The Great British Bake Off returns: meet the contestants

The Great British Bake Off contestants
The Great British Bake Off contestants

The hit culinary show returns to BBC1 on Wednesday, 5 August for a sixth series.

Last year’s winner, Nancy Birtwhistle, had an impressive 13.5 million viewers tune in to see her take the crown.

Returning to the show are judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, and presenting duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

Here are the 12 contestants who will be vying for the title of master baker:

Paul, 49, from Wales:

Paul has been a prison governor for eight years and was a former member of Buckingham Palace’s Coldstream Guards. He said the show 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”.

Ian, 41, from Cambridgeshire:

He is not just a whizz in the kitchen but is a renowned travel photographer and is the Dalai Lama’s personal photographer when he is in the UK. Ian, who reckons he has become a bit of a house husband in the past few years, started baking six years ago because he wanted his children to have fresh bread to eat.

Stu, 35, from Surrey:

A professional musician who is trading his microphone for a wooden spoon. He has been baking since a young age, and his love of cooking was spurred on by watching his parents in the kitchen of the restaurant they owned. He said he loves “how something liquid could go in and out would come this fluffed up awesomeness”.

Flora, 19, from Scotland:

This year’s youngest baker, Flora works at an art gallery as an assistant and will be starting a history of art degree. Despite her nearest shop being around 20 minutes away from her home in the Scottish countryside, she regularly bakes. Coming from a family of keen bakers, she reckons her “harshest” critics may be her two younger sisters.

Nadiya, 30, from Leeds:

Her family is originally from Bangladesh, and Nadiya was encouraged to bake by a school home economics teacher. She was born in Luton but lives in Leeds with her husband where she is a full-time mother to three children. She now wants to “have her own adventure” and make her family proud with her baking.

Mat, 37, from London:

Things might sizzle in the kitchen, but London firefighter Mat can handle the heat. He started baking between his firefighting shifts three years ago and counts cakes, biscuits, breads and pastries among his skill set. He said he is a “competent amateur” who “learns every time he bakes”.

Alvin, 37, from Berkshire:

A nurse from Berkshire who is originally from the Philippines, Alvin’s two children are going to inherit the many recipes and techniques he is always scribbling down. He started his baking quest seven years ago and now bakes at least four times a week. He is determined too, and revealed he once baked bread every single day for three weeks until he thought he had “got it right”.

Dorret, 53, from Preston:

An accountant whose family are from the West Indies, Dorret - who grew up in Preston - is a baking pro. She has been baking for 40 years and regularly visits Michelin star restaurants with her husband. Her big dream is to attend the Cordon Bleu school in Paris.

Ugne, 32, from Lithuania:

A bodybuilder whose hobby is baking, Ugne lives in Essex with her bodybuilder partner and is a PA and administrator. She has learned her baking skills from her mother and grandmother, who passed on their Eastern European skills. She is a fan of English methods, but also tries to include traditional Lithuanian flavours.

Marie, 66, from Paris:

Her daughter entered her into the competition, and she has upped her baking ante considerably as her children say that growing up “mum couldn’t even boil an egg”. A move to Paris in her thirties was all Marie needed and she is now a passionate baker.

Sandy, 49, from Bradford:

Child welfare officer Sandy, who lives and works near Bradford, says baking is her way of showing her close friends and family that she “cares about them”. She thinks her style and description of herself are unanimous, saying “it might not be glamorous but it’s tasty”. When she is not being a guiding light to younger people, she is volunteering at a school, where she runs a cooking club teaching children from deprived backgrounds to bake on a small budget.

Tamal, 29, from Manchester:

A trainee anaesthetist working in Manchester, he credits his older sister for his love of baking. She even asked him to do the honours and make her wedding cake. He now regularly whips up cakes for family and friends, and includes an impressive five-tier creation among his works.

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