The Great British Bake Off 2021: semi-final – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 24 PM GMT+0

Chigs, Crystelle, Jürgen and Giuseppe fought for a place in the final in Patisserie Week. Who proved themselves the crème de la crème – and who will be making a French exit?

Sorry, I’ve been meaning to say goodbye for a while but I got completely absorbed by comments BTL. I think all seven stages of grief are visible down there.

That said, congratulations are certainly due to our three worthy finalists. They seem rather evenly matched so it could go in any of their favours. I, for one, can’t wait to see who wins that lovely plate.

See you next week, pals. Stay well x

Next week: A lot of running around the tent, it appears. And a terrified Giuseppe. I’m off to watch Alan and Miriam trundle round Scotland in a campervan. Thanks for reading!

10/10 from me.

Can't we do a RuPaul (Hollywood) and have a quadruple chant(ill)y, they stay?

Next week: The Final! Each finalist has two handshakes and two Star Bakers under their belt, meaning it’s anybody’s game. Who do we think’s going to win?! Let us know below.

This image sums up all our emotions, I think.

An image that says it all. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

Despite having won only one Star Baker, Crystelle’s bake was flawless and she got a handshake in a previous Showstopper, something that only Rahul has pulled off in the main series. Giuseppe has been just that little bit more consistent than him, but not by much. And Chigs? Well, where to start with him. He was nearly invisible at the start of the series, and now he’s on course to win the whole thing.

Our Happy Little Jürgen. The Jürgenator. Jürgen the Pooh. We shall miss him and his German-isms next week - he’s done himself proud but it will hurt to fall at the final hurdle. I imagine we’ll see him win on a Festive special in years to come.

And the person leaving the tent is …

Jürgen! NO WAY! Wild. After winning Star Baker more times than anyone else this year, and with many people tipping him for the win, Jürgen leaves in the semi-final. Even so – and I hate to say this – I think they made the right decision.

Star baker is …

Crystelle! What a week to hit your peak – a handshake and a flawless Showstopper set her in perfect stead for the final (despite her flagrant disregard for my nerves with those awful ingredients). A very, very big well done.

Gulp. Here we go.

I know Bake Off doesn’t *do* twists, but this would be a very welcome one ...


— Gee Aitch Cee (@Scriblit) November 16, 2021

A poignant final segment there. I reckon Crystelle’s nabbed her second Star Baker, narrowly squeezing out Chigs. That means it’s a battle between Giuseppe and Jürgen to stay, though. Does the handshake outweigh the technical win? What do we think?

Seriously, how are they going to send any of these bakers home? They’re all too good! #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

“There are four Star Bakers in there. Simple as that.” Jürgen <3

Crystelle’s entremets are the most visually appealing of the lot of them, I think. And Paul is leading a round of applause for her!! “Flawless”, he says. She cries, as do we. Crown her!

Crystelle’s ‘Tropical Wedding’ Entremets Showstopper. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

Giuseppe whispers to Chigs that he smashed it. In the semi-final judging! The generosity of bakers to one other, this far into the competition, is why I love this show.

Chigs’s tree is a little basic for me and as much as I may love his plums, they’re a little messy. That said, it sounds like he may be in line for Star Baker (if we forget the technical), as they’re absolutely delicious.

It is down to the last two bakes. Chigs’s apples look like plums, but they taste exceptional. That is what I am saying. This is not taken out of context.

Chigs’ ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’ Showstopper. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

Giuseppe’s Leaning Tower of Pisa is truly impressive, and the entremets look very neat. Again, though, the judges aren’t bowled over. Oh help.

Giuseppe’s ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ Showstopper. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

They weren’t rave reviews, were they? And I think the bakers all need the judges to be raving this week.

Jürgen’s Showstopper is criticised for being bland before the judges have even tasted it. He’s vulnerable now, I would say.

Jürgen’s ‘Torii Gate in the Sea’ Showstopper. #GBBO

— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) November 16, 2021

The penultimate Showstopper judging begins ...

… and they really are neck and neck, aren’t they? Gulp.


I don’t think I can watch the end of this week, I’m just gonna pretend they all won, and everyone who went home won, as well @BritishBakeOff #GBBO

— Benn Mullings (@Benn_Mullings) November 16, 2021

Not to undo the pressure of it all, but Chigs’s bench was totally clean at the end of the challenge. Do we think he finished early yet again?

Everyone puffing up their mouths, all making the same noise.

“This is getting tight” – Giuseppe describing my clenched jaw, which will never be the same again.

Giuseppe’s Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning just a little too much for my liking.

Jürgen is missing a key piece of his entire construction. Meanwhile, Giuseppe appears to be praying at his workstation.

genuinely thought Giuseppe was praying here #GBBO

— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) November 16, 2021


Oooh I really felt Chigs’s discomfort at being asked to do an impersonation of Robert De Niro on national TV. A good swerve by him, in my view.

CHIGS’S TREE HAS SNAPPED! But he’s simply glued it back together. Bake Off, how you teased us in the opening titles, suggesting that this breakage was a lot worse than it actually was.

Good to see that Chigs is good at fitting things into tight places.

Crystelle is manhandling a candle. She’s being quite rough by my reckoning.

Surely we’ve never seen the puffed rice/marshmallow combo used in patisserie week before? It doesn’t scream class, does it?

Chigs: “This has never worked.”

Everyone who wants a calm half hour of television: “Thanks.”


I wonder what match, miso, yuzu and mango combined in a cake would taste like?

I always enjoy this point, when bakers have run out of anecdotes: “I saw a tree once and have therefore based my bake on apples”.

A wise move from Crystelle to make two batches with different quantities of gelatin (though the less said about the mango, the better).

This is very true.

This showstopper sounds like something the professionals would find difficult.

Even Prue doesn’t like matcha. Jürgen going through with it anyway is a bit bold.

Matcha. Rolls eyes. They’ve been using my forbidden ingredients as a shopping list this week.

Tell me we all just saw Jürgen the Pooh using runny hunny. It’s all too much.


Crystelle’s piece to camera there was basically: “I will DESTROY them all and they will SUFFER MY WRATH … but remember to have fun!”

The Showstopper this week is a themed banquet display, arranged around an edible centrepiece.

They have FIVE HOURS to complete it.

I could swear I heard you all singing along to Time After Time, there. What a lovely advert.

“I’ll come out swinging tomorrow”, promises Chigs. I Would Like To See It.

I don’t know. In my head, the challenges are weighted Showstopper > Signature > Technical, which places Jürgen in The Danger Zone.

Such an interesting situation. Crystelle, Giuseppe and Chigs have a handshake from the Signature, but Jürgen finished first in the Technical. I guess Chigs is a bit more vulnerable because his bake was worse than everyone else’s in the Technical, but he could still pull it back with a good Showstopper.

Here’s the technical ranking. 4. Chigs! 3. Crystelle. 2. Giuseppe. 1. Jürgen!

Chigs appears to have achieved the ultimate in baking: a soggy top!

If only Gregg Wallace was here to judge. He would have had the time of his life.

Maybe Jürgen can win the technical to make up for the lack of handshake?

It is the technical judging!

I’m just going to say it. Chigs might be last.

Crystelle’s gone for a “more is more” approach, whereas Chigs has based his sable breton on a snowman after a hot day.

Chigs has some concerning shrinkage. Don’t worry mate, happens to all of us when we’re against the clock.

Chigs: “This is a massive jammie dodger, isn’t it”.

Bake Off’s lawyer: “No, it isn’t.”

Chigs’s snot is runny but everyone else’s has thickened nicely. Crystelle is inexplicably piping hers into stars.

With so much to do, I bet none of the bakers want Noel or Matt doing anything comedic by their benches now.

They’re all debating whether to push the dough up the sides. This feels like a good time to cast a discreet eye over at Jürgen’s bench.

Chigs’s meringues look like anaemic turd emojis.

They’re all whisking massive bowls of snot and it’s giving me the ick.

“Creme Mussolini. Right” blinks Chigs.

It’s Brittany, bitch. Crystelle is restarting her meringue and Chigs has only just realised that he could have been using a piping nozzle when he did his.

Brittany butter is high in fat content, salty and cultured. Like me, really.

Britney butter? Did I hear that right?

Can I just say, I smashed the description of that so much better than Paul and Prue. Well done to me.

So, it’s not a Twix then.

It’s like a thick, soft biscuit, with a bit of jam and a creamy pistachio topping that tastes a bit like Angel Delight. And some fruit on top, I think.

Like Chigs, I have no idea what any of the words from the past 30 seconds meant.

Their “toughest technical yet” is ...

… a sable breton tart! Basically, a right faff.

A shame for Jürgen not to get one, though – it’s like not being invited to the popular kids’ party at school.

And a handshake to Giuseppe makes it THREE HANDSHAKES IN JUST ONE CHALLENGE. Has that ever happened before? Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think it has.

Crystelle gets a HANDSHAKE! Two handshakes in a challenge! First time in the last couple of years this has happened. And still Giuseppe to go.

Jürgen gets a “I like it … I don’t love it,” from Paul. Oh my god! No handshake, but he gets two handshakes from Noel. I love how serious Paul is during this.

Jürgen has dressed like his bake again, hasn’t he?

A handshake! Paul had been sitting on those hands for a while, to be fair. Like Chigs was, for most of the challenge …

A HANDSHAKE ALREADY. Goodness. Usually they give out the handshakes at the end of the judging, not at the start. I sense that this won’t be the only handshake given out this challenge, then.

It is time for the Signature judging. Chigs is up first.

Are we watching Bake Off The Professionals? It feels like we are.

To get us through until the festive specials ...

A heads up that all the series of Sewing Bee are on IPlayer, including Christmas and New Year specials, and I’m enjoying working my way through the earlier BE (Before Esme) series, which I didn’t see first time round. No blog of course, but a nice replacement watch for when Bake Off ends.

I *may* have helped one of the It’s A Sin cast with their recipes for the Christmas episode of Bake Off. I’ll let you guess which one ...

A floppy Giuseppe. Sorry.

Ooh, the little flop Giuseppe’s slice did on to the plate was satisfying wasn’t it?

I disagree, Michael. This is riveting. All of their slices look stunning. Bake Off has great semi-finalists and really interesting personalities this year – a rare and winning combination.

It’s not the most riveting challenge, is it? I know I’m contractually obliged to pay attention, but my mind is wandering. On my mind at the moment: the sun could have already exploded, but we would have no idea because it would take eight minutes for the light to stop reaching the Earth.

Chigs is far too calm and finished too early for my liking. This is more unsettling to watch than if he was running too late.

Things I wish I’d counted throughout the series: how many times Jürgen has been desperate for Noel to leave him alone.

Things I wish I had counted throughout the series: how many times Jürgen has fogged up his glasses opening the oven.


Crystelle is tearing butter with her hands, because this is a refined week of baking.

It appears that Jürgen is baking a gravestone?

Paul Try To Not Say “Finesse” As Lizzie Left Last Week challenge

Chigs’s slices sound delicious. Frustratingly, Paul doesn’t seem to have left his love of the word “finesse” in the past despite everyone praying that he would. Next week’s Forbidden Ingredient is finesse.

Giuseppe dramatically took his bake out of the oven, after realising that he forgot to add flour, just as Paul and Prue visited his workstation. That went from 0 to 100 quickly, didn’t it?

“Be too rough and ready with it and it won’t rise”. Only innuendo from Chigs could bring me back from my strop so soon.

ARE YOU JOKING?! YUZU?! ALREADY?! I am livid. To think Crystelle was my favourite. *storms out, slams door*

Prue: “We want eight identical layered slices.”

Crystelle: “I am baking nine layers.”

The bakers have to bake eight patisserie-style layered slices.

Unlike my Hinge profile, they need to be “technically flawless”.

Ah, wet-haired Giuseppe is wearing clothes he’s just bought as he didn’t pack enough. His new shirt looks like someone dropped Tic Tacs into a swimming pool.

Update: Chigs is wearing The First Pair of Hot Glasses He Wore™

There was a joke?

I got the joke until Paul turned up as Elvis, but I don’t think anyone baked Elvis last year … Can we petition Paul to stop dressing up during the introductions?

I swear they only do these surreal openers to confuse viewers who are watching on mute.

Matt’s come dressed as the Pringles man that Laura made last year.

laura has made the man from the pringles can #GBBO

— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) September 22, 2020

Please don’t give them ideas

The best description I’ve ever heard. Has BTL peaked before the show even starts?!

Evening all. Patisserie week. This is going to be a lot of faffing about and lots of words that just mean cream isn’t it.

I’ve been pondering my disastrous Forbidden Ingredients of weeks gone by. Chantilly, tahini, olives and miso all flagrantly ignored their expulsion, ruining my night. This week, I’m holding out no hope. Yuzu is the ingredient. Do your worst, semi-finalists.

Right. Bingo cards at the ready:

  • A handshake (it’s been a while)
  • Crystelle using miso
  • Giuseppe recreating Munch’s Scream
  • Someone impersonating Giuseppe’s accent
  • Someone calling crème pâttissière “creme pattis-erie”
  • Michael becoming irrationally upset by the inclusion of this week’s Forbidden Ingredient.

Scott, you’ve forgotten the most important part of the episode, which was Chigs being … well … Chigs.

excuse me, daddy? sorry. daddy? sorry. daddy? sorry. #GBBO

— michael chakraverty (@mschakraverty) November 9, 2021

Before the semi-final gets going, here is a recap of last week’s episode:

  • Crystelle surprised and delighted us by using miso for the very first time in one of her bakes. Michael, thrilled that this ingredient has never been used in a bake before, reacted with enthusiastic surprise.
  • Lizzie used her Showstopper as a way to talk about her dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, and to tackle stereotypes and assumptions. Having such great representation on TV will make such a difference.

Yet, despite her cake getting great notes from the judges, Lizzie left the competition. No fear though, as she’s got a bright future ahead of her, dropping burns on TikTok.

Checkmate @lizzieacker_ #GBBO

— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) November 16, 2021

Hello Michael and hello you lovely readers. Cannot believe that we are at the semi-final already – and I also cannot work out who on Earth our winner is going to be. In case you are wondering where we stand … Jürgen has been Star Baker three times, Chigs and Giuseppe twice each, and Crystelle once.

Hello hello hello! It’s everyone’s favourite M&S, here for our penultimate week of patisserie [stifled sob]. Traditionally, things get a little less fun from here on out, as our contestants fix their sights on the winner’s cake plate. I’ve never really seen the point of a cake plate, myself … which is maybe why I didn’t win.


Scott Bryan and Michael Chakraverty

The GuardianTramp

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