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Great British Bake Off’s Most Successful Past Contestants

Great British Bake Off’s Most Successful Past Contestants

It’s almost time for another series of Great British Bake Off and to get you in the mood we’re taking a look at the 10 most successful contestants to have appeared on the hit Channel 4 TV show and what they have been up to since their time in the tent.

A new batch of contestants is set to be announced for the 14th series of Bake Off, which begins on Tuesday 26th September 2023, and they will all be aspiring to emulate the success of our top 10 previous contestants, some of whom are now household names in the UK.

The show has become one of the most anticipated annual TV events as keen bakers and food lovers alike eagerly watch to see who can win the approval of judges Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and Noel Fielding, and this year they are joined by This Morning host Alison Hammond, who is replacing Matt Lucas on GBBO’s panel of taste testers.

Last year’s Bake Off was won by Cardiovascular Research Associate Dr Syabira Yusoff, who won high praise from the judges for her adventurous flavour palettes and imaginative Malaysia-inspired bakes. Since winning the show she has continued her work in the lab, but admits she would like to produce a cookbook one day.

As 12 new amateur bakers get ready to face off in this year’s show, let’s take a look back at those who set the bar for Bake Off success in the last 12 years.

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1. Nadiya Hussain

From being star baker to making the Queen’s birthday cake, Nadiya Hussain’s journey since winning GBBO in 2015 has been extraordinary. Still only 38 years old, Nadiya has published 14 cookbooks and made hundreds of television appearances in the last eight years, forging her own brand as a chef, television presenter and food writer.

1 Nadiya Hussain
Image source: https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/reality-tv/a804087/great-british-bake-off-winner-nadiya-hussain-is-going-to-judge-the-kids-version/
Image credit: BBC

Shows like Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and Nadiya’s Family Favourites have cemented her place in the nation’s heart, and her status as a national treasure was confirmed when she was invited to bake a cake for Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday celebrations. She was later made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to broadcasting and the culinary arts. If anyone competing on this year’s Bake Off is wondering how high the bar for success on the show is set, they only have to look at Nadiya’s remarkable achievements to find out.

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2. John Whaite

John Whaite was just 23 when he dropped out of college to appear on Great British Bake Off in 2012, a decision that directly led to him becoming an acclaimed chef, television presenter and author who is now known for his impressive dance moves as well as his fondant fancies and his heaven and hell chiffon cake.

2. John Whaite
Image source: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/great-british-bake-former-winner-10269523
Image credit: Paul Winch-Furness

After winning the third series of Bake Off, John landed himself a residency as a chef on Lorraine for three years from 2013 to 2016, and he has authored four cooking books. He also opened a cooking school on his family’s farm in Wrightington, Lancashire, called John Whaite’s Kitchen, before bursting back into the spotlight in 2021 when he partnered with pro dancer and choreographer Johannes Radebe in the first ever male same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing. Not bad for a guy who is still only 34!

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3. Candice Brown

Nadiya Hussain was a hard act to follow, but Candice Brown rose to the challenge in 2016 by winning Great British Bake Off in the year after Nadiya’s success and then by emulating her ascent into the food and entertainment industries. With 266,000 followers on Instagram, two cookbooks and her very own pub to her name, Candice has been incredibly busy since she won GBBO and quit her job as a PE teacher to focus on cooking full-time.

3. Candice Brown
Image source: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/entertainment/a22198599/love-island-stephanie-lam-candice-brown-bake-off-teacher/
Image credit: BBC

Cooking and writing jobs on television have been in constant supply for Candice, who has appeared on Loose Women and Dancing on Ice, as well as being a food columnist for the Sunday Times. Speaking about her motivation to appear on Bake Off, Candice told the Sunday Post: “For me, baking was just something I loved and did to clear my head. It was my way of coping. I just adored Bake Off and always loved the idea of taking part.”

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4. Edd Kimber

Back in 2010, nobody could have predicted the vast popularity that a brand new television show called The Great British Bake Off would garner not just in the United Kingdom, but all around the world. That first series was won by Edd Kimber, who pursued his love for baking and cooking wholeheartedly after achieving small screen success, leaving his job as a debt collector for a bank and going on to publish six cookbooks, entitled Say It With Cake, The Boy Who Bakes, Patisserie Made Simple, One Tin Bakes, Small Batch Bakes and Bars and Buns for One to Six People.

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Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/simonkimber/5014634534
Image credit: Simon Kimber

Edd’s success on GBBO was seen as a surprise back in 2010 when the idea of men being brilliant cake makers was less commonly held, but Edd, who was rejected by his local catering college before he found fame, has helped to shift perceptions and done very well for himself in the process.

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5. Kim-Joy Hewlett

Known as the queen of cuteness for her custard-filled steamed turtle buns, panda cakes and cat cookies, Kim-Joy Hewlett did not quite manage to win the Great British Bake Off in 2018 but she certainly won over a lot of the audience with her enticingly whimsical bakes and her calm, self-effacing demeanour.

She was a psychological wellbeing practitioner before she went on GBBO but now has an ambition to combine baking with working in mental health, having written three successful cookbooks and remained a firm favourite among Bake Off fans, particularly the younger elements of the audience who love her animal-inspired creations. She has worked as a baking columnist for The Guardian and appeared in The Great New Year Bake Off in January 2022, beating other former GBBO contestants to win the special show. Despite not being a Bake Off series winner, Kim-Joy will always hold a special place in the hearts of fans.

5. Kim-Joy Hewlett
Image source: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/dartford/news/meet-kim-joy-from-bake-off-211118/
Image credit: Channel 4
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6. Ruby Tandoh

Another Bake Off runner-up with a unique personality that has shone through in her cookbooks and cooking columns is Ruby Tandoh, who appeared in series four of the Great British Bake Off back in 2013. Aged just 20 when she appeared on the show, Ruby was the youngest competitor in the series at the time, and she won through to an all-women final along with Frances Quinn and Kimberley Wilson.

While Frances was the eventual series winner with her cake inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ruby Tandoh launched a food writing career on the back of her performance and set herself apart from her peers with her opinionated style and personal experience of eating disorders. Her books include Crumb: The Baking Book, Flavour: Eat What You Love, Eat Up!: Food, Appetite, Eating What You Want, and Cook As You Are. Ruby has used her books to explore more than just cooking, writing about the culture around food and the way that relationships with food affect our lives. She has been an outspoken critic of various celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, and frequently speaks out about issues such as elitism and fatphobia.

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Image source: https://www.eater.com/2020/2/11/21132988/ruby-tandoh-writes-about-being-a-person-of-color-on-great-british-bake-off
Image credit: Channel 4/PBS
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7. Frances Quinn

Frances Quinn has gone on to great things since she won series four of the Great British Bake Off in 2013, opting to switch careers from being a children’s clothes designer to running her own cake shops and making bespoke cakes for a range of major corporate clients and celebrities. Frances, who pipped Ruby Tandoh to victory in season four despite having been labelled ‘style of substance’ by Paul Hollywood in the early rounds, has baked for the likes of BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding, sports brand Nike, Wimbledon Tennis Club, illustrator Quentin Blake, and the Tate museum in London. She has also been made an ambassador of the Cream Tea Society and appeared on various TV and radio programmes. She released a cookbook called Quinntessential in 2016 and has also been featured in the pages of Vogue magazine.

Image source: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/great-british-bake-off-frances-quinn_uk_59bf9f93e4b0edff971d65e0
Image credit: BBC
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8. David Atherton

GBBO series 10 winner David Atherton has racked up an impressive 149,000 followers on Instagram since his 2019 victory, and those followers enjoy hearing all about his life as a Guardian cookery columnist and presenter of the Sticky Bun Boys podcast. Before winning Bake Off, Whitby-born David was a health adviser who travelled the world working for Voluntary Service Overseas. He was encouraged to enter Bake Off by friends in a pottery class he attended, although he was initially only a reserve for the show. When another contestant was unable to take part, David was entered into the show and he proved an instant hit with the public. He now travels the country attending food festivals and promoting his hit podcast, as well as promoting the book he published in 2020, entitled My First Cook Book: Bake, Make and Learn to Cook.

Image source: https://www.thepinknews.com/2021/09/21/bake-off-winer-david-atherton/
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9. Liam Charles

Liam Charles had enough charisma and personality to become a star in his own right despite only coming fourth in series eight of The Great British Bake Off back in 2017. Despite being only 25 when he appeared on GBBO, Liam was a natural in front of the camera and it is this ease in the spotlight that helped to earn him several gigs on television since his appearance on series eight. He presented Bake Off: The Professionals in 2018 alongside comedian Tom Allen, and then hosted his own Channel 4 show called Liam Bakes. From there, he went on to become a judge on Junior Bake Off and he even made an appearance in the second series of The Masked Dancer in October 2022, in which he was revealed to be the character ‘Candlestick’ in episode six. Like many former Bake Off contestants, Liam has had a monthly food column in The Guardian, and he has published two cooking books, Cheeky Treats: 70 Brilliant Bakes and Cakes that was released in 2018, and Second Helpings which hit the shelves in 2019.

Image source: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/tv/888270/liam-charles-bake-off-professionals-host/
Image credit: Channel 4
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Image source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nancy-birtwhistle-bake-off-has-really-helped-my-dough-rise-9k2qd0v25
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