Food News

Where Are Your Favorite ‘Great British Bake Off’ Contestants Now?

Out of the tent, into real life.

February 27, 2023
Photo by MJ Kroeger

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For ten weeks, they charm us with their sky-high sweets, poise under pressure, and tenacious treats, but after the tent flaps shut, we pretty much only hear from former Great British Bake Off contestants when they show up on holiday specials. What happens when the people we cheered on, the ones who broke our hearts with soggy bottoms, and those who warmed our hearts with Hollywood handshakes return to daily life?

So, we checked in on the past winners, fan favorites, and beloved bakers to see what they’ve been up to. Some developed delightfully endearing friendships they share on social media, others used their newfound following to sell a cookbook, and a few simply returned to their previous lives, leaving their time on the television behind. Here’s where you’ll find your favorites now.

1. Edd Kimber

GBBO’s first winner, in 2010, spun his fame into multiple cookbooks, starting with Boy Who Bakes in 2011, then Say it with Cake, Patisserie Made Simple, One Tin Bakes, and most recently, Small Batch Bakes. Last fall, he debuted a newsletter, enticing subscribers with an inside look at his path to the show and behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

2. Joanne Wheatley

Like Edd, Jo, winner of Season 2 in 2011, jumped straight from her win into the industry, publishing A Passion for Baking in 2012 and Home Baking in 2014. She also started a cooking school and a personal blog – despite her post-victory revelation of her husband’s incarceration. Since then (and since his release), they retired to the coast of Portugal, where she says the iffy oven keeps her from developing too many recipes.

3. John Whaite

Just a 23-year-old law student when he won Season 3 in 2012, John put his life plan on pause to follow the oven-dream. He headed to culinary school and published a handful of books, including John Whaite Bakes, John Whaite Bakes at Home, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients, Comfort, and Flash in the Pan. He also returned to reality TV in 2016, first as a presenter on The Chopping Block and then in 2021 as a finalist on Strictly Come Dancing, the show on which Dancing with the Stars is modeled.

4. Frances Quinn

Frances used her artistic background to produce beautiful bakes on the show as the winner of Season 4 in 2013, and she continues to combine her design chops with her baking talent. These days she makes bespoke cakes and does promotional partnerships including workshops, recipes, and on social media. Most notably, she has broken the Guinness World Record for making the world’s largest version of the British sweet called Jaffa Cake—twice! And, yes, of course, she has a cookbook, too: Quintessential Baking.

5. Nancy Birtwhistle

Already retired by the time she took up baking, Nancy still didn’t miss a beat after winning the fifth edition in 2014, expanding her repertoire from pastry to plants. She wrote a self-published cookbook, Sizzle and Drizzle, but more recently moved to mainstream publishing with Clean & Green: 101 Hints and Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home, followed by Green Living Made Easy. Her next book, The Green Gardening Handbook, comes out in July.

6. Nadiya Hussain

Perhaps Bake-Off’s most famous winner, Nadiya endeared herself to viewers almost immediately while winning Season 6 in 2015. Years later, she continues to do so with her many television shows, most recently in the U.S.—Nadiya Bakes and Nadiya’s Time to Eat came to Netflix in 2021 and 2020, respectively. She also baked for the Queen’s 90th birthday party, started a housewares line, and published a memoir, seven cookbooks, four children’s books, and three novels.

7. Candice Brown

Like her comrades, Season 7 winner Candice published cookbooks—Comfort and Happy Cooking—and did a few other reality television stints before finding her own direction: updating and running a 200-year-old pub called The Green Man with her brother Ben.

8. Sophie Faldo

One of the few winners to return to her previous career and the first to not publish a cookbook, Sophie went back to her job with the military after becoming the champion of Season 8 in 2017 and remains in the reserves. She didn’t completely abandon her baking, though: She opened a bespoke cake shop in 2019, though the domain has since expired and the social media have gone dormant.

9. Rahul Mandal

Following Sophie’s lead, Season 9 winner Rahul also mostly stepped back into private life after victory in 2018, working as a researcher at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre of the University of Sheffield. He still bakes, as evidenced by his stunning Instagram, and in his very busy 2022, he got married and released a cookbook called Showstopping Cakes.

10. David Atherton

David wasted no time after his Season 10 win in 2019, quickly publishing a cookbook for children called My First Cook Book: Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook. He followed that up with two more titles—another kids book as well as one for adults—that combined his Bake Off talents with his career as a health advisor. He also has a podcast called the Sticky Bun Boys with his GBBO tent-mate, Michael Chakraverty.

11. Peter Sawkins

After making every longtime GBBO viewer feel ancient by talking about how he grew up watching the show, Season 11 champion Sawkins became the youngest winner, at age 21. After his win, he went back to the University of Edinburgh, where he still studies accounting and finance. But even with that, he found time to publish a cookbook, Peter Bakes.

12. Giuseppe Dell’Anno

The Italian engineer won Season 12 in 2021, and is as beloved for his hair and accented charm as he is for his baking. Guiseppe spent the year since his win putting together a book called Italian Bakes, and even did a stint judging on the Italian version of Bake Off.

13. Syabira Yusoff

Cardiovascular research scientist Syabira has barely had a moment to spare since her Malaysian flavors and creative baking took the title of the most recent Bake Off season, which wrapped in November 2022. While she has officially stated that she’s back at her job, Syabira’s Instagram shows that she’s still keeping up with her fellow contestants and sharing lots of exciting recipes. She’s also said that she hopes to write a Malaysian cookbook in the future.

14. Ruby Tandoh

One of the most outspoken contestants post-Bake Off and definitely one of the most involved in the food world today (particularly given that she was a finalist on Season 4, not a winner), Ruby’s pivot to food writing involves cookbooks, but also much more. Her baking book, Crumb, and her second book, Flavour, came out in the years following her GBBO appearance. She also wrote a column for The Guardian from just after her season in 2013 until 2018, where she grew increasingly outspoken about the issues in the industry. After leaving that role, she wrote two more books: an essay collection, Eat Up, and a cookbook, Cook as You Are, in which she advocates for accessibility, enjoyment, and pride in the kitchen.

15. Kim-Joy Hewlett

The delightful finalist lost to Rahul in Season 9, but won in our hearts with her whimsical baking. Kim-Joy carried on the quirky, fun, and imaginative vibes on in her first trio of cookbooks, Baking with Kim-Joy, Celebrate with Kim-Joy, and Christmas with Kim-Joy, and continues to do so, becoming, perhaps, her fullest self in her upcoming book, Bake Me a Cat, due out in May.

16. Lizzie Acker & Freya Cox

David and Michael aren’t the only pair that teamed up for their post-show projects. After departing Season 12 in weeks five and eight, vegan teenager Freya and colorful castmate Lizzie joined up outside the tent, becoming roommates and creating an endlessly entertaining TikTok account. But it’s not all fun and games in the house: Freya also wrote a cookbook, Simply Vegan Baking.

17. Jurgen Krauss

Honestly, Jurgen’s own summary of his year since shocking fans by missing the GBBO finals in Season 12 is worth reading yourself. His Instagram handle, “Jurgen the Bread,” showcases the self-effacing dry humor that made him a fan favorite, and the account covers his baking, physics work, and, somehow, him playing trombone with indie pop group Japanese Breakfast.

Who’s your favorite GBBO alum? Tell us your thoughts below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ginny
  • bailey
  • HalfPint
Naomi Tomky

Written by: Naomi Tomky

The world's most enthusiastic eater of everything


ginny March 10, 2023
James Morton will ever be my favorite. He has two bread cookbooks…I love the sourdough one especially. He also has a gloriously beautiful cookbook called Shetland, which contains his father’s photographs. They since collaborated again. Love, love, love the charm of the Shetland teas. I hope to someday visit. I believe James is off practicing medicine as well.
bailey February 27, 2023
I'm such a fan of the show that I can't really name a favorite, but I did enjoy Henry Bird's (series 10, 2019) approach to the show and to baking.
HalfPint February 27, 2023
Season 5 was the first GBBO season that I watched and that group remains my favorite. James the builder was my favorite. Wish that this article had included Luis Troyano who passed away in 2020. He was definitely a favorite for many.