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Great British Bake Off 2017: meet the contestants

Great British Bake Off 2017: meet the contestants

by Great British Chefs 22 August 2017

As Bake Off heads into unchartered waters on Channel 4, this year’s batch of contestants are said to be the best yet. Here are the twelve hopefuls looking to prove their baking prowess.

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As Bake Off returns to our screens (Tuesday 29 August at 8pm, in case you were wondering), there are lots of questions that need answers. How different will the format be? Do the hosts and judges have that same sparkle? Are the soggy bottoms and other innuendos going to continue? There’s a lot riding on the first episode but, as we all know, the show wouldn’t have been a success in the first place if it wasn’t for the amazing bakers.

Here’s this year’s line-up.

Kate, 29, Merseyside


Kate lives in Merseyside and works as a health and safety inspector. She's got lots of hobbies including blacksmithing, furniture restoration, yoga and outdoor pursuits. Kate also utilises old-fashioned techniques for baking, such as using smoked flour for sourdough bread and recreating recipes such as a Dockers Wedding Cake. Kate is predominately self-taught, and started to bake about two years ago when she began growing her own vegetables, became more interested where food came from and started using local produce.

Peter, 52, Essex


IT programme manager Peter lives in Essex with his wife Tito and two children Temi and Toni. Born in Brixton, South London, Peter moved to Nigeria with his parents when he was seven years old. There, he continued his education and eventually moved back to the UK when he was twenty-four. Peter started baking eight years ago after feeling unwell, which he put down to eating shop-bought bread; he started making his own and has never looked back. Peter prides himself on making the best macarons, based on a Pierre Hermes recipe. He also has a variety of hobbies such as running on the beach, badminton, spinning and chess.

Julia, 21, West Sussex


Originally from Kemerovo, Siberia, Julia met her British husband Matt on holiday in Turkey when she was seventeen. She taught herself to bake from a young age, but would have to save up money from her after school job to buy the ingredients. After moving to the UK, Julia dreamed of applying for The Great British Bake Off and spent three years practising and studying British bakes in particular, so she would have the knowledge and skills she needed.

Chris, 50, Bristol


Chris is originally from Sussex but now lives in Bristol with his wife Catherine, where he works as a software developer. Chris admits he is obsessed with the science behind baking and is constantly developing healthy but unusual flavour combinations. As a cancer survivor, he is passionate about helping and inspiring other patients touched by the disease. His other hobbies include sailing, travelling, writing and visiting bakeries.

Flo, 71, Merseyside


Flo was raised alongside her eleven siblings in the industrial town of Huyton, Liverpool. After meeting her late husband Richard at the age of twenty-one whilst working at the sausage factory, Flo started to bake delicious treats for their three young children. When her husband died two years ago, her son Stephen encouraged Flo to start baking again to help her deal with the grief and she likes to help her son out by baking for his restaurant. Today, when she’s not singing karaoke or having a boogie with her friends, Flo prides herself on being a homely, traditional baker and loves nothing more than baking for her family to keep them happy, healthy and together. Flo is retired and is the show’s eldest amateur baker to take part in the series to date.

Steven, 34, Hertfordshire


Steven comes from a family of strong baking women, and describes baking as being in his blood after his mum, Judi, taught him the basics twenty-five years ago. When he finally had a kitchen of his own, Steven started to take it more seriously and now cooks and bakes everything he eats – losing five stone in the process. Steven has a background in marketing and a passionate love of travel, but it’s baking that consumes all areas of his life; preferring cookbooks to novels, he is more likely to be found on the tube digesting new recipes than dipping into the morning newspapers. Steven likes to update classic recipes from his mum’s old cookbooks with modern ingredients to satisfy the modern palate.

Chuen-Yan Yan, 46, North London


Yan lives in North London with her wife, Marian, cat Kacey and a sourdough starter called ‘Muvver’. She was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK when she was two with her parents and brother Ken. Yan eventually trained as a biomedical scientist and now works for The Francis Crick Institute. Growing up in a Chinese household meant Yan’s family would steam rather than bake and used their oven as storage space. Yan began to take baking more seriously ten years ago when she found herself in between twenty-four-hour shifts, working as a molecular biologist for the NHS.

James, 46, Essex


James lives in Essex with his wife Ann, two sons Oliver and Ethan and three chickens (Sparkles, Superman and Jeff). He describes himself as a bald baking banker from Brentwood with a bad back. Always keen to embark on a challenge, he also trained as a port diver for the Royal Navy Reserves, where it was his job to keep the ports clear during the Cold War. When he’s not banking in Canary Wharf, James loves to spend his free time in the fresh air at his allotment, growing fruit and vegetables to incorporate into his bakes. His main baking influence is his father, Brian, who first taught him to bake over 40 years ago.

Sophie, 33, Surrey


Sophie grew up in Suffolk and now lives in Surrey with her boyfriend David and cat Loki. After graduating with a Masters in Psychology at The University of Toulouse, Sophie went on to join the British Army as an officer in the Royal Artillery. After leaving the army mess behind her, Sophie finally had her own kitchen, and after volunteering to make a friend’s birthday cake, she discovered a natural talent for baking and patisserie. When not baking, Sophie enjoys track cycling and rowing, teaching military boot camps and is also training to be a stuntwoman.

Tom, 29, Edinburgh


Architect Tom lives in Edinburgh with his partner David. Baking has always been a huge part of family life for him and his siblings, who were taught to bake by his mother June, a home economics teacher. As a true Scot, Tom can often be found making fresh shortbread to welcome friends and family into his home. When he’s not baking he loves rugby, triathlons, marathons, skiing, horse riding, fresh water swimming and hiking as well as writing and photography.

Stacey, 42, Hertfordshire


Ex-school teacher Stacey lives with her husband James and their three young sons in Hertfordshire. She has fond memories of helping her grandmother Phyllis making bread and butter pudding when she was a little girl, but it was during university days where she really started to bake seriously. Stacey likes to incorporate her Jewish heritage into her baking, with a traditional homemade challah with every Friday night dinner. As a self-confessed perfectionist, absolutely nothing leaves Stacey’s kitchen unless she is totally satisfied with it.

Liam, 19, North London


Student Liam was born in Hackney, North London, and is fondly known as ‘Cake Boy’ amongst his university friends. Having only baked for four years, he already has a vast repertoire of recipes under his belt. Liam strongly believes that baking is a universal language that can bring people together from all walks of life, and one of his main ambitions is to make baking acceptable amongst his peers and the younger generation. This begins at home, where Liam regularly bakes with his young nephews.

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