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Portrait of Nadiya Hussain

10 things you didn't know about GBBO's Nadiya

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We chatted to the 2015 Great British Bake Off winner and discovered baking secrets, food heroes and top tips galore...

Nadiya Hussain has had a phenomenal career. From Bake Off winner to TV success, she's one of our most-loved food stars. We caught up with Nadiya in the days after she first won GBBO and got to know the new queen of baking...
 

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1. Nadiya's food heroes are...

I absolutely adore some celebrity chefs like Rick Stein and Nigel Slater. I love the new modern chefs like Rachel Khoo. I've met two of my baking heroes already – Paul and Mary – and can say I have had the pleasure of being in their presence. I would love to meet Eric Lanlard and Raymond Blanc.’
 

2. Her top tip for new bakers is...

Stay close to the recipe. It's best to try and be exact and not deviate too much. Once you are confident in the recipe, then you can try out different flavours and spices.’

Puff pastry tart topped with creamed spinach and eggs

3. The first thing she ever baked was...

Puff pastry! I remember being hooked from that point on - all I wanted to do was bake. It was a recipe that I made with my teacher in home economics class. It was at this point I realised that the concept of baking was entirely new to me, but I enjoyed it so very much.’

4. On her Christmas wishlist... 

I would absolutely love a dishwasher, my poor husband could do with a break from all the washing. I would love a collection of Mrs Beeton books, I have always looked for them but so far have been unsuccessful in my mission. My favourite ingredient at the moment is tonka bean paste.’ 

Salted caramel and chocolate shortbread slices served in chunks

5. Her signature bake is... 

Chocolate swamp cake with peanuts and salted caramel. This is my family's favourite because it has three important elements in a bake that are crucial: Chocolate, salted caramel and peanuts.’

6. Things changed for her when... 

‘It was only when I got married and I had the freedom of my own kitchen and ingredients that I really took my baking seriously. I was 21 years old, with a new kitchen and new baby. My children and husband have since become my chief tasters, fans and critics.’

Beef cand beetroot curry served in a bowl topped with fresh coriander

7. Her baking protégé is...

My younger sister, though I'm finding there is a new found interest in the next generations. We may have a flurry of bakers in the children in our families. My children, nephews and nieces are all avid bakers and serious foodies. I feel so proud because they take so much pride and joy in their efforts.’
 

8. The secret for bake-life balance is...

Bake all the time and fit it in around the school runs, the laundry and all the other chores, plus get the children involved. Work life and baking influence each other in our house. A long day usually warrants a recipe with chocolate in it. A relaxed day could mean spending a lot of time making apple turnovers.’

Portrait of Nadiya Hussain in the GBBO tent

9. The secret for brilliant bakes is...

Always check the oven temperature is correct. Always follow the instructions to the letter. Make sure you have all the ingredients before you start and eggs should always be used at room temperature.’

Calzones filled with pepper, pesto and sweetcorn

10. Nadiya's favourite BBC Good Food recipe is... 

I love the pepper, pesto and sweetcorn calzone recipe.’

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Read about Nadiya's time on The Great British Bake Off. For more on baking, visit our bakes & cakes section.

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