Ms Leith returned to the series on its new berth at Channel Four, following its controversial poaching from the BBC, and said she enjoyed being approached by fans of the programme because she was an “egotist” who likes the attention.
She said: “Now people just say, ‘I love the show, I love Bake Off, and that just makes me feel wonderful.
“But I used to get far more of, ‘I really love Mary Berry! I’ve always loved Mary Berry and I just didn’t want to like you’.”
Ms Leith said she was “amazed” at the mix of people chosen for this year’s series, which includes a blood courier, a civil servant and house and techno DJ and a retired air steward.
Meanwhile, contestants on the new series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing began arriving at their rehearsal studio yesterday.
Those taking part include the former cricketer Graeme Swann, newsreader Kate Silverton, This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh and TV presenter Katie Piper.
The series begins on September 8.