How do you spot a great amateur baker? You certainly can’t tell by age or occupation: Winners of The Great British Baking Show are both old and young. They’ve been debt collectors, homemakers, and retired office managers. Getting crowned Britain’s best amateur baker takes a particular mix of strength and flexibility combined with traditional know-how and a streak of creativity.
Nearly fifty years separates this season’s oldest and youngest contestants and they run the gamut from hairdresser to aerospace engineer. Can you spot the champion from the starting twelve?
Season 4 of The Great British Baking Show premieres on Friday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS.
‘The Great British Baking Show’ Season 4 Contestants
(Photo Credit: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)
Look for impressive showstoppers from Andrew, who designs jet engines for Rolls-Royce by day. At 25 years of age, he’s got just enough youth to push the boundaries and just enough experience to be a threat.
Benjamina graduated with honors and a degree in economics, which says a lot about her work ethic. Her real secret weapon, though, may be her twin sister, whose critical eye has instilled a drive for perfection in her presentation.
You might not expect much from a high school PE teacher, but it’s not what she does now that makes her the one to watch. She’s been around food all her life; her parents owned a pub and, about her grandmother, she told the Radio Times, “I stood next to her on the brown dining chair that I dragged through to the kitchen, watching in complete adoration.”
Jane has been baking since she was six which means that she’s been doing this for more than twice as long as some of the other contestants have been alive. That often translates to consistency and stellar traditional bakes, but often older contestants falter when asked to try something outside of the box.
As a nurse and mother of two, Kate has nerves of steel which come in handy when she’s doing delicate sugarcraft work. She grew up on a farm too, so expect her to employ her expertise with seasonal fruits and produce.
A 67-year-old pastor, Lee is a textbook traditionalist, favoring simple flavors like cherry, hazelnut, vanilla, and chocolate. Before he was a priest though, he was a builder, so look for sturdy showstoppers from the grandfather of four.
A hairdresser from Cardiff, Louise enjoys making cakes for friends and charity bake sales at work. But she’s also got an experimental streak — using different flours and flavors in her breads — and, as an avid hiker, don’t expect her to lose focus in the heat of the competition.
At 20, Michael is the youngest competitor this season. He’s a college student with three roommates, so expect non-traditional recipes conjured up during rowdy all-nighters, but also look for him to utilize his expertise with Greek pastries, learned at a young age from his grandmother.
Blessed with a good heart and an adventurer’s soul, Rav’s passion for volunteering is only matched by his passion for exotic flavor combinations. Will his expertise with far east cuisine and vegan baking wow the judges or be his undoing?
Originally from Ghana, Selasi has graduated from fairy cakes (smaller, lighter versions of American cupcakes) to the big time. His charity work runs the gamut from the delicate pastries he brings to local bake sales to half-marathons and a trek through Malawi to support multiple organizations.
Having lost nearly 70 pounds, Tom shies away from heavy and indulgent baking, but he makes up for it with bold and unusual flavors. He also makes his own cheese and salami at home and it may be that willingness to make everything from scratch that will elevate him past the other competitors.
Val has been baking for more than 50 years and says she can make the classics “with her eyes closed,” but still scours the Internet for new recipes, which makes her a double threat. She has a fondness for exercise and occasionally does aerobics in the kitchen during down times; that tenacity surely came in handy as a former elementary school principal and may play a role in the tent.