Bake Off 2021: Meet the contestants for the 12th series of The Great British Bake Off

© Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

The contestants from this year’s ‘Great British Bake Off

– Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

The contestants for the forthcoming series of The Great British Bake Off have been announced.

Among the bakers introduced in this year’s series are a software developer from Kent, a retired nurse and midwife, and a Met Police detective.

The series is set to return on 24 September, with Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith reprising their roles as judges.

Bake Off will also see Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas return to host the series.

A teaser trailer for the series has already been released by Channel 4 and can be viewed here.

Here’s a rundown of all the contestants set to appear on this year’s Bake Off…

Amanda

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Amanda (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

A 56-year-old detective with the Metropolitan Police, Amanda was raised in London, but her cooking is influenced by her Greek-Cypriot heritage.

She apparently likes to paint directly onto her cakes, and learned baking from her paternal auntie.

“I always dreamt that I would apply to enter the tent when I retired from the police,” she told Channel 4, ahead of the series premiere. “When my father passed away last year I realised that there was no time like the present.

“I was doubly delighted when the production team called me to say that I am one of the final 12!!!! I have been on a euphoric high ever since.”

Chigs

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Chigs (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Chigs, a 40-year-old sales manager from Leicestershire, enters the Bake Off tent despite only seriously getting into baking last year, at the start of lockdown.

Practising the craft using online videos, Chigs advanced to complex baking jobs with intricate chocolate work.

“My strengths are baking with chocolate, my attention to detail and my organisational skills,” he said. “There are areas for improvement but I believe I can learn and improve my skills and I am keen to continue to learn more.”

Crystelle

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Crystelle (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Born in northwest London to Kenyan-born, Portuguese-Goan parents, Crystelle brings a diverse set of global influences to her baking.

The 26-year-old client relationship manager began baking seriously three years ago and fuses spices from places she’s visited into her creations.

“I’m a bit of a stresser,” she revealed. “I’m not the calmest person in the world, which can often mean that I forget to do basic things, for instance… reading my own recipe.

“On the other hand, I suppose it’s a strength that I genuinely have a passion for food so I put a huge amount of thought into every single flavour and texture of each bake that I do.

Freya

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Freya (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

A psychology student from North Yorkshire, Freya lives with her parents while studying so she’s able to care for her horse, Winnie.

The 19-year-old said she aims to bake vegan patisseries that no-one can tell are vegan.

“I am a massive perfectionist, so my strengths are definitely intricate details,” she told Channel 4. “I love the decorating side of baking, I think it gives everyone a chance to be creative and share their own personal skills. I’d say my weakness is probably the faffiness of pastry and bread.”

George

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant George (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Having grown up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family, George found food was always a big part of his life.

Now 34, married with three kids and working as a shared lives co-ordinator, George is eager to bring his distinct baking style to the Bake Off, which includes the frequent use of home-grown herbs and a shabby-chic “vintage” vibe.

“Lockdowns were a bit of a depressing time,” he said, ahead of appearing on the series. “Baking really gave me the time and space to forget about what was going on in the world for a little while and do what I love. My baking improved a lot.”

Giuseppe

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Guiseppe (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

A 45-year-old chief engineer from Bristol, Guiseppe is the son of a professional chef who cooked regularly at home, baking a cake from scratch every Sunday.

Now a self-confessed food snob, Giuseppe loves incorporating classic Italian flavours into his bakes, allegedly bringing an engineer’s precision to the whole affair.

Speaking about applying for the series, he said: “I’m aware that GBBO receives thousands of applications every year, so I had no expectations whatsoever when I submitted mine last year. My reaction when I got the phone call confirming my place was stunned silence. I could not articulate a word for a couple of minutes. And what I said immediately after probably didn’t make much sense…”

Jairzeno

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Jairzeno (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Born in Trinidad, Jairzeno started his baking journey after losing faith with delicious-looking products that didn’t taste as good as they looked.

Frequently using guava and chocolate in his recipes, along with lots of Caribbean spices, the London-based marathon runner and head of finance says that baking is “like breathing” to him.

“My strength is striving for perfection, my weakness is striving for perfection which may make me over think things,” he told Channel 4.

Jürgen

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Jurgen (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

A 56-year-old IT professional, Jürgen was born in the Black Forest in Germany, moving to the UK in 2003.

He started baking after being unable to find traditional German bread in the UK, and is now well-known for his Jewish challah bread, and for celebration cakes that he bakes for friends and family.

Lizzie

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Lizzie (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Lizzie is a 28-year-old car production operative who lives in an annex in her parents’ garden with her partner and her dog.

According to her pre-show profile, she specialises in baking cakes, but is known to experiment with flavours – as long as it doesn’t involve cheesy bread.

“My strengths are my creativity and my ability go with the flow,” she said. “My weaknesses are my lack of ability to be neat or to make things small.”

Maggie

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Maggie (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Maggie boasts an enviable collection of recipe books, and over half a century of baking experience.

The 70-year-old retired midwife specialises in bread, and says that delivering a baby could serve as great preparation for the excitement of Bake Off.

She described the first week of filming, saying: “The special memory from the first week was the actual filming process – the camera, the lights and the action!

“It was such a new experience, the atmosphere was electric, all the production staff were so supportive, helpful and kind. It was wonderful.”

Rochica

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Rochica (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Junior HR business partner Rochica has a large Jamaican family on both sides, and bakes in a way that reflects her heritage.

Having danced from the age of two, the Birmingham-based 27-year-old took up baking after suffering an injury that left her temporarily unable to dance.

“Once we were allowed to, I baked for my family during lockdown and would deliver cakes and cookies to their houses,” she said. “I feel it definitely helped to improve my baking.”

Tom

© Provided by The Independent ‘Bake Off’ contestant Tom (Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Tom, a software developer from Kent, was once the only boy in his primary school baking club, but didn’t discover his true passion for it until the age of 24, when he made his father a sticky toffee pudding cake.

As a baker, he likes to follow a theme, taking the foundations of a recipe and tweaking it to make it his own.

“Getting into the Bake Off tent was something I’d dreamed about since I started baking, but I never imagined that it would be a reality,” he said. “When I got the phone call I was completely stunned.”

The Great British Bake Off starts at 8pm on Channel 4 on 21 September.

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