Entertainment

Half a dozen of Bake Off’s most iconic and beloved queer bakers

Maggie Baska September 21, 2021
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side by side images of LGBT+ bakers Great British Bake Off contestants David Atherton and Yan

Beloved show the Great British Bake Off has played host to several LGBT+ bakers, including season 10 winner David Atherton and series eight fan-favourite Yan. (YouTube/Channel 4/The Great British Bake Off)

Bake Off, arguably one of TV’s campest shows, is back. To celebrate, we’ve taken a look back at some of our favourite LGBT+ bakers.

The TV mainstay has an irresistible formula that millions of fans worldwide can’t get enough of: Stunning creations, the odd baking disaster, and more innuendos than you can shake a stick at.

It’s also quietly one of TV’s most diverse programmes, boasting a host of LGBT+ contestants and presenters.

A dozen more baking hopefuls will arrive in the tent – and on screens – Tuesday (21 September) for the latest slice of Bake Off.

Ahead of the new season, here are just some of the LGBT+ bakers that were a delicious cherry on top of the cake.

Michael Chakraverty

 

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Chakraverty became one of Bake Off’s most iconic contestants during the 2019 season. He shared many of his childhood memories living in the highlands of Scotland with the nation, filling fans with all the warm fuzzies.

He once created a spice-filled biscuit in the shape of a Highland cow that he named Hamish, which is arguable the cutest thing ever.

After appearing on the hit show, Chakraverty has continued to share his passion for baking, producing several baking videos for Netflix.

He recently opened up on Twitter about the hilarious time he was suspended from Grindr for impersonating himself. In a blog for Metro, he added that he used Grindr as “part of my dating life”, and he was “no longer interested in hiding it”.

He is also a huge Lil Nas X fan (like many of us) and penned a fantastic article about his “future husband” for Metro.

Chuen-Yan ‘Yan’ Tsou

 

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Scientist Yan took the internet by storm when she appeared on the eighth instalment of Bake Off. The amateur baker from London brought her scientific skills to the tent as well as her amazing decorating prowess.

During the 2020 season, she participated in a staggered technical challenge where the bakers were expected to create several delicious molton chocolate puddings filled with peanut butter. At the end of her bake, Yan presented the judges with a suggestibly-shaped arrangement of puddings.

The hilarious arrangement had viewers in stitches and secured Yan’s place in Bake Off meme-dom.

In true Bake Off fashion, the show also delved into Yan’s home life and her lovely relationship with her wife, Marian. She wrote in a blog for Huffington Post in 2017 that she wanted to be a “role model for LGTBQ of all ages” to show that “being different IS normal”.

Ruby Tandoh

 

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Since reaching the Bake Off final in 2013, Ruby Tandoh has built a reputation as a brilliant food writer and author, with her latest book, Cook as You Are, taking the “aspiration out of cooking and finding ways to enjoy the kitchen no matter your budget or experience”.

Tandoh previously told PinkNews that she thinks the whole concept behind Bake Off just screams “queer culture”.

“It’s the most ridiculous, camp, over the top thing in the world – a baking competition? In a massive tent? With innuendos and piping bags and flamboyant cakes?”

Tandoh came out publicly on Twitter in 2015 by sharing a link to the Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out”.

“Me to my parents today. feeling lucky and joyful and f r e e,” she wrote.

Famously, she also took a pop at those who suggested she’d flirted with judge Paul Hollywood to get ahead in the competition.

“‘p.s. for those who thought I fancied Paul Hollywood or that I’d ever bang him to get ahead – JOKE’S ON YOU, YOU MASSIVE S****ING MISOGYNISTS.”

Tamal Ray

 

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Season six heartthrob Tamal Ray revealed he is gay after being inundated with amorous offers from female fans on Twitter, Evening Standard reported. He told Radio Times in 2015 that he “wouldn’t have a girlfriend” but would “have a boyfriend”.

During his time on Bake Off, Ray acquired a legion of dedicated fans with his charming personality and stellar creations. Fans were over the moon when he was crowned Star Baker during week seven of his stint on Bake Off. 

Ray created a beautiful game pie with a Middle Eastern twist that earned him a well-deserved Paul Hollywood handshake. Right after his win, what did he do? Call his mum, who screamed with joy at the news. Adorable!

Outside his time in the tent, Ray is an NHS doctor and has built a thriving career on TV as a presenter on Channel 4’s Live Well For Longer. He’s also a food columnist for the Guardian’s Feast magazine.

David Atherton

 

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Atherton was crowned the winner of the 10th series of Bake Off in 2019 after his showstopper picnic basket bowled Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood over. On the show, he impressed the judges and fans with his unique flavours and healthier bakes.

During the series, Atherton also flexed his art and design skills, creating a vibrant, sculpted dragon cake complete with an egg that fulfilled every child’s (and adult’s, let’s be real) birthday cake dreams.

He also famously once tried to sneak a badge with the words “I love anal” written onto it into the tent. But before he could become even more of an icon, producers spotted Atherton’s pin at the last minute.

Atherton recently shared his most embarrassing Bake Off moment with PinkNews, recalling how he “weed all over my apron” during an emergency toilet break, but carried on unphased. That’s dedication.

John Whaite

 

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Whaite is another gay winner of Bake Off, taking the crown in the third series in 2012 with his heaven and hell showstopper cake. He has since had a successful career as a chef, TV presenter and author.

Though he eventually took home the crown, Whaite might also be known for causing some of the biggest missteps in Bake Off history.

He could have gone home during the season premiere after he accidentally committed one of baking’s biggest sins – mixing up salt and sugar while making some 1970s style rum babas. The final result was so bad that Hollywood spat out the offending baked goods and warned Mary Berry not to try them.

Later in the series, Whaite managed to cut his finger while making a strudel and had to withdraw from the round. But not one to give up, he came back stronger than ever and won the show and fan’s hearts.

Whaite recently made headlines as one-half of the first all-male partnership for this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking to PA, Whaite said he hoped his partnership will inspire young, queer people to “not feel afraid or ashamed of who they are”.

And of course, don’t forget the presenters!

Of course, the amateur bakers of the show are its central focus, but Bake Off has had several LGBT+ hosts in its lengthy history. This includes the unforgettable Sue Perkins, the hilarious Sandi Toksvig and more recently Matt Lucas – who joined the Bake Off cast in 2020.

Perkins presented Bake Off alongside her comedy partner Mel Giedroyc from 2010 through to 2016, leaving when the show moved from the BBC to Channel 4. The hysterical duo brought smiles to viewers across the globe with their witty banter and humorous innuendos during their time on the popular TV show.

It was a devastating blow to Bake Off fans everywhere when Toksvig announced she would be leaving the show after three years at the helm opposite Noel Fielding. She kept fans in stitches with her well-timed barbs at the fellow host.

Toksvig also had viewers leaping off their seats in shock after she accidentally destroyed Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s cake during Celebrity Bake Off. Not one to stick around, she quickly fled the scene of the crime after the disastrous moment.

Though he’s only been on the show a short time, Lucas has made a name for himself on Bake Off for his quirky sense of humour, which blends well with Fielding’s similar personality. His impression of prime minister Boris Johnson during the opening of the baking contest sparked both outrage and laughter. It also resulted in more than 200 complaints to television regulator Ofcom.

Related topics: The Great British Bake Off

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