The Great British Bake Off returned to screens on Tuesday (21 September) night with another batch of amateur bakers.
Judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith, and presenters Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding, will be back in the show’s famous tent for another series of signature, technical and showstopper bakes.
Twelve new contestants – including a Metropolitan Police detective, a retired nurse and an IT professional – will be competing for the title of star baker.
The 11th series, which aired in late 2020, saw cast and crew move into Down Hall Hotel near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, throughout the duration of filming, after being tested for the virus and self-isolating.
Peter Sawkins, an accounting and finance student from Edinburgh, was crowned the show’s youngest ever winner at 20.
He was also the first winner from Scotland in the show’s decade-long history.
The programme also saw its biggest-ever final on Channel 4, attracting a record average audience of 9.2 million viewers and a 39.7% share of the audience.
But who will be stepping into the famous tent as part of this year’s edition?
Here is everything you need to know about the latest batch of Bake Off contestants.
Who is in the Great British Bake Off 2021?
Amanda, 56, is a Met Police Detective who was raised in London. She studied graphic design at college and worked in advertising before deciding to train as a detective with the Metropolitan Police.
When she was younger, she baked with her mother and learned about Greek baking from her aunt. Her baking style is influenced by Greek and Middle Eastern flavours.
Chigs, 40, is a sales manager from Leicestershire who only began his baking journey at the start of lockdown in 2020. He was able to teach himself how to bake through the use of online tutorials.
He is described as a thrill seeker who loves high-octane activities like bouldering, skydiving and trekking. After completing the Three Peaks Challenge in Yorkshire, he currently has his sights set on conquering Kilimanjaro.
Crystelle, 26, is a client relationship manager from London, whose diverse heritage influences the flavours of her baking. She is quadrilingual and was born to Kenyan and Portuguese-Goan parents.
She started baking three years ago, and loves using spices from the places she’s visited into her bakes. She says that “a fougasse infused with turmeric, curry powder and spring onion is a firm favourite”.
Freya, 19, is a student from North Yorkshire who has been dreaming of getting on Bake Off since the very first season. She is currently studying for a psychology degree and lives with her parents.
A year ago, Freya began making vegan versions of classic bakes for her dad, and now it’s her goal to bake treats that no one can tell are actually vegan.
George, 34, is a shared lives coordinator from London, who grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family. He is married with three children and a house full of pets, including his dancing Japanese Spitz called Eli.
He loves making Greek classics and was taught to bake by his mum. When he isn’t baking, George loves being in the great outdoors with his family, going on bike rides and walks.
Giuseppe, 45, is a chief engineer, originally from Italy but now lives in Bristol with his wife and three young sons. His father was a professional chef which is where his love of baking comes from.
Described as a “self-confessed food snob”, he is determined to give his kids only homemade treats and nothing that’s been mass-produced. When not baking, he loves to garden.
Jairzeno, 51, works as head of finance in London, and was originally born in Trinidad. He started baking in 2014 and says that “baking is like breathing!”. He loves using lots of Caribbean spices in his bakes.
Across Europe, Jairzeno has completed multiple half marathons, and in 2012 ran the London Marathon as well. When not baking or running, he can be found with his partner going on walks.
Jürgen, 56, originally from the Black Forest in Germany, is now an IT professional in Sussex. He moved to the UK in 2003 and lives with his wife and son. Unable to find traditional German bread, Jürgen decided to make his own and from there his love of baking has grown ever since.
Jürgen is well known for his Jewish challah bread, and approaches baking like a physicist - making calculations to ensure precision and perfect results
Lizzie, 28, is a car production operative from Liverpool who lives with her partner and their dog, Prudence, in an annex in her parents garden. She prefers simple presentation and believes that flavour should be the top priority over precision.
She loves experimenting with flavours, and when she’s not baking, Lizzie can be found on the dance floor doing the samba - or investigating the lives of serial killers, a fascination which she developed during her criminology degree.
Maggie, 70, is a retired nurse and midwife from Dorset, and found that baking came to her quite naturally as she grew up in a family who were constantly cooking and baking. Maggie is the owner of an impressive collection of classic recipe books, and loves to recreate traditional bakes.
Her favourite thing to bake is bread, and when she’s not baking, she can be found canoeing, kayaking or sailing.
Rochica, 27, is a junior HR business partner in Birmingham. With a big Jamaican family on both sides, Rochica loves to bake in a way that represents her Caribbean heritage. Her love of baking was discovered after she was left unable to dance due to an injury.
While she has started dancing again, the love of baking remains steadfast, and she still finds plenty of time and reasons to bake.
Evicted week one
Tom, 28, is a software developer from Kent, and although he remembers being the only boy in his primary school baking club, he only discovered a real passion for baking just four years ago.
He says that he loves to take the foundations of a recipe and truly make it his own, making bakes that are fun and usually follow a theme.
When is the Great British Bake Off on this year?
The newest season of the Great British Bake Off kicked off on Tuesday 21 September.
It will air at 8pm on Channel 4, and will be available to watch on demand through All4 if you miss it live.
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