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August 24, 2019
Its nearly that time again when we park ourselves on the settee and look on with wonder at what people can bake under pressure in limited time. Sorry, but we love it at PoppysCookshop.com.
Grab your aprons, mixing bowls and wooden spoons: this year’s contestants for Great British Bake Off have been announced, and we’ve got the full baker’s dozen of cake-making home cooks listed below.
The Great British Bake Off 2019: Judges and hosts
Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood will return as judges, following two successful years working together on the show.
Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding will return as hosts of show.
The Great British Bake Off 2019: The bakers
This year's bakers have been announced and it's the show's youngest ever line-up, with seven new bakers in their 20s. The oldest contestant is 56 and the average age is 31 in the tent.
Job: Support worker
Dan says he is largely a self-taught baker, but has memories of watching his mother bake a Victoria sponge as a child and his army chef father coming to his school to teach how to bake and plait bread. He became serious about baking at the age of 21 while trying to impress his girlfriend Laura, who is now his wife, with a themed birthday cake. Dan, who lives with Laura and their three dogs, even made their wedding cake.
He says: “I have been trying for a few years now, so finally I am here. It’s absolutely crazy, really amazing, I was so adamant to get on, it’s very hard to describe the feelings, all strange and surreal. And then when you are in the tent it all feels normal pretty quickly.”
Job: Online project manager
Helena’s introduction to baking came at a young age as she watched her Spanish grandmother in the kitchen, but it was moving to Las Vegas and living with a Mormon family for a school exchange trip that prompted her to start baking herself. Born in Ceuta – an autonomous Spanish city on the north coast of Africa – Helen was raised in Lanzarote and studied in mainland Spain, but now lives in Leeds with her husband and baby daughter.
She says: “I won a baking competition at work and that gave me the confidence to apply. Although when I learned that I had got in I had a bit of a confidence crisis thinking, can I possibly be good enough?”
Job: Part-time waiter
Jamie was taught the basics by his grandmother and his parents, but it was after watching an episode of Bake Off and being inspired to make a plaited loaf that really saw his baking passion take hold. He was born and raised in Surrey with his identical twin and currently has a job as a part-time waiter before studying sports science at university.
He says: “When they called to tell me it was a real shock, I really wasn’t expecting it at all. But a nice shock. All my mates don’t even know that I bake so they will get a shock to see me in an apron!”
Job: Fashion designer
Born to a Caribbean father and a half-British/half-Polish mother, Amelia has been baking for 19 years after watching her mother and grandmother creating beautiful cake decorations as a child. She grew up in Halifax and studied in Leeds and Leicester, and honed her baking skills while at university, baking for friends and college fundraising events. She currently lives in London and works as a sportswear designer.
She says: “I have wanted to get into the tent since series one. It’s still not sunk in, but it’s a dream come true.
Job: International health adviser
Having grown up in rural Yorkshire with a mother who would always bake and refuse to buy a loaf from the shops, Dan was inspired to bake as a child. He became further interested in the art of baking after travelling to Malawi with his job as a health adviser, where he learnt to build an oven out of an oil drum and invented a cake that could steam cook over a village fire. He studied art and design before switching to nursing, and enjoys cycling and ceramics.
He says: “I have watched Bake Off from the start, and I have daydreamed so many times walking to work about being in it for such a long time. And when I got accepted it was such a mixture of emotions. Then I thought this is really crazy, am I good enough, will I have enough time to practice?”
Job: Geography teacher
Alice started baking at the age of 15 when a back operation for scoliosis left her unable to do sport. She lived in New Zealand in her early 20s, where she studied art and also perfected the art of a pavlova, before returning to the UK to become a geography teacher. She now uses her cakes in her lessons, demonstrating natural events such as coastal erosion and volcanic activity with her edible creations.
She says: “I have wanted to be in Bake Off ever since the show has started, but I wasn’t really good enough when I was 18. To be on such a big show doing something that you are passionate about is a huge thing. I also felt that to be accepted into the tent gave me the confidence to feel that I could bake. It was a dream come true!”
Henry became interested in all things culinary and baking at the age of 12, as he was intrigued by the Bake Off tent that was pitched up in his local park. He started experimenting in the kitchen and supplied his family, friends and teachers with a variety of bakes. Now studying English literature at Durham University, he enjoys feeding his housemates with his creations.
He says: “I have wanted to get into the tent since series two. They filmed it at the end of my road, so I used to see Paul Hollywood when I walked past the tent to go to school in the mornings, so I really got into it. To be inside the actual tent was totally wonderful.”
Job: Print shop administrator
Lives: Tenby, Wales
Michelle, who grew up on a farm, has been a lover of baking since she was a child, watching her mother whip up traditional bakes. She now bakes almost every other day, whether it is a loaf of bread or a dessert for her husband and teenage son.
She said: “I was so emotional when I found out, I cry when I am happy and cry when I am sad. I have wanted it for so long, so I couldn’t believe it.”
Job: HGV driver
This year’s oldest competitor, Phil took up baking seriously six years ago, but was always fond of baking bread in his home economics classes in his school days. Regularly baking four or five times a week, he focuses on breads such as focaccia, granary and brioche, but he also likes trying pastry and relishes the challenge of hot-water crust, puff and choux. Working early shifts as a driver means he is able to spend the rest of his day cooking for his wife and two daughters as well as baking treats for his motorcycle meetings with friends.
He says: “The most surprised (that I am in Bake Off) will be a couple who are long-term friends and they had been staying with us recently and said you make such wonderful cakes, but have never mentioned to me that I should go on Bake Off, so I think they haven’t a clue that I would be in it.”
Job: Marketing consultant
Priya, a self-professed perfectionist, started to take baking seriously 10 years ago as a means to relax, but her first foray into baking was in her youth at a baking club at primary school. A wedding present of a stand mixer seven years ago only boosted her passion even more, and she is known to toil for hours into the night baking bread and also for delivering bags of tasty treats to friends and family. She lives in Leicester with her husband and their two children.
She says: “I downloaded the application for Bake Off in 2012 the year I got married but I thought I would never get in. I applied again last year, and then this year I got in and it was so dreamy and unreal. I was in no doubt it would change my life. And it taught me to pursue the things you love, and you just have to go for it.”
Job: Theatre manager and fitness instructor
Michael was taught to bake by his mother using old, handwritten recipes passed down from her grandparents. Born in Newcastle, he was raised in Scone in Scotland from the age of seven and later studied in Edinburgh, and he considers himself Scottish. He currently works as a manager at a theatre company in Stratford-upon-Avon.
He says: “This was the very first time that I applied, one night I applied as I was a bit bored, I never thought I would get to the audition process. So when I found out it was a mixture of shock and blind panic!”
Job: Veterinary surgeon
Rosie’s passion for baking started when she was given a baking book at the age of five, and it has continued into her adult life. When she is not treating sick animals, she can be found baking through the night to unwind and also to keep the practice nurses well-fed. The amateur baker grew up in Oxfordshire and studied at Cambridge, is married to her childhood sweetheart and has many animals, including ducks and chickens.
She says: “The nurses at work are going to be so surprised, they will have no idea. They asked me the other day would I apply again and I could honestly and categorically answer, no I don’t think I will!”
Job: Shop assistant
Steph took up baking when her grandfather inspired her thanks to his love of homemade bread. Although it has long been a hobby of hers, she really became serious around three years ago and is largely self-taught. She enjoys making healthier bakes, adding vegetables and fruit and lowering the refined sugar content and upping nutritional fats. She is mother to a sourdough starter called Sammy.
She says: “It’s a bit like a lottery, it wasn’t really joined up thinking, I didn’t think that I would get in, I wanted to give it a go. It’s just beyond anything that I can imagine, because I didn’t really dream that I would get in, it has been the most incredible surreal experience.”
Thats the line up!
The Great British Bake Off begins on Channel 4 on Tuesday 27th August at 8pm.
Lets hope its a corker and many of the contestants are evenly matched.
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