Meet 2018's crop of contestants for The Great British Bake Off. Discover their spongey strengths and fondant fortes, and read our top tent predictions.
Dust off your aprons, assemble your standing mixer and warm up the oven – it's time for The Great British Bake Off. It's the time of year when we celebrate stunning showstoppers, mourn soggy sponges and delight in funky flavour combinations. This year's contestants will be facing all manner of classic baking challenges and rigorous recipe experiments. Discover who will be approaching the gingham altar hoping to be crowned star baker and avoid elimination for another week.
Test out your own baking skills, perfect your pastries and get the answers to all your kitchen queries at our bakes & cakes hub.
Watch Radio Times' recap of episode 3:
Who are the GBBO contestants?
Occupation: Retired air steward
Bio: Terry’s background as a prosthetic technician, as well as spoils from his own microbrewery and allotment, are all evident in his baking – particularly in the precision, science and flavour of his creations. The design and craftsmanship in Terry’s bakes are a testament to his background in fine art. As a small child Terry learned to bake with his grandmother, while his dad taught him how to bake bread and make pastry when he was only 10 years old. It was his daughters who encouraged him to take the plunge and apply for The Great British Bake Off.
The Good Food prediction: Terry bakes most days of the week and refers to it as his 'zen place', so we expect he'll be unflappable in the kitchen. He's also experienced in making illusion cakes so watch out for a deceptive sponge or two.
Occupation: Project manager
Bio: Ruby’s love of baking is the result of having become everyone’s ‘mother’ when she went to university, taking seven male housemates under her wing, cooking and baking for them. Growing up as part of an Indian family, the youngest of four children, Ruby remembers childhood baking being about her mum making jalebi’s, an Indian sweet. Now she loves to gather friends and family together to indulge in her cakes and pastries, as well as her infamous spicy minced lamb pastry rolls. Her baking style is pretty relaxed and boozy, and she will always try to sneak some into whatever she is making.
The Good Food prediction: Ruby will be bringing a relaxed air to the tent, but we expect bakes planned to perfection with her being a project manager. Ruby also describes herself as an 'undercover baker' who doesn't post on social media, so more than a few surprises are on their way. She's also experienced with savoury baking as well as sweet, so she should have a lot of bases covered.
Occupation: Research scientist
Bio: Rahul grew up in Kolkata surrounded by his family, and moved to the UK on a university scholarship when he was 23. Once here, he discovered an abundance of new flavours and cuisines that have inspired his East-meets-West style of baking. As a research scientist, Rahul’s instinct is to undertake every bake with a forensic attitude to research and an uncompromising attention to detail. He is fascinated by the science of baking, but also loves to (or at least try to) ensure that his creations are beautiful, full of flavour and structurally elegant, too.
The Good Food prediction: In the spirit of East-meets-West baking we're anticipating some exciting flavour mash-ups to tantalise the judges taste buds. Rahul admits to being a stickler for detail so precision pastries and creative cakes decorated to a tee are guaranteed.
Occupation: Software project manager
Bio: Born and raised in France, Manon learned to bake with her mother and grandmother, who made everything from scratch – from breads to desserts and biscuits. However, although she grew up in a foodie French family, it was in London that Manon found her passion for baking, arriving in the city to work as an au pair and being blown away by the style and variety of bakeries that the city has to offer. Now she takes inspiration not only from her French heritage, and her London discoveries, but also from her travels around the world. She creates bakes that are pretty and precise with bags of personality.
The Good Food prediction: Manon's drawing on fabulous French food knowledge and a flair for the creative – is this a winning combination? We're anticipating international bakes with influences from her global travels.
Occupation: Civil servant & house/techno DJ
Bio: Some of Luke’s earliest memories are standing on a mini stepladder so he could reach the worktop to help his nan bake. He has been baking independently since he was a mere 10 years old, making Victoria sponges, fruit cobblers and chocolate cake for his family. Inspired by morning cookery shows and travels around Europe and North America, he has tried his hand at almost every baking discipline going. His minimal and clutter-free attitude to life is reflected in the things he creates – his bakes are clean and precise.
The Good Food prediction: Luke's experiments with different styles of baking and techniques could give him an edge in the tent. Since accuracy is the name of the game when dealing with delicate bakes, Luke's attention to detail and precision will ensure his creations stand out in front of the judges for all the right reasons.
Occupation: Mental health specialist
Bio: Kim-Joy’s birthday falls on World Baking Day, which she takes as the surest sign there can be that she was born to bake. Born in Belgium to an English father and Malaysian-Chinese mother, she grew up in London, studied in both Bristol and Leeds, and now lives in Leeds with her partner. Her bustling, mixed-heritage background is reflected in her open attitude to all styles of baking, loving rustic baking just as much as she loves creating cute bakes with an emphasis on detail. Her baking passion is bread, and she has turned her hand to pretty much every style and type of bread there is.
The Good Food prediction: Kim-Joy loves detailed bakes with plenty of personality and a fondness for all things miniature – we're expecting colourful cupcakes and intricate biscuits aplenty. Her speciality loaf skills will definitely come in handy when faced with an incomplete bread recipe or bothersome buns.
Occupation: In-store sampling assistant
Bio: Karen began her love affair with baking during the 15 years in which she and her husband owned a house in France. Although she had baked with her mum since she was little, it was the local French patisserie that really inspired her. Now, she can knock up profiteroles, Religieuse buns, tartes au citron, and even foot-long eclairs to rival any French bakery. Karen is unafraid to experiment in her baking and has even been known to go into baking 'frenzies' whenever there is a party or a BBQ, baking everything she can think of and freezing as she goes.
The Good Food prediction: No tricky patisserie will faze Karen with her knowledge of fanciful French fare. Although well-versed in the traditional, Karen isn't afraid to experiment with bolder bakes and unexpected flavour combinations.
Occupation: Blood courier
Bio: Welshman Jon loves nothing more than spending quality family time with his wife and four children, and he bakes as a way to relax after a hard day’s work. He loves a showy bake – and a showy Hawaiian shirt, too – and wows friends and family with his creations. Jon loves to research new ideas and experiment with different techniques to try and achieve something unique in his baking.
The Good Food prediction: Jon isn't one to shy away from a showstopper, so we're looking forward to seeing some outlandish cake creations. He bakes several times a week so he has had plenty of practice with gruelling kitchen bakeathons and oven-watching. Jon has stated the key to success in the tent is not to overcomplicate, so time management shouldn't be an issue.
Occupation: Countryside recreation officer
Bio: Imelda is one of four siblings and grew up in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, where she learned to cook and bake from her mother in the family home. Now juggling a busy job and family life, Imelda spends her evenings and weekends making soda breads, biscuits and treats for her father and son, and cakes that she can share with her work colleagues. She lives surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins, which means that catering for friends and family at large sociable gatherings is just part of normal, everyday life.
The Good Food prediction: Imelda is used to juggling a busy home and work life so having multiple trays in the oven and several sweets on the go at one time shouldn't faze her. We're hoping to see traditional Irish influences in her bakes.
Occupation: Full-time parent
Bio: For Dan, the pleasure of eating begins with what we see. A self-confessed perfectionist, Dan considers the aesthetic as one of the most important aspects of his bakes – he begins every creation with the aim of making it not just delicious, but also a thing of beauty. While that can cause stress during the cooking and making itself, he aims for well thought-through results, with every bake created with a genuine and knowledgeable appreciation for the process. He is a full-time father to two small children, so home-baking is part of his everyday life. He sees it as a means to create family memories, as well as family mealtimes.
The Good Food prediction: Dan has said he sometimes works on bakes over several days and pays a great deal of attention to how it looks. If he manages to scale this back within the time constraints, you can expect to see some stunningly original cakes.
Occupation: Full-time parent
Bio: Born and raised in Bristol, Briony is a self-taught baker, inspired by her Nan’s baking wisdom and motivated by her determination never to let anything defeat her. Using YouTube tutorials to help her learn specific techniques, Briony has been baking seriously since 2013. She is a whizz with puff pastry – a weekly favourite at home with her husband and daughter – and she has created several wedding cakes and stunning, intricately decorated novelty cakes for friends and family.
The Good Food prediction: Briony is used to baking up sweet treats for special ocassions for family and friends, and she is no stranger to high expectations and pressurised situations. She's also a dab hand at novelty cakes and super-cool designs so expect the unexpected.
Bio: Describing himself as a 'Bollywood baker', Antony grew up in India, where he learned to bake with his father. Antony’s adventurous attitude to flavour profiling is the result of a willingness to try new foods, his determination to ask probing questions of established bakers, and – in particular – his cultural roots and his travels around the world. His bold, inquisitive nature has enabled him to collect ideas and techniques that he is unafraid to use in his own creations, making his bakes at times unconventional and always interesting. He takes his research very seriously: he once tasted 50 choux buns during a single trip to Paris.
The Good Food prediction: One thing's for certain, the judges won't be bored by Antony's bakes. Ideas and inspiration from all over the world feed into his unusual bakes and his wealth of experience make him a formidable contestant.
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Images: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions