The Great British Bake Off has just started its search for its seventh champion, but what are the six previous Bake Off champions up to? Find out here
The Great British Bake Off is the reality TV hit of the decade, producing hours of great TV and innumerable plates full of sumptuous creations. It has also made stars of many of its contestants. Here’s what the six previous Bake Off champions are doing…
Bake Off winner 2015 – Nadiya Hussain
At the time of winning The Great British Bake Off (to an audience of 15 million viewers) Nadiya was a full-time mother of three living in Leeds. She impressed the judges with her raspberry-filled mille-feuille and her show-stopping ‘Big Fat Wedding Cake’.
Her father was a chef and owned an Indian restaurant, which explains Nadiya’s confidence in the kitchen.
Since Bake-Off she has written two books: Nadiya’s Kitchen and Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story and has publishing deals for a trilogy of novels. She has appeared on The One Show and guest hosted Loose Women. Buckingham Palace commissioned her to bake the Queen’s 90th Birthday cake – a three-tiered orange drizzle sponge. And she even has her own show – The Chronicles of Nadiya.
Bake Off winner 2014 – Nancy Birtwhistle
Retired GP practice manager and grandmother-of-eight, Nancy Birtwhistle, 61, won Bake Off in 2014 with her passion fruit choux buns, among other fabulous bakes. She has since set up her own cookery blog, written for The Telegraph and baked celebration cakes for Shaun the Sheep’s 20th birthday and EastEnders 30th anniversary.
She is currently finishing her first cookery book, which she describes as a ‘hand-me-down-style’ cookbook, ‘something a mother would give to her daughter’, which requires no obscure ingredients.
Bake Off winner 2013 – Frances Quinn
When Frances Quinn entered Bake Off, the then 31-year-old from Leicestershire was a children’s clothes designer. She won Star Baker in week 7 for her Figgy Roll-y-poly Pudding with caramelised walnut and honey ice, and won the judges favourite-baker-of-the-week accolade four times out of 10.
Since winning the competition in 2013, Frances has gone on to release her first cookbook, Quinntessential Baking, and has her own baking blog. Frances’s commissions have included The Shard’s first anniversary cake, a Quentin Blake Exhibition bake and a birthday cake for Olympic snowborder Zoe Gillings.
If you’ve a birthday coming up, her bakes will cost from £300…
The Great British Bake Off star of 2012 – John Whaite
A law student from Wigan, John Whaite got three ‘least favourite-bake-of-the-week’ strikes, but managed to turn his fortunes around to win series three of The Great British Bake Off. John received Star Baker in the bread-making week and impressed with his showstopper – a Gingerbread Roman Coliseum.
After gaining a first-class degree in law, he decided to pursue a career in catering. He’s published three cookbooks: John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood; John Whaite Bakes at Home and Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients.
He has written articles for The Daily Telegraph, appeared on ITV’s Lorraine and opened his own chocolate shop. He also runs a cookery school from his dairy farm in Lancashire.
Jo Wheatley won the final of Bake Off 2011
Housewife and mother of three from Essex, Jo Wheatley, was a slow starter in series two, but won episode six with her Limoncello Croquembouche (a tower of choux pastry balls to you and me) and steadily progressed to win the Bake Off crown.
Since her 2011 victory she has written two books: A Passion for Baking and Home Baking. She also runs baking classes from her home kitchen and has made several TV appearances, including The Alan Titchmarsh Show (pictured).
Fortunately, for the 42-year-old, news that her husband was serving a lengthy prison sentence for money-laundering came to light after the final!
Edd Kimber – The first Great British Bake Off winner (2010)
The politics graduate/turned debt collector from Yorkshire won the first ever Bake Off in 2010, rising to the surface as a strong contender in episode 3, the bread week. Edd (then 25) went on to make a living from his Bake Off victory.
Describing himself on his award-winning blog as a food writer, TV personality and author. He has published three books: The Boy Who Bakes, Say it With Cake and Patisserie Made Simple… He admits he was rejected by catering college two years before his Bake Off success, but his persistency paid off and since then he’s opened a pop-up bakery in London’s Fortnum & Mason, runs cookery classes in London and is a regular contributor to food magazines.
Who will follow these champions to baking stardom in 2017?