Who?: The cleverest person ever to knead dough. Seriously – this young lad is a Cambridge graduate who now works as an aerospace designer for Rolls-Royce.
Kitchen credentials: In time-honoured Bake Off fashion, Andrew was taught the basics by his mum. Though she probably never thought of designing a baguette in the shape of a Concord, which is what he wants to do. Sacre bleu!
Most likely to: Get out his compass and set square to create towering bakes that will awe us with their architectural majesty. Before probably toppling over as he carries them to the judges.
Who?: Lee will be hoping that divine intervention will take him far in the competition. That’s because he’s a pastor at his local church. See what we did there?
Kitchen credentials: Don’t be fooled by his lack of interesting facial hair: Lee is technically a hipster contestant because he took up baking before it was cool. Back in the 80s, in fact, when he was laid up with an injury from playing cricket.
Most likely to: Stick to traditional flavours – his favourites are things like hazelnut, vanilla and chocolate, so he’ll be leaving the unicorn paté tarts to the other contestants. Will he play it too safe? Does this pastor have a prayer? (Expect more bad religious puns from Mel and Sue, btw.)
Who?: Clearly the trendiest contestant to enter the tent this year, Candice is into vintage stuff, owns a pug, and probably boasts an array of retro aprons at home. Also, at least one tabloid has facepalmingly picked her as the “sexy” contestant of 2016.
Kitchen credentials: Candice is a PE teacher, so you’d expect her to shun carby, cream-filled treats. But not a bit of it: she “loves cake” and was inspired by the example of her nan, who taught her the ropes.
Most likely to: Make no effort to conceal her shark-like ambition, while also endearing us to her by baking a cake in the shape of her beloved pug.
Who?: A mum-of-two who works as a nurse in an acute respiratory ward, so she’s well within her rights to spend any free moments on the sofa, tucking into Mr Kiplings. Yet she bakes too. Way to make us feel lazy, Kate.
Kitchen credentials: She first started baking on her family farm, so this is someone who is passionate about seasonal ingredients, and probably knows a thing or two about, like, gooseberries and stuff.
Most likely to: Concoct glorious fruit-slathered Victoria sponges and big golden meaty pies. She’s also notably bright and breezy, so even Paul Hollywood’s steely stare probably won’t faze her.
Who?: A mere nipper, 20-year-old politics student Michael will be hoping his natural talent outweighs his lack of experience. Saying that, being at uni, he knows all about cooking in shared kitchens.
Kitchen credentials: His family hails from Cyprus, and he’s good at Greek pastries – i.e. those flaky delicacies filled with salty cheese you can gobble down by the dozen before even realising what you’ve done to yourself. He also likes baking cakes with non-traditional flavours.
Most likely to: Try way too hard. Because in Bake Off speak, “non-traditional” translates as “terrifying Mary Berry with my signature seaweed sponge cake”.
Who?: A hairdresser from Wales who certainly knows how to work off the calories. She has a penchant for mountain walks, and once trekked the Andes. Never have pies been more richly deserved.
Kitchen credentials: Louise certainly knows her way around a mixing bowl, having made cakes for charity bake sales for the past decade. She also has an interest in using “different flours and flavours”, which we’re sure will make Hollywood’s eyes narrow with suspicion.
Most likely to: Earn Paul’s grudging respect with her special spelt/quinoa/tree bark loaves.
Who?: Tom has a well-posh-sounding job, as an “engagement manager” for the Royal Society of Arts. Sounds like hard work. Better eat some cake.
Kitchen credentials: We’re frankly surprised Tom’s chosen to undergo the bunting-clad calorie-fest of Bake Off, because he recently lost almost 5 stone. That is a HECK of a lot of stone. So should we expect healthier treats from his side of the tent?
Most likely to: Arrange sacks of strange, anonymous powders and essences on his bench, while smiling mysteriously to himself. He likes “unexpected ingredients”, you see.
Who?: Super-swot Benjamina was a straight A student at school, and recently came out of uni with a first in economics. So she won’t be so much kneading her dough as, er, quantitatively easing it into shape. (Economics puns are hard, OK?)
Kitchen credentials: Benjamina’s been baking since she was 14 so she’s definitely a dab hand with the ole’ KitchenAid. She also prides herself on her clean, contemporary style. So we’re expecting cupcakes you could hang in the Tate, frankly.
Most likely to: Be the anti-Mary Berry with modern and cutting-edge creations. No cutesy, retro kitsch-cakes from this one. (Now that we’ve said that, she’ll be putting doilies under everything, won’t she?)
Who?: Jane’s a garden designer, which would satisfy most people’s creative instincts, but she still has plenty of energy left over to create fantastic bakes.
Kitchen credentials: How much of a serious contender is Jane? Well, she tends to get up at 5am to get her home-made bread in the oven. And she can make ciabatta. And she’s mastered the notoriously difficult chocolate nemesis. AND her grandfather was a professional baker.
Most likely to: Oh just win the whole thing already.
Who?: He may work at a university now, but Rav is actually a criminologist by training. If his work area doesn’t go all CSI: Bunting we’ll be very disappointed.
Kitchen credentials: It’s Rav’s sister who deserves the credit for getting him into baking, and he’s now gone his own way with a passion for unusual ingredient combos, Far Eastern flavours, and vegan baking.
Most likely to: Make Paul Hollywood roll his eyes at the prospect of vegan pastry, only to win him over by serving up delicious butter-free things. Actually, what are we thinking? Hollywood won’t be won over by ANYTHING without butter in it.
Who?: She may be semi-retired now, but Val used to be a head teacher, so we don’t think she’ll be too intimidated by the likes of Paul and Mary.
Kitchen credentials: Val is 66 now, and has been baking since she was 15. That’s a heck of a lot of experience at the oven-face. She also likes doing aerobics in the kitchen while waiting for jam to simmer. Sounds like the perfect idea for a special Bake Off fitness DVD, that.
Most likely to: Be the cheeky one who teams up with Mary, Mel and Sue to playfully treat Paul like the overgrown cheeky schoolboy he so clearly is.
Who?: Selasi hails from Ghana, and moved to the UK as a teenager. He’s now a bigshot at a financial company, so try not to boo and hiss. He’s probably lovely really.
Kitchen credentials: It all started with fairy cakes at uni, and now Selasi is a serious baking addict. That’s when he’s not working incredibly long hours, playing basketball, riding motorbikes, and running marathons for charities. What is it with Bake Off and contestants who make us feel all inadequate?
Most likely to: Be efficient, brilliant, talented and charming. Try not to hate him.
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