It’s hard to believe that the Great British Bake Off has been delighting audiences for over 13 years, but as the latest series came to its nail-biting conclusion and yet another talented baker was crowed the winner – we can’t help but recall some of the other much loved bakers to have delighted audiences in the tent over the years.
From its early beginnings on BBC Two, under the watchful eye of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, through to its revival on Channel 4 with Prue Leith at the helm, there has been no shortage of bold personalities and memorable characters in the show’s enduring history.
But while most of us could be forgiven for thinking it’s the just the winners that fans will remember, some of the most famous Bake Off stars of all time never actually took home the title for themselves, but still went on to carve highly successful careers in the years that followed.
Here, we take a look back at some of the most beloved and successful GBBO stars…
One of GBBO’s most memorable participants is of course 2015 winner Nadiya Hussein, who famously won the sixth seres of the show.
During her acceptance speech at the time, the talented baker was reduced to tears at having been awarded the coveted trophy, as she reflected on how she had come to compete in the first place.
She told viewers: “I'm never gonna say "maybe". I'm never gonna say, "I don't think I can". I can and I will,”- an attitude which saw her beat some stiff competition to walk away with the coveted prize.
Since winning the show, Nadiya has gone from strength to strength, as she released a handful of cookery books and even fronted her own TV shows on the BBC, including Nadiya's British Food Adventure.
One standout moment in particular came in 2016, just one year after her victory when she was personally selected to make Queen Elizabeth’s birthday cake to mark her 90th birthday.
For the prestigious occasion, Nadiya made a three-tier orange drizzle cake with orange curd and orange butter cream – something which appeared to go down well with Her Majesty!
In addition, in 2020, Nadiya was even appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to broadcasting and the culinary arts.
In the final series of Bake Off to air on the BBC before its migration to Channel 4, Candice Brown famously snagged the win in 2016 with a delicious and delicate pastry.
At the time of her win, the popular baker was touted to secure around £1 million in endorsements following her success on the show, but thanks to her work in the years since, this is now thought to have doubled.
Prior to appearing on Bake Off, Candice worked as a PE teacher, but quit her teaching career to pursue her true passion for baking after she won the show.
Like many of the winners, Candice went on to release two cook books, but also made a name for herself a media personality, appearing on shows such as Loose Women and Dancing on Ice in 2018.
In addition, Candice has also enjoyed a career in journalism, with the baker working as a weekly food columnist for the Sunday Times, where she often shares her recipes, tips and tricks to other budding bakers out there.
Another memorable star who fans may recall is season 3 winner, John Whaite, who famously took home the crown after pressing the judges with a heaven and hell chiffon cake.
The cheeky star, who admitted he had ditched college to take part in the show, was just 23 when he claimed victory from his other bakers and has continued to work in the spotlight ever since.
Now working as a highly respected TV personality, presenter and chef, John even enjoyed his very own residency on ITV’s Lorraine from 2013 to 2016.
In a surprising move, he also delighted audiences on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 when he and dance partner Johannes Radebe became the show’s first ever male same sex pairing, a historic first for the show.
It was while on the show that John proved he wasn’t just a talented baker, but a formidable dancer as well, as the pair got all the way to the final, before finally being pipped to the Glitterball trophy by Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice who took home the win.
In addition to his showbiz career, John has also penned four cook books and an autobiography, and even opened his own cooking school in 2016 on his family’s farm in Wrightington, Lancashire.
Liam Charles may not have won the GBBO when he took part in the show back in 2017, but it’s safe to say the young baker certainly captured the heart of audiences everywhere with his endearing personality and mouthwatering bakes.
Although a firm fan favourite, Liam was booted from the show in fourth place, but his charism proved to be his biggest strength as it was his on screen charm that later secured his spot as a presenter on Bake Off: The Professionals.
In addition, Liam was also elevated to the role of Judge in the junior version of Bake Off, where he regularly channels his inner Paul and Prue to offer insightful support and critique to the talented youngsters hoping to prove their mettle.
When he's not presenting or baking, Liam is also an accomplished food writer, with two books written so far that share some of his most covetable bakes to date.
In addition to his presenting roles, Liam also previously worked as a monthly food columnist for the Guardian after his time on the show.
Series nine runner up Kim-Joy is also another GBBO star that has found fame long after leaving the tent, with the 2018 star even going on to claim victory in Bake Off's New Year 2022 special.
During her time on the show, Kim-Joy delighted fans with her inventive and highly skilled decorating skills, with her whimsical themes and cute renderings of animals just some of her notable trademarks in recent years.
After taking part in the show and narrowly missing out on the 2018 trophy, Kim-Joy didn’t less the setback hold her back, as she went on to forge her own highly successful career in the baking world, and even produced three cook books to help teach avid decorators at home.
Interestingly, it isn’t just books that have helped to cement Kim-Joy’s legacy, but even her very own board game entitled Kim Joy's Magic Bakery, which hit the shelves in 2022 much to the delight of GBBO fans at home.
In addition, she also works with Wren Bakery, which provides baking and barista training for unemployed and underemployed women in Leeds.
When Sandro Farmhouse took part in the GBBO 2022, the London born baker was a firm hit with fans from the very first moment he set foot in the tent.
Delighting audiences with his laid back attitude, stunning good looks and keen eye for flavour, Sandro also proved to be a hit with the judges too, even making his way all the way to the final episode, when he was sadly beaten to the crown by Syabira Yusoff.
Despite his loss however, Sandro has continued to enjoy a blossoming career, with his Instagram account in particular allowing him to connect with his 191k followers, as he shares all of his baking tips and tricks.
As well as his baking, Sandro has also been a keen community champion who works alongside individuals with special needs who are on the autism spectrum to help them experience the same love of baking he himself finds comfort in.
Most recently, Sandro announced he would be releasing his very first cook back in May 2024, entitled Good Vibes Baking, which markets itself as “bakes to make your soul shine and your taste buds sing.”
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