From Paul Hollywood's twin to the man whose greatest ambition is to 'own a dishwasher', this year's Great British Bake Off contestants are a recipe for, well, something...
Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry have returned for a sixth season of Britain’s favourite baking programme, the Great British Bake Off. One short of the bakers dozen, this year’s twelve eggcellent contestants have finally been revealed and are ready to battle it out to impress the judges with their personalized bakes and attempt to avoid soggy bottoms. It’s time to start placing your bets on which one of these fresh-faced cake lovers will crumble under the pressure, and who has the potential to become master baker.
This years line up includes a Lithuanian body builder, the Dalai Lama’s personal photographer, a firefighter, and a Paul Hollywood lookalike. Crikey.
Mat is bound to come in handy if anyone has a nightmare and sets their apron on fire; he’s a firefighter. He lives with London with his wife and began baking three years ago between shifts. He’s renowned for keeping a calm head when faced with burning cakes and describes himself as a ‘competent amateur’ who ‘learns every time he bakes’.
Speciality: Sugar, he has a bit of a sweet tooth, so tends to stick with sweet based baking, he isn’t a fan of savoury.
Fun Fact: He’s very modest, his greatest ambition is to own a dishwasher.
This year’s youngest baker, Flora is an assistant at a contemporary art gallery and is set to begin a degree in the history of art. She lives in a small village in the Scottish countryside and comes from a big family of bakers.
Speciality: Organisation, her house is 20 minutes away from the nearest shop therefore she always makes sure her larder is fully stocked up with plenty of ingredients so she can bake to her hearts content.
Fun Fact: Her biggest critics are her two younger sisters and she loves to impress them. Surely they can’t be as harsh as Mary and Paul…
He’s already been dubbed as ‘the one with the tattoos and hat’. Stu is a professional musician hailing from Surrey. He’ll be swapping his microphone for a wooden spoon as he tries to win over Mary and Paul. He’s been baking from a young age, and his love for baking was spurred on by watching his parents in their restaurant.
Speciality: Creativity, Stu loves experimenting with different flavour combinations, especially Middle Eastern spices.
Fun Fact: From a young age he was fascinated with the oven and “how something liquid could go in and out would come this fluffed up awesomeness”. Mind-boggling.
Originally from Wales, Paul is a prison governor and so shouldn’t be trifled with. He entered Bake Off to show that men like him can love baking too. A man of many talents, he used to be in the Coldstream Guards, performing duties at Buckingham Palace.
Speciality: Precision, Paul loves to experiment with intricate sugar work and piping.
Fun Fact: Shiny grey hair, well trimmed beard, sharp blue eyes, striking tan…no its not Paul Hollywood, its Welsh Paul. Basically he’s a bit of a Hollywood lookalike.
A baking veteran, she’s been experimenting with different recipes for 40 years and is still learning. Dorret is a self-confessed foodie and regularly visits Michelin star restaurants with her husband for inspiration and ideas. Her family are from the West Indies but she grew up in Preston and works as an accountant.
Speciality: Style, inspired by Michelin star dishes, she dreams of going to the Corden Bleu school in Paris. Dorret knows her stuff when it comes to the culinary greats.
Fun Fact: Dorret loves to dance; she regularly goes tap dancing, ballet classes and salsa nights to work off the calories from all of those cakes.
A trainee anaesthetist working in Manchester, he grew up in Hertfordshire where his older sister taught him how to cook.
Speciality: Show stoppers, Tamal made a five-tier wedding cake for his sister and regularly makes huge cakes for his family and friends.
Fun Facts: When making cakes he likes to inject them with a syringe to check their consistency. I wonder if this is within the Bake Off rules and regulations?
Cambridge born Ian started baking six years ago and has kept it going alongside his job as a travel photographer. His love for baking stemmed from baking bread for his children, as he believes it’s important they have fresh bread everyday.
Speciality: Weird and wonderful, because Ian is a travel photographer he has been all over the globe and loves to incorporate new flavours he discovers into his baking.
Fun Fact: He’s the Dalai Lama’s personal photographer when he visits the UK. True story.
Her family is originally from Bangladesh and she first became interested in baking after asking her father why he only served ice cream for dessert at his restaurant. She began to experiment with baking and has been obsessed for ten years now.
Speciality: Occasions, Nadiya loves impressing her family with beautiful masterpieces at family occasions.
Fun Fact: Her home economics schoolteacher encouraged her to experiment with baking and she never turned back.
Sandy is a child welfare officer and mother of one. She lives near Bradford and describes her baking as homely, it may not look glamourous but it’s all in the taste. Expect some good old fashion homemade cakes with the care and consideration of a loving mother.
Speciality: Surprise, she loves experimenting with her baking and during the process is always changing her mind; “ I can be making a cake and you’ll have a meat pie by the time I’ve finished.”
Fun Fact: She also runs a cookery club and teaches children from deprived backgrounds how to bake on a budget.
Alvin is a nurse, originally from the Philippines and believes that everyone should bake their own bread and cakes. Now he bakes at least four times a week and jots down everything from recipes to techniques so that he can pass all his knowledge onto his two children as they grow up.
Speciality: Perfection, he loves getting his bakes just right. Alvin once baked bread every day for three weeks until he believed he’d got it spot on.
Fun Fact: He is obsessed with baking tins and owns every different size imaginable – much to his wife’s amusement.
Lithuanian Ugne learnt how to bake from her mother and grandmother who used some really unique methods and utensils. She now lives in Essex with her partner and two young children.
Speciality: Eastern European techniques, she likes to incorporate traditional Lithuanian flavours into her bakes to remind her of home.
Fun Fact: She’s also a body builder! And when she’s not lifting weights she works as a PA and administrator.
Her daughter entered her for The Great British Bake Off after she was impressed by her mum’s show-stopping cake decorations. She moved to Paris in her thirties, and is inspired by all the French patisseries.
Speciality: Bread, she is a true traditionalist and loves making bread so her grandchildren can have “proper packed lunches.”
Fun Fact: Her children claim that when they were growing up their mum couldn’t even boil an egg, its safe to say she has progressed quickly.
The new series will begin on 5 August and will be on BBC1 until October.