The 14th series of The Great British Bake Off is now only days away. And for a show that prides itself on consistency, a few things have changed this year. Alison Hammond is now a presenter, and hopefully the show won’t cause as much of an international racism furore as it did last year.
There are also 12 brand new contestants. And, as is tradition, I have parsed their bios and contestant Q&As to determine who will win and who will lose. So here is the new clutch of bakers, ranked in reverse order of impressiveness.
A whole lot of red flags here. Cristy lives in east London and has four children, which, based on the evidence of having any children at all, means the woman is a ticking timebomb of stress. Her Q&A also states that she is bad with time constraints and pressure. My worry isn’t that Cristy will be eliminated from Bake Off. It’s that she’ll literally explode.
Amos is a deli and grocery store manager from north London. He lives in a church and likes theme parks. He is 43 years old. He wants to make a cake that has a water feature on it. These are all the facts about Amos. You should be suspicious of at least two of them.
Matty is a PE teacher. Now ask yourself this: do you ever want to see a PE teacher take part on The Great British Bake Off? Is the patented PE teacher personality (equal parts narcissism and outright hatred of humanity) a good fit for the tent? I would argue definitely not.
Rowan is 21 years old and his motto is “Go big or go home”. On learning that he had been accepted on to the show, he screamed into the telephone, then sprinted to buy alcohol. The craziest showstopper he can possibly imagine is a cake in the shape of a Phoebe Waller-Bridge DVD.
Dan seems to be a man of few words. When asked, “If you had to make a cake of yourself in your happiest moment, what would it be and why?”, he replied, “Chocolate cheesecake when my boys were born.” That’s it. No clarification. Would the chocolate cheesecake be in the shape of him? Are chocolate cheesecakes indelibly linked to childbirth for him? He refuses to say. Also, Dan owns 300 cookbooks, which means that he has never heard of the internet. He cannot be trusted.
I’ll level with you. I’m terrified of Tasha. Her bio and her Q&A responses are wildly alarming. She describes her baking as “fearless” (code for “chaotic”). She almost missed the application deadline for the series, because her life sounds like such a mess. Her favourite series of Bake Off was the one she watched at university, which means she still defines herself by her uni years despite being 27. I cannot think any more about Tasha because she is giving me a panic attack.
Dana is one of those confusingly blank slates who tend to appear on Bake Off from time to time. Her bio states that she “likes to keep her flavours safe”. Before this year she had apparently applied to be on Bake Off, and been rejected, on four separate occasions. She might be good, she might be rubbish, or she might just be the baking equivalent of a seat-filler. Frankly, the uncertainty is terrifying.
I’m a big fan of Saku. Born in Sri Lanka, she has one of those irresistible origin stories that Bake Off loves to serve us. Saku is 50 now, but she didn’t have an oven until she was 18, and didn’t start baking until 2003. One of the questions they ask contestants is: “If you were a pastry, what kind would you be?” She replied: “I would be rough puff because I am a nonclassical of a classical. And I’m mainly puff(ed)!” I have high hopes for this one.
Nicky is a retired cabin crew member who volunteers for a pet therapy charity. Many of the responses in her Q&A begin with the words “Ooooh” and “Oh wowsers.” She seems like a delightful woman all round. Why isn’t she higher on the list? Because she describes her baking as “like a pair of comfy old slippers”, perhaps the least appetising statement ever made by a human being.
Keith is a 60-year-old chartered accountant, but more importantly appears to be a true Bake Off megafan. He owns cookbooks written by five different former Bake Off contestants, and sings the praises of Martha and Enwezor from series five. My guess is that he has a giant picture of Paul Hollywood’s face tattooed across his back, and that at least one room in his house is decorated with furtively taken photographs of Mary Berry. Nothing’s going to stop him. Nothing.
No two ways about this, Josh seems like a ringer. He’s a chemist by trade, which means he’ll bring a scientific rigour to his bakes. He plays a lot of rugby, so he’ll probably be this year’s heart-throb. He’s really into Christmas, which means he’s enough of a baffling eccentric to stand out, too. The sort of Bake Off contestant who appears to have been grown in a lab.
And yet, despite the presence of Josh (who, on reflection, I think might be a Terminator), my money is on Abbi. A veg grower and delivery driver from Yorkshire, Abbi seems like the most relentlessly salt-of-the-earth human ever born. She forages. She’s into seasonality. She describes herself as “a simple, easygoing person who isn’t too fussy”. Abbi is everything you want from a Bake Off contestant. She’s going to win.
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