The Great British Bake Off 2021: this year’s contestants – ranked!

From a police detective to a physicist and a miniature zoo owner, meet the bakers set to rise to the challenge in the world’s most daunting tent

A new series of The Great British Bake Off is upon us. In just one week, 12 contestants will enter a big tent and be judged on their ability to create a wide variety of impractical food on demand. It must be daunting for them, but not as daunting as this – I am about to rank The Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants purely on the state of their biographies. Come back in a few weeks and you’ll see how right I was about all these people.

12. Chigs, 40, Leicestershire


This might not be fair, but I have already taken against Chigs. Why? Because he says he only started baking during lockdown. He took it up on a whim, then immediately found a place on The Great British Bake Off. Do you know what I did during lockdown, Chigs? Do you? I went bald, put on loads of weight and just felt really sad all the time. Honestly, the absolute cheek of you.

11. Giuseppe, 45, Bristol


Here’s why I am worried about Giuseppe. His father was a professional chef and I’m terrified he entered Bake Off as part of some ongoing paternal psychodrama. I’m assuming he has for ever lived in the shadow of his domineering father and that his participation on Bake Off is down to a pathological need to receive the emotional validation he never felt as a child. Also, he says the only confectionery he wants his children to eat is his homemade stuff. The cycle continues.

10. Maggie, 70, Dorset


A retired midwife, Maggie sounds almost unimaginably active. She canoes and sails and likes to set off on adventures in her camper van. However, she does state that, if she were a showstopper, she would be a “modern sculpture of a woman holding a baby”. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it does sound a little like she is advocating the eating of children. Potentially a monster!

9. Lizzie, 28, Liverpool


Lizzie is, by her own admission, a frantic and messy person. But she is also studying for a criminology degree, which makes me believe that she is less a human being and more the cliched lead character of an as yet unmade ITV3 detective drama. As such, I don’t think she’ll be very good at baking.

8. Jairzeno, 51, London


Trinidad-born Jairzeno claims that “baking is like breathing”, which gives me tremendous anxiety about the sensation of suffocating in flour. More worrying, though, is Jairzeno’s stated claim that one of his hobbies is going for walks with his partner, looking for shapes in nature that can inspire his next bake. Will everything he cooks on Bake Off look like a dog poo?

7. George, 34, London


George seems like a very sweet man and is the only contestant this year to own a miniature zoo, so it pains me to point out that he has mid-table mediocrity written all over him. He describes his baking style as “shabby chic”, which sounds like it might be code for “desperately unhygienic”. He answered the Q&A question: “You are a showstopper – what would you be and why?” with a terrified: “I have no idea.” Just say you’re ice-cream or something, George. It isn’t difficult.

6. Tom, 28, Kent


Another of the questions asked of the contestants on the Bake Off press release is: “If you had to make a selfie biscuit of yourself, what would it look like and why?” Tom says he would make a biscuit based on the time he went camping on a clifftop with his sister, when a storm hit and his tent blew out to sea. Tom is an agent of chaos and should not be treated lightly.

5. Freya, 19, North Yorkshire


I’m a big fan of Freya, for one simple reason. Part of the Bake Off contestant biographies involves answering what item they would take to a desert island. A worrying amount of contestants answered with items like “a can opener” or “a spatula”, which are genuinely stupid things to pick. Freya, though? Vegetable seeds. Freya is nobody’s fool. She’ll go far.

4. Rochica, 27, Birmingham


Rochica grew up dreaming of dancing and only took up baking when injury robbed her of achieving her life’s ambition. Now, I’ve seen Black Swan. I know what a mess of resentment Rochica must be. This is just her backup plan. If she could magically uninjure herself, do you really think she would be cooking macaroons for Prue Leith? Of course not. She would be fulfilling her dream of being a world-famous dancer. She probably hates being in that tent. This woman is an unexploded bomb.

3. Amanda, 56, London


We have every right to fear Amanda. A detective with the Metropolitan police, Amanda is a) clearly very intelligent and b) possibly willing to let a succession of crimes go unsolved so she can cook a doughnut for Paul Hollywood. Further cause for concern comes in her official contestant Q&A, where she reveals that during lockdown “I baked things I never imagined I could bake, like a macaron?!??!?!” Anybody who demonstrates this cavalier an attitude to punctuation should be treated as a threat.

2. Crystelle, 26, London


I have to level with you here, Crystelle is my wildcard pick for Bake Off 2021. On paper – and remember, at this stage, paper is all I have to go on – she sounds like a nightmare. She admits to succumbing to stress very easily and mentions her love of karaoke so many times in her press bio that she may be a flat-out security risk. But you know what? Maybe what the Bake Off tent needs more than anything is a full dose of screaming mayhem.

1. Jürgen, 56, Sussex


I am already deeply in love with Jürgen. He’s a Germany-born physicist who admits to lending his exacting scientific standards to his baking. He claims that his first thought when told he was going to appear on Bake Off was, quite sensibly: “Do I really want to do this?” And remember that question about what item the contestants would like to bring to a desert island? Jürgen chose a knife. This is the closest we will ever get to having the Terminator appear on Bake Off. This man will go all the way.


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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