The Great British Bake Off Champions: What are the past winners doing now?

Whoever wins the Great British Bake Off 2016 will join a select club of past champions, many of whom have forged successful careers in baking.

Nadiya Hussain. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Nadiya Hussain. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

From cookery schools to cookbooks to TV appearances, here is what has happened to the winners of the first six series:

• Edd Kimber

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The Great British Bake Off’s first-ever winner made the most of his 2010 victory, quitting the debt collecting job he detested to become a full-time food writer. He has published three books including Patisserie Made Simple and The Boy Who Bakes, and has appeared as resident baker on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Winners of The Great British Bake Off (left to right) Frances Quinn, Joanne Wheatley, John Whaite and Edd Kimber.

Kimber takes his responsibility as a Bake Off winner seriously, reaching out to the bakers who have followed in his wake, including Frances Quinn and John Whaite, to provide help and advice about what do next.

Only two million people tuned in to watch Kimber bake his way to victory, a paltry figure compared to the 15 million who watched the 2015 final. The Bake Off tent had also yet to settle into one permanent home.

“Our series was the only one to travel around the country, and we were lucky to film in some wonderful places.” Kimber recalled.

“My favourite happened to be the semi-final in Mousehole in Cornwall, a stunning little fishing town on the coast. The tent was pitched on the side of the harbour and it was just idyllic.”

Winners of The Great British Bake Off (left to right) Frances Quinn, Joanne Wheatley, John Whaite and Edd Kimber.

• Jo Wheatley

Wheatley has been able to capitalise on her “life-changing” victory in the second series, bringing out cookery books A Passion For Baking and Home Baking, and setting up a cookery school at her home in Essex.

The mum-of-three said: “I absolutely loved my time in the tent and as the weeks passed, my confidence grew and grew, although I never dared believe I’d win. I was genuinely shocked when they called my name, although my boys soon brought me back down to earth when they said, ‘That was good mum, what’s for dinner?’”

Wheatley is now on the cusp of another big change, with plans to open a country pub, restaurant and cafe in Cambridgeshire.

“My dream is to create a friendly, cosy environment with home-made food, and a roaring fire in winter, and beautiful outdoor space in summer,” she revealed.

• John Whaite

Fans of 2012’s winner can tune in to ITV’s Lorraine, where he is a familiar face and the show’s resident chef.

Aside from his TV gig, the Great British Bake Off has led to career as a successful food writer, with cookery books including John Whaite Bakes, John Whaite Bakes At Home and Perfect Plates In Five Ingredients.

In January, the baker opened a cookery school on the family farm where he grew up in Lancashire, called John Whaite’s Kitchen.

He explained: “It took two years and was a labour of love which involved all my family, but we’re extremely proud of it and I love teaching.”

• Frances Quinn

With a flair for design, Quinn triumphed over amateur bakers including Ruby Tandoh and Kimberley Wilson in 2013.

She has continued to share clever bakes on her blog, including her spare change Olympic medal biscuits and a hot dog cake, and brought out the amusingly-titled cookbook Quinntessential Baking.

“From creating The Shard out of gingerbread, sculpting Barbara Hepworth-inspired shortbread to producing bakes for everyone from Quentin Blake to Steve Coogan, no bake or week is the same,” she said.

“I have a habit of seeing everything as food and get inspired both in and out of the kitchen, whether it’s an exhibition at The Tate or a musician’s new album.”

• Nancy Birtwhistle

The 2014 edition of the Great British Bake Off featured some of the show’s most memorable personalities, with Birtwhistle triumphing over finalists Richard Burr and Luis Troyano.

The retired grandmother-of-eight has not forged a new career in baking, but she shares recipes on her blog and has taken part in food and cookery tours across the UK, also campaigning for anti-food-waste charity Love Food Hate Waste.

• Nadiya Hussain

The reigning champion and breakout Bake Off star famously made Mary Berry cry during the emotional 2015 final.

She has released her first cookbook, Nadiya’s Kitchen, and has a children’s book titled Nadiya’s Bake Me A Story on the way.

Hussain has made a number of appearances on Loose Women, is a columnist for The Times and Essentials magazine, has filmed a TV series tracing her roots in Bangladesh and appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. She will also judge CBBC series Junior Bake Off.

The mother-of-three said: “I’ve been busy and having a lot of fun since winning, with some fantastic opportunities. My children say I’m living my dreams.”

Winning the show has led to many unexpected experiences, not least “the privilege of making the Queen’s 90th birthday cake”, she said.

• The Great British Bake Off returns to BBC One on August 24 at 8pm.