleagues I knew during my PhD don’t have a clue that I can bake. Back in India I didn’t bake either. All of them and actually myself are surprised that I made it into the tent.”
Job: Software Project Manager
She says: “When me and my best friend came to England [Manon was born and raised in France], Bake Off was one of the first shows we watched together on TV.
“At work, my clients don’t really see me as a baker, so I think they are going to be very shocked!”
Job: In-store Sampling Assistant
From: West Yorkshire
She says: “My daughters encouraged me to do [Bake Off], and I was approaching 60 and I found it really liberating to do something like this. As you get older you feel less inhibited, and think does it matter if you make a fool of yourself.
“I have always wanted to be even more flamboyant and free, I really wanted to do this for me and I thought it was the right time to step up and take on some challenges and have some fun.”
Job: Countryside Recreation Officer
From: County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
She says: “I went in [to Bake Off] for me as a challenge obviously for the baking, but also to have the confidence of meeting new people, I don’t usually put myself out there personally.
“My friends will be so so surprised, they wouldn’t think I would do something like this, and an auntie that I go to yoga with every week will want to know why I didn’t tell her!”
Job: Retired Air Steward
From: West Midlands
He says: “To be honest, I went into the tent for myself. I wanted to change life a little, shake it up a bit, start a new course. I am on a new journey in life at the moment, and what better way to start it.
“I bake most days, my daily bread! My kitchen couldn’t be more different to the tent, it’s calm, quiet and cool. It’s my haven, I spend most of my time in there, baking or painting. It’s my zen place and always has been. If you can’t find me in the house I am in the kitchen.”
Job: Full-time parent
She says: “My uni friends [will be shocked], as we keep in regular contact still, but none of them have a clue. So that will be funny when they find out.
“I went in the tent for myself – and to make my family proud.”