Pastor, PE teacher and engineer compete to be Great British Bake Off champion

A pastor, a PE teacher and an aerospace engineer will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of champion Nadiya Hussain on this year's Great British Bake Off.


Twelve amateur bakers will take part in the BBC One show, where they will compete to earn the approval of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

But Berry, 81, said this year’s contestants had not immediately become friends.

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She said: “They know the standard that it is, which is now pretty high. And I think they were slower to bond this year than they were in the past.”

Entering the Bake Off tent was particularly nerve-wracking for the bakers because of last year’s winner, Nadiya.

“Nadiya went to a whole new level, and because of that I think it put the pressure on them more, and I think we felt that in the tents as well,” Hollywood said.

“But actually they came out tops. They started quite nervously but once they settled down they got into it. Then the baking started to flow and the standard got really really good.”

Andrew, 25, will swap jet engines for jellies and jam doughnuts. Originally from Northern Ireland, he now lives in Derby and works as an aerospace engineer for Rolls-Royce.

The oldest contestant in this year’s line-up will be Lee, a 67-year-old who has worked in various pastoral ministries for the past 30 years - most recently as the pastor of his local church in Bolton.

A former builder, he had a complete change of direction in the mid 1980s, when he turned to theology and took up baking - embracing traditional flavours such as vanilla and chocolate.

One contestant, Jane, will draw on a long family tradition of baking when she presents her creations to Hollywood and Berry.

The 61-year-old garden designer’s grandfather owned a bakery in Hastings, and as a child she watched her father pipe and ice the cakes.

Tom, 26, has managed to shed 30 kg despite his passion for baking. He believes in “moderation” and works for The Royal Society of Arts in London.

Also heading to the tent is this year’s youngest contestant Michael, a 20-year-old from London who is studying politics and economics in Durham.

Despite living in student digs, he enjoys making “big grand cakes” and making Greek pastries inspired by his Cypriot heritage.

The teaching profession will be well-represented, with 23-year-old teaching assistant Benjamina, 66-year-old former primary school head teacher Val, and 31-year-old secondary school PE teacher Candice all showing off their baking skills.

Also joining them in the Bake Off tent will be 46-year-old Welsh hairdresser Louise, 37-year-old nurse Kate from Norfolk, 30-year-old Ghanaian Selasi, who works as a client service associate in a financial institution, and 28-year-old Rav, who helps to support students at City University London.

Bake Off presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will return for more innuendo-laden patter.

* The Great British Bake Off launches on August 24 on BBC One at 8pm.

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