Now that the Great British Bake Off 2021 has come to a simmer, the GBBO contestants reveal everything you knead to know.
The Great British Bake Off 2021 has officially ended. Yes, it's a very sad time. We've watched the GBBO contestants whisk to the finish line, holding our breath, watching through the gaps in our fingers, laughing and gasping as the amateur bakers impress the judges (and us) with their complex bakes.
From traditional German Bread to classic bakes, like carrot cake and Belgian buns, the GBBO contestants wowed us yet again with their phenomenal baking skills. Seriously, how do they get those mini rolls looking so neat?!
But we're still missing a few key details, like where do the bakes disappear to once they've been judged? How is the Great British Bake Off actually filmed? What's next for the GBBO star bakers? A lot of these questions remain unanswered... until now.
Who were the GBBO contestant finalists?
The GBBO contestants in the dramatic finale were: Italian engineer Giuseppe Dell'Anno, Crystelle Pereira and Sales Manager Chigs Parmar. Chigs won star baker back in week eight, despite being relatively new to baking himself.
Crystelle's mixed heritage (Kenyan-born and Portuguese-Goan parents) teased us with all places she's visited, adding flavour combinations that made the mouth melt. On the other continent, Giuseppi sprinkled his Italian flavours in the mix, inspired by his own father who was a professional chef.
Who won this year's Great British Bake Off?
The remaining bakers were tasked with a trio of tasks, the crème de la crème being to create a showstopper and themed banquet display inspired by the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
In a tense 60 minutes, the bakers scrambled their ingenuity until the very last second, baking a mixture of sweet and savoury items. Giuseppe stole the show with a garden-themed board, including miniature bottles that read "drink me" and the famous shrinking mushroom.
Indeed, the engineer's precision during the showstopper challenge is what inevitably crowned Giuseppe the winner of the Great British Bake Off 2021. However, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith admit that choosing one winner was one of the hardest decisions in the show's history.
Where is the Great British Bake Off filmed?
Another big question is the location of the iconic tent, which is home to twelve bakers across 8 weeks. The Channel 4 series is filmed in on the rounds of Down Hall, in Hatfield Heath down in Essex. Perhaps it's time to take a trip there, it's basically a national landmark now.
What happens to the bakes once they've been judged?
A very serious question. Whilst our mouths salivate and we're taunted with delicious bakes, watching Prue and Paul savour each taste, where do the treats disappear to afterwards?
"We get to eat them!" says firm-favourite, Lizzie. The jealousy is real.
When did you first start baking and what was your first bake?
Retired nurse and midwife Maggie from Dorset tells us that her first bake was a humble soda bread at just age 4! While many kids that age were probably frolicking in the park or playing with their toys, this keen bean began baking and curating her skills.
Similarly, Lizzie reveals that she started baking when she was just a kid. She says: "I was a bit of a hobby dropper, so Keyboard, Ju-Jitsu and skateboarding all got dropped, I would come to baking." And thus, true passion was born.
What's your favourite childhood dish?
Maggie and Lizzie have chosen very traditional British dishes. For Lizzie, her favourite childhood meal is Bubble and Squeak, whilst Maggie testifies that hers is "Shepherds pie - probably still is!" We don't blame you; and with the winter months ahead, it sounds perfectly warming.
How do you apply for GBBO and get short-listed?
Something we don't really know anything about is the process of how the GBBO contestants become part of the show. Well, now we've discovered the missing ingredient.
"Contestants for next year’s GBBO are invited to download and fill in the application form from about halfway through the series," says Maggie. "If the casting directors like your application, you go through to the next round and so on and so on. Each round is great fun!" So there you have it, folks. You can rest easy tonight with this knowledge.
What is filming the Great British Bake Off really like?
We tune in every Tuesday night at 8pm to watch each individual master their signature bake. But let's not forget that on average, one task alone can take around 4 hours. Now unless they're pulling an all-nighter (which they're not) you'd be exhausted just after one signature challenge. So how do they do it?
Maggie uncovers the magic secret. It's a simple illusion: the bakers wear the same clothes for continuity. "The days are long and fun." She continues: "The production team make sure you have breaks, refreshments and support throughout the day.
The GBBO contestants also are aware of the challenges ahead of time to allow them to perfect their bakes on and off-screen. Sometimes they have to repeat lines or re-do takes if a line is fluffed up, and overall, it can take up to 16 hours per day of filming. Jheez Louise!
Tell us about the atmosphere inside the iconic GBBO tent?
It's the most random idea, yet it's become one of the signature selling points of the Great British Bake Off: the famous white tent and the British bunting flags.
"The atmosphere in the tent is really fun with an added element of anticipation. The judges, Noel and Matt and all the team really help to keep it all light-hearted." Lizzie adds that "It can go from fun to tense in seconds." We think it must also smell like heaven.
Where do all the ingredients come from?
The ingredients all magically appear in aesthetically pleasing mason jars without any labels (to prevent product placement). Obviously, they're real, but who sources and pays for them?
"Ingredients are sourced, checked and provided by the production team for the filming." Maggie reveals. Almost like the mysterious little shoemaker elves, working overtime behind the scenes...
Which was your favourite week of GBBO 2021?
"Seeing the tent for the first time and coming to terms with the fact I was there!" Explains Maggie. For Lizzie, she contends that: "There’s so many! Week one was special as we were all there."
At Thrillz we're pretty partial to the German Week, which saw the GBBO contestants find traditional german bread a tricky round in their baking careers. Except for Jürgen, who is from the Black Forest in Germany. Such glück.
What was the most stressful moment on GBBO 2021?
Now, we all know that the technical challenge is no piece of cake, even if it is the well-loved baklava. But what do this year's contestants have to say?
In a twisting turn of events, Maggie reveals: "In all honesty, I didn’t find it too stressful - I enjoyed it so much." Although she does admit that "it is disappointing when things don’t go as well as in practice."
On the other hand, Lizzie says the time limits are the worst! She prefers simple presentation when creating bakes, and her baking comfort zone is cake. So naturally, time constraints only add extra pressure to an already tense environment.
What are your plans now?
Like a child who doesn't want to go to bed, Maggie says "I don’t want the fun to end!" She continues: "I am, however, a much more adventurous baker than I was before and have discovered a delight in French patisserie. I have already done a few courses and have another one booked. I would love to bake in a bakery for a day. Watch this space..."
Lizzie has opted to live in the moment: "A few more trips with Freya [Cox] and then just enjoy and appreciate whatever happens!"
What are all the other GBBO contestants doing?
Meanwhile, the first baker to leave the Great British Bake Off, Tom, continues to bake and work in the family software company; whilst Rochica – the third contestant to leave GBBO after her devastating milk bread loss – blesses our timeline with her gorgeous celebration cakes.
Jairzinho enjoys sprinkling his yummy bakes with Caribbean spices – it's dessert week every week on his Instagram.
The youngest of the GBBO contestants this year was Freya Cox, a psychology student from North Yorkshire, who regularly posts pictures and online videos of her incredible and elaborate bakes, from French Fancies to vegan custard slices!
Police Detective Amanda Georgiou (who is of Greek-Cypriot heritage) was famed for her added feminine aesthetic to her creative bakes. She recently attended the BBC Good Food Show to mingle and get inspired by like-minded bakers.
Do the GBBO contestants still keep in touch?
Yes! In an interview with Lorraine on ITV, the GBBO 2021 winner Giuseppe revealed: "We've got a WhatsApp group and they’re the first people I speak to in the morning and the last people I speak to in the evening." Aww! Now that's wholesome content.
Since you're here...
Did you know that you can get a personalised video message from the GBBO contestants right here at Thrillz? It's true. You can book Maggie, Lizzie, Chigs Parmar, Amanda, the Greek baking genius George Aristou and Rochica for any occasion. Don't thank us – it's the yeast we can do...
Feature image credit: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions.