The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens on Tuesday, September 26, bringing a 14th series of sugar-coated creativity from the tent.
Over 10 weekly episodes, we will become enamoured with the competition’s personalities, find inspiration in new techniques and cheer on our favourites in each week’s knockout final.
But who do you remember from the past 13 years? While some Bake Off champions have capitalised on their appearance to launch a culinary career – most notably Nadiya Hussain, who won in 2015 and has become a household name and a regular face on primetime television – others have since hung up their aprons, returning variously to their fields of academia, branching out into eco-friendly advice guides, or simply living the good life abroad.
Here, we serve up a slice of life from all the Bake Off winners, dating back to the programme’s humble beginnings in 2010.
The cardiovascular-research associate, who works at King’s College, London, won the Star Baker accolade three times in a row during last year’s show. Syabira was the first Malaysian winner of the show and brought the flavours and baking techniques of her native country to the Bake Off tent. She attributed her culinary skills in part to her background in science, looking at baking through the lens of a chemical reaction that takes place between different ingredients.
Since taking the crown, Syabira continues to bake alongside doing her lab work. But having started out on her baking journey to manage stress at work, she has vowed to keep it as a hobby, rather than a job.
Before his baking adventures, Giuseppe was chief engineer at the National Composites Centre, in Bristol. Like Syabira, he was quick to build his STEM skills into baking, constructing intricate designs during the 12th series, and afterwards building a fully-functioning and edible clock in celebration of National Engineering Day with former Bake Off contestants.
Originally from Italy, the Bristol-based chef and author published his debut cookbook last year (Amazon’s fastest-selling book), Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes. Now a full-time baker, you’ll find him popping up on television, at food festivals and in magazine columns. The 2021 winner recently announced a partnership with the Italian deli Salvi’s, in Manchester, where he will be offering pastry masterclasses on November 12. His new book, Giuseppe’s Easy Bakes, is out in October.
Peter became Bake Off’s youngest winner when he was crowned champion in series 11, and was the first Scot to take the crown. Honouring his country in the custard-slice round, he baked a cranachan-inspired take on the dessert.
The 23-year-old has since graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in accounting and finance, created a cake range for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and published two cookbooks.
His latest, Peter’s Baking Party: Fun & Tasty Recipes for Future Baking Stars!, takes a communal approach to cooking, teaching children how to create simple bakes for their family and friends. Peter’s baking journey began at a young age, too; he has said that the first series of GBBO, which aired 10 years before he entered the tent, was his inspiration.
The only finalist to produce a serviceable soufflé in series 10 while others around him were reduced to tears, David is now one half of the podcasting duo Sticky Bun Boys, with fellow series 10 contestant Michael Chakraverty. He has also published a series of cookbooks for children and is a food writer and presenter.
His 2021 release, Good to Eat, is a collection of nourishing recipes with a healthy twist, designed, as he puts it, to make you feel good and never diet again. With a master’s degree in public health, David has been able to hone his knowledge and confidently link good food to good health.
He has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, and his latest children’s title, My First Christmas Cook Book, was published earlier this month.
Rahul made Bake Off history when he received the first ever “Hollywood handshake” for a showstopper creation, before going on to win the 2018 series.
His background is far from culinary. Born in India, he came to the UK to study for a PhD in optical metrology, before joining the University of Sheffield as a research associate. After winning the ninth season with his edible rock garden, he returned to work at the university’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
Rahul, who also has an undergraduate degree in electronics and communication engineering, is currently responsible for checking the safety and cleanliness of nuclear components to prevent failure.
Incredibly, he still finds time to post bakes to his 412,000 followers on Instagram.
Sophie impressed the judges in the final with her springy bread, perfectly textured biscuits and elegant, four-layer “Ode to the Honey Bee” entremet. The revelation of her win was gazumped by – of all people – Prue Leith, when she accidentally tweeted the result early.
Before Bake Off, Sophie served in the Army as a Royal Artillery officer. In 2017, it was falsely reported that she was returning to a front-line role. She said the reports misinterpreted her role as a “reservist”, which sees her train regularly with other members.
She set up a bespoke cake company, Sophie Faldo Couture Cakes, after the show ended, but has recently kept out of the media limelight.
Candice’s flawless lipstick was as talked about as her bakes, but in the final, it was her edible crown that gained her the Hollywood handshake.
A recipe column, multiple cookbooks, and appearances on Dancing on Ice and Celebrity Mastermind followed Candice’s win in series seven. She continues to develop recipes and co-owns the Green Man pub, in Eversholt, with her brother (fitting when you recall her creation in the show of a gingerbread pub complete with sticky carpet), designing the desserts for the menu.
Candice recently spoke out about series 14, sharing that viewers may be likely to “switch off” if the show deviates too far from the traditional format.
Nadiya Hussain was instantly loved for her authenticity and candid facial expressions, not to mention her “levitating” cheesecake, which impressed the judges.
Arguably the most famous of Bake Off’s champions, Nadiya has presented a plethora of TV cookery shows, hosted the short-lived Big Family Cooking Showdown, published 18 books (Nadiya’s Simple Spices came out this month), and has collaborated on product ranges from shoes to bakeware. She was awarded an MBE in 2020 for services to broadcasting and the culinary arts.
Throughout her career post-Bake Off, Nadiya has been vocal about her experience with anxiety and panic disorder, praising the highs and lows of the show for helping her find confidence and teach her tenacity.
Inside the tent, Nancy became synonymous with the phrase “trust the process” when she raised eyebrows by microwaving her dough to prove it. Although Paul Hollywood explained that this technique destroyed the protein structures in the bread, he was still a fan.
The grandmother of nine won series five having originally been unsuccessful in applying for series four. Alongside cookbook writing and cookery demos, Nancy has built a huge social media following as a “kitchen agony aunt”, as she puts it, for her tips on cooking, cleaning and life.
Nancy, who was born and raised in Hull, is set to release her fourth book, The Green Budget Guide: 101 Planet and Money Saving Tips, Ideas and Recipes, in the new year. Her inspiration to teach inexpensive eco-friendly life hacks comes from her passion to protect the planet’s future for her grandchildren.
A textile designer before she won the fourth series with her three-tiered Midsummer Night’s Dream cake, Frances has made a name for herself with intricate baking concepts – everything from bourbon biscuits in cake form to a record-breaking jaffa cake that weighed more than 80kg (12 stone). She says that both design and baking are the driving forces behind her creations.
A self-proclaimed “quinntessential” designer baker, Frances is the author of Quinntessential Baking, which was released a couple of years after her victory and acclaimed by Heston Blumenthal as capturing the “fun and magic of baking”.
Despite his now-infamous salt and sugar mix-up, and slicing his finger open mid-strudel-making, John went on to win the show.
John was a 23-year-old law student at the University of Manchester when he won series three of Bake Off. He pursued a career in food afterwards, taking up a residency as chef on the breakfast show Lorraine, as well as making guest appearances on Sunday Brunch and This Morning. His book, A Flash in the Pan, was published in 2019 and features recipes that can be made from just cooking on a stove top.
In 2021, John joined the Strictly Come Dancing cast. He and his professional partner, Johannes Radebe, were the show’s first same-sex couple.
He has since opened a cookery school in Lancashire.
Jo was an all-rounder in the tent, emerging as a serious contender in week six when she won Star Baker and came first in the technical challenge for her chocolate roulade.
The full-time housewife and mother of three published two bestselling cookbooks, A Passion for Baking and Home Baking, after the second season aired. She also took on a recipe column for Sainsbury’s Magazine.
She is now enjoying her retirement in Lisbon, with her husband and two dogs, Otis and Olive. She writes a blog with tips for living in the Portuguese city, alongside recommendations for visitors.
The very first winner of The Great British Bake Off was debt-collector Edd Kimber, hailing from Bradford.
Edd impressed the judges in the bread-making challenges, earning the showstopper title with his tomato and mozzarella creation.
After winning, he branded himself The Boy Who Bakes and he is now the author of six cookbooks and an award-winning blog. He has been a regular face on television cookery shows over the years (including a stint as resident baker on The Alan Titchmarsh Show) and is also the host of the podcast Stir the Pot, in which he interviews chefs and prominent food lovers.