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Meet the contestants for The Great British Bake Off 2023

The show welcomes its first ever deaf contestant this year, with the judges learning sign language in order to communicate with her

Tom Murray
Wednesday 27 September 2023 06:46 BST
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The Great British Bake Off trailer 2023

The contestants for the new series of The Great BritishBake Off have been announced, with the show’s first ever deaf baker featuring on the lineup.

GBBO’s 14th series, which will mark the arrival of effeverscent new host Alison Hammond, welcomes 27-year-old Tasha to the tent. A participation officer from Bristol, Tasha is joined on the show by Daryl, her sign language interpreter.

“Seeing Daryl up at the front and feeling fully part of the show was a really special moment,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without him, and without the dedication from the show ensuring I had the same access as the other bakers.”

Among the other bakers introduced in this year’s series are a scientist, an accountant and a retired flight attendant.

The show is set to return on 26 September, with Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith reprising their roles as judges.

The hosting team has seen a shake-up this year as This Morning star Hammond takes over from Matt Lucas, who quit after the 2022 series. She will join Noel Fielding who returns for his sixth year on the show.

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

Abbi, 27

Veg grower and delivery driver from Cumbria

Abbi (C4)

Yorkshire-born Abbi learnt to bake from her mum. She then became fascinated by baking throughout history, particularly in the Victorian era. Now, she forages and grows many of her own ingredients. “I am very creative and love making actual real-life places and scenes out of cake, but I would struggle with making something very neat and chic,” she said.

Speaking about her experience in the tent, she added: “I was super impressed and amazed by how many crew can fit into the tent and yet are never in shot once the series is edited together — the central aisle between the benches was basically full of crew the whole time.

“It was really nice because at any moment you could look up and ask for another spatula and someone would produce one from their back pocket in under 20 seconds. I could do with a system like that at home.”

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Amos, 43

Deli and grocery manager from north London

Amos (C4)

Hospitality professional Amos grew up in Nottingham with his sister and his mum, with the latter inspiring him with her baking ability. He now lives in north London in a converted church, which he says compares with his baking style: “Traditional with a modern twist.”

On meeting the hosts of Bake Off, he said: “Honestly it was such a pleasure meeting Noel and Alison for the first time. Alison gave us such a welcome and even gave us some treats to eat during our down time... legendary.”

Cristy, 33

Mum and PA from east London

Cristy (C4)

Mum of four Cristy draws inspiration from her Israeli heritage and her husband’s Jamaican roots for her bakes. She can also solve a Rubik’s cub in under four minutes. “Alison and Noel were one of the best parts about the tent they are both so lovely and funny,” she said. “Seeing them bounce off each other and having a laugh all the time... They are the perfect duo.”

Speaking about when she found out she would be entering the tent, Cristy said: “When I received the phone call, I remember being in the kitchen and seeing the number flash on the phone as it rang. My heart was beating so fast! I answered and waited to hear, as soon as I heard the words ‘you have been chosen to be one of our 12 bakers’ I just wanted to cry.

“I’d never felt so much adrenaline and was pacing around mouthing to [my partner] Ryan, ‘They said yes, I’m going to the tent.’ It was the most amazing, surreal moment, I will never forget it.”

Dan, 42

Civil engineering resource planner from Cheshire

Dan (C4)

Dan’s interest in cooking was sparked by a trip to South America in 2007. It was his mother-in-law who taught him how to make the perfect shortcrust pastry. Since then, Dan has been a fanatic for pies and pastries. “My strengths are my flavour combos,” Dan said. “My weakness… overthinking bakes and doing too much!”

Speaking about meeting the show’s hosts, he added: “They were like mates straight away, just started conversations like we’ve always known each other. Noel did his textbook question, ‘Are you going to win it?!’ and Alison chatted about our recently departed dog.”

Dana, 25

Database administrator from Essex

Dana (C4)

Dana has been baking seriously for around nine years, since the age of 16. When she was younger, to avoid taking over her mum’s kitchen, she would take the bus to her dad’s house in order to experiment.

Her style is “rustic and homely” – think semi-naked cakes with neat lines and piping. Flavour-wise, she has a penchant for spices associated with her Indian heritage.

She said: “Walking into the tent for the first time, the 16-year-old me was doing flips.” A highlight, she said, was “of course talking to Alison Hammond, forget about Paul Hollywood, it was all about the queen!”

Josh, 27

Post-doctoral research associate from Leicestershire

Josh (C4)

The Bake Off tent would not be complete without a scientist of some description. Chemist Josh loves to experiment in the kitchen and has a fascination with old baking books. A keen rugby player, Josh invigorates his teammates with baked treats. He dreams of owning his own artisan bakery eventually.

He said: “I remember being in the chemistry lab last thing on a Friday when I received the call confirming my place in the famous tent. I was in complete shock and had to sit down on a stool, just lost for words.

“So many emotions going through my head; excitement of the prospect of baking in the tent, buzzing as I couldn’t wait to tell my brother and parents the news, nervous that I was going to be baking for Paul and Prue, and a sense of accomplishment that I had managed to make it through and do my Nan proud – as she was a big inspiration for entering again this year.

“She passed away in June 2021 and I said I would try and enter the Bake Off again for her.”

Keith, 60

Chartered accountant from Hampshire

Keith (C4)

Keith’s childhood was filled with memories of baking apple pies and fairy cakes, a skill he learned from his mother. Her love for traditional Maltese dishes also left a lasting impression on him. Since those formative years, Keith has never stopped baking.

Sue, his partner, has become accustomed to waking up to the aroma of freshly baked bread. They share their home with their poodle, Maisie, just steps away from the sea.

Speaking about meeting Hammond and Fielding, he said: “Alison is like a force of nature and it was evident that she loved being in the tent and being part of the Bake Off team. Noel is far more laid back, very cool, and it is obvious that he feels the same but in a more understated way.”

Matty, 28

PE and science teacher from Cambridgeshire

Matty (C4)

Matty watches online patisserie videos before bed. He continually strives to match the enchantment of the very first bake that captured his imagination: a teddy-bear cake lovingly crafted by his late nan for his fourth birthday. Now the family’s go-to baker, he maintains a list of cake requests for upcoming celebrations. He describes his style as a blend of rustic charm and precision, with a penchant for traditional flavours like chocolate, citrus, and nuts. His next big task? Crafting his own wedding cake for fiancée Lara.

Speaking about what type of pastry he’d be, he joked: “I would probably be a rough puff, it doesn’t require much patience to make!”

Nicky, 52

Retired cabin crew and volunteer from West Midlands

Nicky (C4)

Nicky says her baking style is like a pair of “comfy old slippers” – but hopefully not as stinky. Her top picks are pastries, but she also delights in baking bread and creating fun birthday cakes for her niece and grandchildren. Beyond the kitchen, Nicky volunteers with a pet-therapy charity alongside her dog, Bracken, and has been an avid skier since the age of three.

She said: “Seeing the big white tent for the first time felt like going to see a show on Broadway. It was something I had dreamt about for a very long time but thought that it would never become a reality. I was like a kid in a sweet shop as I walked towards my work station. I couldn’t wait to open every drawer and door to explore what was inside.”

Rowan, 21

Student from West Yorkshire

Rowan (C4)

English Literature student Rowan lives by the motto “go big, or go home”, a philosophy he applies to his baking endeavours. His earliest baking memories revolve around scones, pork pies, shortbread, and jam tarts, which he considers Northern delicacies. Much like his impressive cocktail-making skills, Rowan showcases his grand and opulent side through his bakes, leaving his university friends in awe. For his 21st birthday, he even crafted a towering three-tier, 12-layer extravaganza of a cake.

He joked: “Being the youngest baker in the tent this year, I have the ability to flaunt my youth and let everyone know that I was only eight when the first episode of Bake Off aired. After watching each series without fail, I knew that one of my life goals would be to bake in that tent.

“Getting the call to say I had achieved that dream, I did the only thing appropriate: I slid to the floor, screamed down the phone and ran to the shops for a bottle of prosecco, all before getting back to join the group wash-up in my uni house. Classy.”

Saku, 50

Intelligence analyst from Herefordshire

Saku (C4)

Sri Lankan-born Saku infuses her heritage’s traditional flavours into her baking, especially the curry spices, which she believes create exceptional pie fillings. She also generously incorporates cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg into her sweet creations. Despite not having an oven in her family home in Sri Lanka until the age of 18, Saku discovered her passion for baking when she moved to the UK with her husband in 2003. It truly blossomed when she became a mother, as she started crafting homemade treats for her children’s lunchboxes, inspired by snacks she saw in the supermarket.

On her strengths and weaknesses, she said: “I think the passion to learn new things, creativity and never give up are my main strengths.

“I am a messy baker and I am hard on myself when bakes go wrong, which I think are my weaknesses.”

Tasha, 27

Participation officer from Bristol

Tasha (C4)

Tasha is Bake Off’s first ever deaf contestant, with the judges taking it upon themselves to learn sign language in order to communicate with her. Tasha’s fondest childhood baking memory involves savouring the sugar icing from fairy cakes made with her mum and grandma. In secondary school, she started baking for friends and received encouragement from her Food Technology teacher to pursue it as a hobby. Tasha’s approach to baking mirrors her fearless outlook on life. She uses it as a means of creative expression, often tackling challenging designs with remarkable success. Beyond baking, she enjoys attending West End shows and has a deep passion for globetrotting.

Speaking about having fun in the tent, she said: “We all knew Alison had arrived before we even saw her because everyone could hear her laughing. She came armed with welcome snacks for the bakers’ green room and gave us motivational speeches – we loved her immediately.

“Noel’s brilliantly funny and unpredictable; you never know where the conversation is going to go and then he walks away and you start thinking, ‘Hang on, how did we get there?’”

The Great British Bake Off returns Tuesday 26 September at 9pm on Channel 4.

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