THE GREAT GLOBAL BAKE-OFF
With inspiration ranging from Germany to Jamaica, this year it’s:
NERVOUS smiles, freshlypressed aprons and a burning desire to rise to the challenge. Behold the Great British Bake Off’s line-up for 2021.
And this year, while the competition will be as fierce as ever, there will be a distinctly international flavour to proceedings – as more than half the bakers will draw on their diverse heritage in their creations.
Seven of the 12 contestants this year were born outside the UK or born to migrant parents in the UK and claim their bakes are inspired by their families’ backgrounds.
This year’s line-up has an average age of 40 – slightly higher than previous years. The oldest contestant is 70-yearold retired nurse and midwife Maggie and the youngest is student Freya, 19.
Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas return to Channel 4’s baking show.
For a second year, the pandemic has affected production. Filming took place from the end of May until early July, with everyone staying in a hotel, isolating and being tested before entering bubbles.
On Thursday, The Great British Bake Off received a National Television Award for best Challenge show. It starts next Tuesday at 8pm, but below we get a taste of what the contestants have to offer...
AMANDA: 56, A MET POLICE DETECTIVE FROM LONDON
Raised in London with Greek-Cypriot heritage, the mother of two’s bakes are heavily influenced by Greece and the Middle East, having learned to bake with her mother and paternal aunt.
CHIGS: 40, A SALES MANAGER FROM LEICESTERSHIRE
Chigs took up baking at the start of lockdown in 2020 – teaching himself complex techniques by carefully studying online videos.
CRYSTELLE: 26, A CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGER FROM LONDON
Quadrilingual Crystelle is a baker who brings her wonderfully diverse heritage – born in northwest London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents – to the flavours in her baking.
FREYA: 19, A PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT FROM NORTH YORKSHIRE
Freya has wanted to enter Bake Off since the first series, when she was nine and saw the tent in Bakewell. She likes to create plantbased bakes.
GEORGE: 34, CARE CO-ORDINATOR FROM LONDON
George grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family where food was always a big part of life. His mother taught him to bake all the Greek classics, a legacy he’s now passing on to his three children.
GIUSEPPE: 45, A CHIEF ENGINEER FROM BRISTOL
Originally from Italy, Giuseppe lives in Bristol with his wife and their three young sons. He was inspired to bake by his father, a professional chef, and loves using Italian flavours.
JAIRZENO: 51, HEAD OF FINANCE FROM LONDON
Trinidadian-born Jairzeno says ‘baking is like breathing’. He loves using lots of Caribbean spices in his bakes. When he’s not baking he loves running.
JURGEN: 56, AN IT PROFESSIONAL FROM SUSSEX
Originally from the Black Forest in Germany, Jurgen moved to the UK in 2003. Unable to find traditional German bread here, he decided to bake his own – and his passion has grown ever since.
LIZZIE: 28, A CAR PRODUCTION OPERATIVE FROM LIVERPOOL
Lizzie lives with her dog Prudence in an annex in her parents’ garden and her baking comfort zone is cake. Meanwhile, in her spare time, she loves dancing.
MAGGIE: 70, A RETIRED NURSE AND MIDWIFE FROM DORSET
Maggie has an impressive collection of classic recipe books and loves recreating traditional British bakes. She considers bread to be her spciality.
ROCHICA: 27, A JUNIOR HR BUSINESS PARTNER FROM BIRMINGHAM
With a big Jamaican family on both sides, Rochica bakes in a way that reflects her Caribbean heritage. Rochica’s interest in baking developed when she was left unable to dance following an injury.
TOM: 28, A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER FROM KENT
Tom’s mother has dubbed him the ‘midnight baker’ – as before he moved out of the family home she would regularly wake up to a sweet treat… offset by a less tasty pile of washing up!