Winners of reality competition shows often receive $1 million or some other major prize … but not on “The Great British Baking Show.”
When it comes to the grand prize, the show is an anomaly — whoever earns the title of best amateur baker just gets some serious bragging rights.
But for some winners of “The Great British Baking Show,” which is called the “Great British Bake Off” in its home nation, it acts as a launchpad for subsequent success and fame in the form of book deals, hosting spots, or contributor positions at food magazines.
In honor of a new winner being crowned this week (spoilers below!), here is what every winner of “The Great British Baking Show” is up to today.
Edd Kimber was the show’s first winner in 2010.
Back when there were only 10 contestants and the competition only lasted six weeks, the former debt collector beat fellow finalists Ruth Clemens and Miranda Gore Browne to earn the inaugural title of “GBBO’s” best amateur baker.
At the time, the show was hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and judged by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. Of this original lineup, only Hollywood remains: The others left after the show moved networks from the BBC to Channel 4 in 2017.
Prue Leith is now a judge alongside Hollywood, while comedians Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas host.
Kimber went on to have a successful career in baking and cookbook writing. He released his fifth baking book in October.
Following his victory on “Bake Off,” Kimber worked in the pastry kitchen of famed French chef Raymond Blanc’s restaurant, Le Manoir, according to The Huffington Post.
Since then, Kimber has published four cookbooks. His fifth, “One Tin Bakes Easy,” was released in October.
He also contributes to a variety of food magazines including Olive, BBC Good Food, and Sainsbury’s, and he runs The Boy Who Bakes blog. He has also made appearances on numerous British TV shows including “Sunday Brunch” and “The Alan Titchmarsh Show,” where he was resident baker in 2014. He also appeared on the Food Network with his own Christmas special in 2013, according to his website.
In the show’s first season with 12 contestants, Jo Wheatley emerged as the winner.
Wheatley, a mom of three, surpassed Holly Bell and Mary-Anne Boermans to win the second season. In the final, she wowed with white chocolate and pistachio meringues.
In the years since, Jo Wheatley has launched a blog and a baking school, and she has published two books.
She runs the blog Jo’s Blue AGA, has turned her home in Essex into a cookery school (which The Guardian included in its Top Five UK Baking Schools), has published two cookbooks, and has contributed recipes to publications including The Sun, The Mirror, BBC Good Food Magazine, and Hello magazine, according to Limelight Celebrity Management.
According to her Instagram, Wheatley lives in Lisbon but spends much of her time with her grandchildren and traveling the world with her husband.
A 23-year-old law student at the time, John Whaite beat Brendan Lynch and James Morton in a surprise win.
Even though he got off on the wrong foot in the very first episode of season three (he sprinkled salt into his baking tin instead of sugar during that week’s technical bake), John Whaite persevered to win the third season of “Bake Off” with a chocolate chiffon cake.
Whaite is now taking part in “Strictly Come Dancing,” the British version of “Dancing With the Stars.” He’s part of the show’s first male same-sex dancing duo.
Since his win in 2012, Whaite has published four cookbooks, earned his patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, served as a judge for the ITV cooking competition “Chopping Block,” and even opened his own cookery school.
In 2018, Whaite announced his plan to pursue his original dream of becoming a barrister.
However, he’s back in the spotlight again as he’s currently a contestant on “Strictly Come Dancing,” where he’s paired with professional dancer Johannes Radebe. They received a standing ovation for their first performance.
Frances Quinn entered the season four finale as an underdog but won the competition thanks to an impressive wedding cake.
Frances Quinn overcame some baking disasters, like when host Mel Giedroyc accidentally knocked over Quinn’s biscuit tower when measuring its height, to win season four of “GBBO.” Her show-stopping, three-tier wedding cake, inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” pushed her ahead of the other two finalists, with judge Paul Hollywood saying it “beat the other two guys hands down,” according to The Guardian.
Quinn has appeared on multiple TV shows and in the pages of British Vogue.
The 39-year-old clothes designer-turned-pro-baker published the cookbook “Quinntessential Baking” in 2015. She has also made many appearances on TV and radio shows including “This Morning,” and she has contributed recipes to outlets including BBC Food.
She’s still posting photos of delicious bakes on her Instagram page.
Nancy Birtwhistle, who managed a doctor’s office before appearing on season five, beat the formidable Richard Burr at age 60 to become the oldest ever winner.
Despite previously applying to the show but being turned down and fan-favorite Richard Burr winning the highest number of star baker awards in “GBBO” history, Nancy Birtwhistle, the queen of consistency, went on to win season five.
“Fancy Nancy” wowed the judges with her intricate baking skills, including a particularly splendid summer pudding Alaska and a miniature version of Paris’ Moulin Rouge made of ginger and orange biscuits during the finale.
In January, Birtwhistle published a book packed with advice for running an environmentally friendly home.
At the start of 2021, she released “Clean & Green: 101 Hints and Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home.”
She regularly posts recipes on her website and has an engaged Instagram following. According to her website, she enjoys traveling to France and swapping recipes, and she has a Labrador named Meg who at one point qualified for the Crufts dog show.
Nadiya Hussain’s victory speech remains memorable.
Always a fan-favorite for her sass and animated facial expressions, and not to mention her outstanding baked creations (remember her tiered cheesecake with the floating soda can?), Nadiya Hussain is one of the most adored winners in “Bake Off” history.
And who could forget her emotional and encouraging victory speech? She captured the hearts of the public even more after proclaiming, “I’m never, ever gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say ‘I can’t do it.’ I’m never gonna say ‘maybe.’ I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”
Nadiya Hussain is arguably the most successful victor in “Bake Off” history.
Hussain has been extremely busy since winning “Bake Off,” publishing an impressive collection of cookbooks, novels, children’s and picture books, and becoming a monthly columnist at The Times Magazine.
She has also created a line of toy cookware, starred on and hosted a number of TV shows, including “Nadiya Bakes” and “Time to Eat.” Her new show, “Fast Flavours,” comes out later this year. She has also received awards, including being named one of BBC’s 100 women in 2016.
Oh, and she baked Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday cake.
Season seven winner Candice Brown, a PE teacher, was known for her red lipstick and her creativity in the kitchen.
It was clear early on in the season that Candice Brown was a front-runner. With creations like her gingerbread pub (which helped her win star baker that week and gifted us the “Who wants to eat some carpet” joke) to her elaborate marzipan peacock (which some fans of the show accused her of stealing from Nadiya Hussain), Brown regularly wowed the judges and surged ahead of competitors to win the “Bake Off” crown.
Brown swapped her career as a teacher to become a pub owner. Earlier this year, she released a book, “Happy Cooking.”
For a period after her win, Brown returned to her job as a PE teacher, telling Hello magazine in 2018, “When I went into school after the final was on TV the kids went: ‘Why are you in, miss? You’re a millionaire!’ I was like, ‘No I’m not,’ and stood outside eating my school dinner on duty in the cold.”
In 2017, Brown released the cookbook “Comfort: Delicious Bakes and Family Treats” and she appeared on the TV show “Dancing on Ice” in 2018. She has also appeared on “This Morning” and “Lorraine” multiple times to talk baking.
In 2019, Brown revealed that she and her brother bought a pub named The Green Man in Eversholt, Bedfordshire. She was forced to close it during lockdown, but it’s open for business again.
This summer, she released “Happy Cooking,” which features recipes for pick-me-up meals. At the time of its release, she spoke about her mental health struggles following “GBBO,” and how tough it was to write the book.
Sophie Faldo served in the military before winning season eight.
Prior to her win, Faldo served in Afghanistan with the Royal Artillery, according to Forces, and was training to be a stuntwoman. During her time on the show, she climbed the ranks from amateur baker to eventually win it all, impressing the judges with her specialty cakes.
Faldo’s victory was notoriously spoiled after judge Prue Leith accidentally tweeted the winner’s name out prematurely. Leith apologized for the mistake and explained she was confused by the different time zones between Britain and Bhutan, where she was vacationing.
Sophie Faldo said she had a tough time dealing with the attention that came with winning the show.
Faldo told the BBC in 2017 that she’s “a private person” who struggled with the level of public attention — especially from the tabloids — she received following her victory.
Like her fellow winners, she went on to write recipes for multiple publications, such as The Telegraph and The Sunday Times. She had a deal for a cookbook but, according to Bustle, is still working on it after parting ways with her management company.
She also runs Sophie Faldo Couture Cakes, described on its website as “luxury fine cakes and dessert tables.”
University of Sheffield professor Rahul Mandal wowed the judges and captured the public’s hearts with his baking skills in season nine.
Even though his glass storage jars shattered from heat in the tent, covering his work station with tiny fragments of glass shards and compromising his mixture during the finals, Rahul Mandal managed to get back on track and win season nine of the show.
Mandal took a second “Bake Off” crown when he won the New Year’s special in January 2021.
After winning “Bake Off,” Mandal returned to his job as a professor and Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center researcher at the University of Sheffield. He also created the #AMRCtribe campaign in 2019 to encourage more women to become engineers, calling on them to “Be brave, try new things and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Mandal still bakes and shares his elaborate creations on his Instagram page. His recipes have also appeared in The Times Magazine.
He returned to the”Bake Off” tent for a seasonal New Year’s special, which aired in January, and proved his first win was no fluke. He beat season five winner Nancy Birtwhistle, and season 10 competitors Henry Bird and Helena Garcia to win.
“What a privilege to be in the tent with these three!” he wrote alongside a photo of the four bakers on Instagram. “Was I #nervous ? Ofcourse I was! I was in the tent with THE NANCY, THE HENRY and THE HELENA!!!! Was fan-boying them the whole time! To the extent that people might think it is a bit creepy!”
David Atherton was the first “GBBO” winner to never earn a star baker recognition during his time on the show.
David Atherton studied art and design before transitioning to working in nursing and healthcare. He told iNews in 2019 that he had been a fan of “Bake Off” since its first season and dreamed of appearing on the show.
Once he earned a spot on the 12-person roster, he didn’t waste any time racing toward the crown of best amateur baker. He wowed the judges with many of his creations, including a special memory cake he said was inspired by his first date with his partner and a technical challenge-winning Moroccan pie.
Atherton, who has a master’s degree in public health, has published three cookbooks with a focus on healthy eating.
He has also become a columnist for The Guardian.
Most importantly, he stays in touch with his fellow “Bake Off” competitors, as evidenced by photos on Instagram.
Peter Sawkins, then 20, became the youngest winner in “Bake Off” history when he won season 11. He said watching the show when he was 12 got him into baking.
Sawkins beat Dave Friday and Laura Adlington to take the crown in November 2020. As well as becoming the youngest ever winner, he also became the first Scottish baker to take the crown.
It was a year of other firsts as well: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the contestants and crew had to self-isolate for nine days and then live together in a hotel for six weeks. Their partners, children, and dogs were invited too, and all of the ingredients for their bakes were pre-ordered. The bakers had individual kitchens in the hotel so they could practice, and Matt Lucas even hosted a bingo night to keep them entertained, The Guardian reported.
The season 12 winner has just been crowned.
Three top-tier bakers made the final in 2021, but only one could walk away the champion. After a consistent performance throughout the season and a nail-biting final, Giuseppe Dell’Anno was named the winner. He could only look at his trophy in shock as fellow finalists Crystelle Pereira and Chigs Parmar threw their arms around him.
According to the show, Dell’Anno is now working in Milan and is hoping to write a book with his father, who inspired his love of baking.