Though the world dramatically changed last year, the Great British Baking Show (opens in new tab) soldiered on, offering some comfort television for the weary soul. Now the reality series is back for another season of show-stopping bakes and wholesome competition among its cast of home bakers. The production returned to its pandemic bubble earlier this year, where the bakers produced intricate breads, pastries, and desserts under the watchful eye of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. With the 2021 season of Baking Show premiering this Friday, September 24, for those of us in the U.S., it's time to learn more about this year's hopefuls for Star Baker.
Amanda is a retired Scotland Yard detective and swimming enthusiast who learned to bake as a child from her mother and paternal aunt. She infuses her Greek-Cypriot heritage into her bakes, using Greek and Middle Eastern influences. She also channels her prior career in graphic design and advertising into her cakes, painting them with feminine designs inspired by her two daughters.
Sales manager Chirag, a.k.a. Chiggs, is a new baker who just got into baking during the 2020 lockdowns. He learned fast, teaching himself to make complex bakes and chocolate work through online videos. He also enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, skydiving and mountain climbing, and has his sights set on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Crystelle is a client relationship manager who began baking seriously three years ago. She loves to travel with friends, and she always pics which restaurants and bakeries to check out in each new city. She also regularly uses spices from the places she’s visited into her bakes, in addition to leading with her Portuguese-Goan heritage when choosing flavors. In her spare time she loves to sing karaoke and with her online choir.
Psychology student has wanted to join the Baking Show since its first season, when she first saw the tent in Bakewell at age 9. She lives at home in North Yorkshire during school so she can continue to take care of her horse, Winnie. The vegan baker began making plant-based versions of classic bakes for her dad a year ago, and her goal is to bake so well that no one can tell that they're vegan.
George lives in London with his childhood sweetheart, three kids, and a bunch of animals, including his fluffy Japanese Spitz, Eli. His mom taught him to bake classic Greek-Cypriot recipes, and now he's passing them down to his children. His baking strength is a great eye from detail, as well as using herbs from his garden to give his bakes a vintage vibe.
Originally from Italy, the engineer now lives in Bristol with his wife and three sons. He learned to bake from his father, a professional chef who did all the cooking and made a cake every Sunday when Giuseppe was a child. He also loves using Italian flavors in his bakes, and considers himself a food snob, who feeds his kids homemade candy and desserts instead of the mass-produced stuff.
Head of finance Jairzeno was born in Trinidad & Tobago and moved to the UK fifteen years ago. He started baking in 2014, and he's obsessed with getting perfect flavor combinations and using Caribbean spices in his bakes. He's also a half-marathon runner who did the London Marathon in 2012, and he loves going on walks with his partner, where he gets looks to nature for baking inspiration.
The IT professional is originally from the Black Forest of German. After failing to find traditional German bread in the UK, where he moved in 2003, he began baking his own and never stopped. He loves to make Jewish challah bread and celebration cakes for his friends and family, and he makes literal calculations for super precise bakes. He also loves playing the trombone, which his son also plays.
Elizabeth, a.k.a. Lizzie, lives with her partner and her dog, Prudence, in an annex in her parents' backyard in Liverpool. As a baker, she prefers simple presentation and great flavor over precision, which matches her outwardly frantic but internally calm disposition. When she isn't baking, she loves dancing and investigating the lives of serial killers, a hobby she took up while studying criminology.
Maggie is a retired nurse and midwife, who believes that the excitement of delivering a baby is great preparation for entering the baking competition. She grew up surrounded by family who always cooked and baked, and she has a large collection of classic recipe books that she uses to recreate traditional bakes with new flavors. When she's not baking, she loves canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and traveling her campervan.
HR professional Rochica is a lifelong dancer who became interested in baking when an injury sidelined her. She has a large Jamaican family on both sides and infuses her heritage into her bakes. She says she feels especially proud when her grandmother and aunts tell her that her bake reminds them of a treat they ate growing up. Although she's started dancing again, she still finds time to bake biscuits for her baby nephew and birthday cakes for her niece.
Tom works in his family's business as a software developer. Though he remembers being the only boy in his grade school's baking club, he really got into baking four years ago after he made his dad a sticky toffee pudding cake. He likes to make fun bakes that follow a general theme, and his mom calls him a "midnight baker." He's also a runner who loves amateur acting and singing.
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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