If there’s one TV show that signals the end of summer and the start of the cosy autumnal season it’s The Great British Bake Off.
The hit amateur baking show will make its return to screens this month for the 14th series of the competition, with a fresh batch of budding bakers set to battle it out to be crowned Star Baker.
Twelve contestants, including an intelligence analyst, a vegetable grower and the show’s first ever deaf participant, have today been announced ahead of the show’s launch on Channel 4 next week.
The bakers will be hoping to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith with their culinary skills as they take on a series of technical challenges, signature bakes and mouth watering showstoppers to get their hands on the cake stand trophy.
When does Bake Off 2023 start?
The Great British Bake Off will return to Channel 4 on Tuesday September 26 at 8pm.
The bakers will battle it out for 10 weeks in a bid to reach the final, due to take place on Tuesday 28 November.
Who are this year’s contestants?
Here’s a look at this year’s lineup of amateur bakers donning their aprons to compete to be crowned Star Baker 2023.
Abbi, 27, veg grower and delivery driver from Cumbria
Yorkshire-born Abbi learnt to bake alongside her mum and later became fascinated by baking throughout history, particularly the Victorian era, and enjoys rustling up the likes of steamed puddings and fruit cakes.
She now takes inspiration from her environment and the English countryside around her home, foraging for seasonal ingredients and using many of her own homegrown ingredients.
Amos, 43, Deli and grocery manager from North London
Hospitality professional Amos grew up in Nottingham with his mum and sister, and now lives in North London in a converted church.
He took up baking after being inspired by his mum’s ability to whip up tasty treats. He describes his bakes as a labour of love and enjoys experimenting with different flavours.
Cristy, 33, Mum and PA from East London
Mum-of-four Cristy describes her baking style as enchanted and pretty, producing bakes that conjure up a sense of childhood.
Cakes are her speciality and she takes flavour inspiration from her Israeli heritage and her husband’s Jamaican roots.
Dan, 42, Civil engineering resource planner from Cheshire
Dan’s interest in cooking began when he went travelling in South America in 2007 and he particularly loves pies and puddings.
Before he and his wife bought their first home, they lived with his in-laws and he was taught how to make perfect shortcrust pastry by his mother-in-law. His passion for pies then evolved into a penchant for patisserie.
Perfectionist Dan loves a baking challenge and will often find the hardest bake in one of his 300-strong cook books, throwing everything he’s got at creating a masterpiece.
Dana, 25, Database administrator from Essex
Dana’s passion for baking started at the age of 16 when she identified a gap in her family’s traditionally Indian culinary repertoire.
A self-professed untidy baker, Dana would avoid stepping on her mum’s toes in the kitchen by catching the bus to her dad’s house to indulge her need to experiment with her bakes.
She now has a kitchen of her own and has become the family’s go-to celebration cake-maker, and describes her style as rustic and homely.
Josh, 27, Post-doctoral research associate from Leicestershire
Josh is a chemist by trade and brings his scientist’s precision and keenness to experiment into the kitchen, taking careful notes on each part of the baking process and perfecting all his techniques for gorgeous results.
He takes inspiration from old baking books, reinventing classics to give them a modern twist, often by introducing alternative flavours and including the seasonal fruit and vegetables from his kitchen garden.
Keith, 60, Chartered accountant from Hampshire
Apple pies and fairy cakes – which he learned to bake with his mum – form the baking backdrop to Keith’s childhood, along with his mum’s love for traditional dishes from her home in Malta.
Keith has never stopped baking since and has recently returned to the baking books of the early 1970s to attempt recipes that were once ‘beyond’ him. He loves the challenge of taking on more complex bakes and has grown in confidence with bread.
Matty, 28, PE and science teacher from Cambridgeshire
Matty is the type of baker who swats up on online patisserie videos before bed and he strives to equal the impressiveness of the bake that first caught his imagination: a teddy-bear cake that his late nan made him for his fourth birthday.
Now the family’s designated baker, he always has a list of cake requests for upcoming celebrations. He describes his style as rustic but neat, and his flavour preferences as quite traditional, with a particular fondness for chocolate, citrus and nuts.
Nicky, 52, Retired cabin crew and volunteer from the West Midlands
Nicky describes her baking as ‘like a pair of comfy old slippers; little traditional bakes that evoke fond memories’.
For her, these memories are of her Gran’s kitchen table where, as a little girl, she would roll out pastries and decorate cakes – which she says was as much fun then as all her baking is to her now.
Her favourite bakes are still pastries, but she also loves making breads, and fun birthday cakes for her niece and grandchildren.
Rowan, 21, Student from West Yorkshire
‘Go big, or go home’ is Rowan’s motto, and one that he has always applied to his bakes. His earliest baking memories are of scones, pork pies, shortbread and traditional jam tarts – which he claims as a Northern delicacy.
A student of English literature, when he’s not writing he is also a keen host, applying his creative eye to his cooking, aiming for clean lines and interesting decoration in his finished bakes.
Saku, 50, Intelligence analyst from Herefordshire
Sri Lankan-born Saku places the traditional flavours of her heritage at the heart of her baking, particularly the curry spices, which she claims make for the best pie fillings, while liberal sprinklings of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg find their way into her sweeter bakes.
At her family home in Sri Lanka, self-taught baker Saku didn’t have an oven until she was 18, so she turned to baking only when she moved with her husband to the UK, in 2003, and particularly when she became a mum.
Tasha, 27, Participation officer from Bristol
The best thing Tasha remembers about baking as a child was licking the sugar icing from the tops of the fairy cakes she, her mum and her grandma used to make.
At secondary school, she made cakes for her friends and was soon encouraged by her Food Technology teacher to develop her skills as a hobby.
She uses baking as a way to express herself creatively, often embarking upon near-impossible designs.
Who are the hosts this year?
Noel Fielding is returning as host for 2023 and this time will be joined by TV presenter Alison Hammond as his co-host.
The shake-up to the presenting lineup comes after Matt Lucas announced earlier this year that he stepped down at the end of the last series.
Hammond previously appeared on the show in 2020 as a baker for Celebrity Bake Off, but this time around she’ll be on the other side of the counter.
On securing the role, she said: “Finally I can talk about it! I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the Great British Bake Off and can’t wait to meet this year’s bakers. It’s a huge honour to be back in the tent and I can’t wait to get started”.
The new host appeared in the famous Bake Off tent in a new Channel 4 teaser for the much-anticipated series of the show released last month.
The playful animated film follows a group of sweet ingredients embarking on a journey to the tent to achieve their dream of becoming part of the chocolate and raspberry cake seen on the show’s opening titles.
Hammond, 48, then appears in a red and black floral dress alongside Fielding, wearing a cowboy hat and a yellow sad face shirt, to devour the cake.