Leeds’s Great British Bake Off star ‘never imagined’ she’d get to the final

HER impressive creations and down to earth personality - as well as her array of facial expressions - have made Leeds mum Nadiya Hussain a firm favourite with viewers of this year’s Great British Bake Off.

Nadiya Hussain is the favourite to win the Great British Bake Off.

And now, as she heads to this week’s final, she’s favourite to win with the bookies - and the Prime Minister - too.

Nadiya, who is the only contestant from Yorkshire to make the final three, has impressed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood over 27 challenges over the last ten weeks, from pastry to puddings and biscuits to elaborate chocolate creations.

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Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Nadiya, who lives in the Oakwood/Roundhay area, said she was “shocked” to make the final.

Nadiya with fellow finalists Tamal and Ian. Picture: Love Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

In last Wednesday’s episode Scottish baker Flora was sent home, leaving Nadiya, Tamal and Ian to face this week’s final challenges.

Even David Cameron wants her to win. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference on Monday, he said Nadiya was his favourite as “she is so cool under pressure”.

Nadiya said: “I never imagined I would get that far, not in my wildest dreams. I admire all my fellow bakers for all the diversity they bought to the tent. Ian, for his ingenuity. Tamal, for his flavour and Flora for her competence in the kitchen, that girl is fast.”

Nadiya, 30, has perfected her baking skills over the last ten years, after putting her career on hold to concentrate on raising her three children.

Nadiya is now favourite to win. Picture: Love Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

The practice has paid off, and throughout the competition she was crowned ‘star’ baker three times - but she still remembers the disasters.

She said: “My least enjoyable experience had to be when my vol au vents went horribly wrong. I was mortified. One of the best experiences in the tent had to be the Hollywood handshake I got in week nine for my chocolate tart.

“The most difficult challenge had to be the chocolate soufflé, I just got myself into such a flap, that everything just went wrong.

“One of my favourite bakes had to be the arctic role that was perhaps the bake that won me my star baker, so I was really rather proud of that.”

The series was filmed over three months earlier this year at Welford Park in Berkshire. Spending so long with her fellow bakers means the contestants develop quite a rapport.

Nadiya said: “I get on really well with the contestants. We do have a laugh together and speak to each other every day.

“I adore Paul and Mary, but as contestants we don’t get to interact with them massively, but they are lovely.”

Nadiya’s personality has made her a firm favourite with viewers, and her particularly expressive face has also prompted an array of ‘fan art’ and memes on social media.

She now has more than 26,500 followers on Twitter and is enjoying the support she has received so far.

“I absolutely love how the public have responded,” she said. “The support has been amazing.

“As for the facial expressions, I never knew my face did what it does, but I’m just glad the public like my many faces.”The final is screened on BBC One at 8pm on Wednesday.