It’s finally time for the Great British Bake Off semi final and there’s only four contestants left in the running for the fancy cake stand – oh, and the title.
We’ve seen some outrageously good bakes, some outstanding show-stoppers, a brand new Great British Bake Off theme, and well, some disasters along the way but the time is almost upon us to crown the winner.
After Marc’s shock exit last week, Hermine, Dave, Laura and Peter will battle it out tonight for a spot in the final.
But who will make it all the way? Get to know your semi-finalists with our handy guide to the Great British Bake Off 2020 contestants.
Who are the Great British Bake Off semi-finalists?
Job: Armoured guard
Who is Dave? As a child, Dave rarely ventured into the kitchen to cook, relying entirely on his mum’s cooking. However, after flying the nest, he taught himself to bake.
Now living with his girlfriend in their first home, he loves filling his kitchen with fancy, colourful gadgets and he even chooses his appliances with Bake Off in mind.
Dave bakes at least once a week – and always while listening to his favourite punk rock bands.
When he’s not baking, Dave can be found pursuing his other passions – cars, DIY, and taking his dog and cat for walks.
What’s his baking style like? His baking style is innovative and imaginative and his strengths lie in bread (pretzels, brioche rolls, and baguettes are particular favourites) and decoration – he especially loves a mirror glaze to give his bakes a professional-looking finish.
Strengths and weaknesess: “My strengths are the ability to learn from mistakes, take criticism and use it to improve. I am incredibly determined and see the positive in every situation. Weaknesses would be feeling overwhelmed when mess builds up and struggling with some baking jargon…. And French words!”
Who is Hermine? The accountant was born and raised in Benin, West Africa, and moved to London in 2001 to pursue further education.
Growing up, Hermine used to love helping her mum bake for big family gatherings, and then at the age of eight decided to go about it on her own. She bought the ingredients for a Savarin cake and threw herself into the challenge. And the rest is history!
What’s her baking style like? The French influence in Benin has instilled in Hermine a love of high-end pâtissérie – she enjoys baking intricate millefeuille, éclairs and entremets.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strength is my understanding of how ingredients work together and how to get flavours right. My weakness is the ability to get a clean neat finish under time pressure.”
Job: Digital manager
Who is Laura? Gravesend girl born and bred, Laura began baking at around the age of eight but realised her flair for it only a few years ago. Laura thrives working under pressure and thinks her organised nature is what particularly suited her to taking part in Bake Off. The perfectionist in her wants things to look faultlessly pretty and gorgeously dainty.
Laura is happily married to a Police Community Support Officer, and she loves musical theatre (as a performer and audience member) and is a volunteer for the Samaritans.
What’s her baking style? She loves citrus and strong flavours, and enjoys putting a modern twist on old classics. She specialises in decoration and is proud to have mastered the art of piped buttercream flowers.
Strengths and weaknesses: “I bake from the heart and love making things that pack a punch in terms of flavour. Finesse and refinement are not always my strong point.”
Job: Accounting & Finance Student
Who is Peter? The youngest contestant in series 11, Peter’s inspiration to bake comes from the show itself! He has watched every series since the first and has been baking seriously since he was only 12 years old.
When Peter isn’t baking, he is either upholding the family’s love of numbers by studying Accounting and Finance at university, or demonstrating his competitive streak on the badminton court. He has been playing badminton for a decade and has represented his county in the sport since 2012.
What’s his baking style? He loves to honour his homeland in his cooking, using Scottish ingredients – including berries, whisky, oats and honey – whenever he can.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strengths are time management and planning. My weaknesses are artistic decoration and bread baking.”
Marc – OUT week 8
Job: Bronze Resin Sculptor
Who is Marc? Born and raised in Leicester, fervent climber Marc spent his youth travelling the world and conquering mountains, before settling back in the UK and becoming a landscape photographer.
Personal tragedy, including losing his leg in a motorbike accident in 2016, led him to baking bread as a form of therapy, and from there he came to baking cakes and pastries.
He decided to enter Bake Off in a bid to show his daughters that even when life throws obstacles at you, you can rise to new challenges and develop new passions.
Marc is a support worker and single parent, and, with the support of his daughters, who are always there to cheer him on, he’s taken up climbing again.
What’s his baking style? From palmiers and chausson aux pommes to opera cakes and millefeuille, his bakes now show true finesse.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strengths are definitely bread and any dough based recipes – my weakness is cakes.”
Lottie – OUT week 7
From: West Sussex
Job: Pantomime producer
Who is Lottie? The pantomime producer believes baking is in her blood, as her Lancastrian great-grandmother was a fervent cake-baker.
From a young age, Lottie has had a fascination with cooking and would watch cooking shows rather than playing with her toys. She was also often found making notes from cookery books.
When she’s not baking or busy with her job producing pantomime, Lottie will be playing computer games with her young cousins, or practising yoga.
What’s her baking style? She calls herself a ‘perpetually frustrated perfectionist’ and, while her baking has become more refined over time, she hopes it retains an element of her dark sense of humour.
Strengths and weaknesses: “Weaknesses – timing and decoration. I get lost in making sure I know what I am doing technically so I often run out of time or serve something that looks nothing like I had expected or wanted it to! Strengths – Turns out I’m a fast learner! I taught myself a lot of techniques ahead of the show and really enjoyed the process.”
Mark – OUT week 6
Job: Project Manager
Who is Mark? Northern Irish Mark fell in love with baking at a pie shop in Edinburgh, which he visited every day while he was at university for the shop’s delicious Mac ’n’ Cheese pie.
Following that early inspiration, he began to experiment. His first challenge was a lemon drizzle cake, which he has now perfected, and he eventually took on a multi-tiered wedding cake.
When he isn’t baking, you can find Mark walking in the Lake District, indulging his passion for wildlife, or with his wife, travelling and exploring new places.
What’s his baking style? His style is hugely influenced by his Irish heritage, but also by the flavours of Africa and Asia, where he travels regularly for his work as a project manager for public health research programmes.
Strengths and weaknesses: “I think I am quite a versatile baker and always up for a challenge. My biggest weakness is baking to a time limit – at home I spend hours (and sometimes days!) baking something as a way of de-stressing, so I wasn’t sure how I would deal with that in the tent!”
Linda – OUT week 5
From: East Sussex
Job: Retirement Living Team Leader
Who is Linda? Linda discovered her passion for baking very early on. During childhood, she made frequent visits to her aunt’s dairy farm, just down the road from her own home.
She’d help to milk the cows, then carry a bucket of milk into the kitchen, where her aunt taught her to bake cakes topped with rich, creamy icing.
To this day, Linda buys homegrown produce from another aunt’s fruit farm and uses it in her baking.
A lover of the countryside and being outdoors, Linda will frequently head with her partner to their local beach, where she’ll fish for mackerel and mullet. She also loves sending time in her garden, cultivating its produce and having some general relaxation.
What’s her baking style? Her strengths lie in the classics and in home-comfort cooking, like her signature sausage rolls.
Strengths and weaknesses: “I think my experience over the years would be my strength, but my weakness is definitely poor timing.”
Sura – OUT week 4
Job: Pharmacy Dispenser
Who is Sura? The 31-year-old grew up surrounded by family who offered food as a means to show affection, love and respect. The many Middle Eastern and Asian influences in her heritage – including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and India – mean she enjoys experimenting with ingredients and flavours from all over the world.
Sura now lives in London with her husband and elderly grandmother. When she’s not baking or working, she can be found indulging her passions for travel, architecture and design.
What’s her baking style? Never one to stick to a recipe, Sura loves to improvise in the kitchen and inject her bakes with as much personality as possible. She loves to work with fragrant and floral flavours such as cardamom, rose and orange blossom.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strengths lie in flavour and balancing of flavours and also making small and dainty bakes- but my weakness is large multi-tiered cakes.”
Rowan – OUT week 3
Job: Music Teacher
Who is Rowan? The music teacher from Worcestershire is entirely self taught. He enjoys decorating his bakes with flowers, preferably edible ones, using what is in bloom in his garden.
A fitness enthusiast, Rowan swims a mile most mornings and is a keen cyclist and occasional horse-rider. He lives with his partner, who shares his passion for music, the arts and theatre, and he can often be found in the British Library researching all things 1700s.
What’s his baking style? Rowan calls his baking style ostentatious, but he hopes, tasteful. French pâtissérie is his absolute passion – he loves the subtlety of flavour, and the style and sophistication of French baking, and he is drawn to fine, complex, layered cakes. His love of the Georgian era encourages him to reinvent 18th-century recipes whenever he can.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strengths are ambition in ideas and design. My weakness is over-ambition and no interest in timings!”
Makbul – OUT week 2
From: Greater Manchester
Mak has recently taken up beekeeping – he produces his own honey, which he loves to use as often as possible in his bakes.
He thinks baking has made him generally more patient, however, won’t let anyone – even his wife – take control in his kitchen. Their three grown-up children are his harshest baking critics.
What is his baking style? Mak’s strengths lie in pastry (he says he’s better at puff than shortcrust); and, for celebrations such as Eid, he enjoys making traditional Asian nankhatai biscuits.
Strengths and weaknesses: “As a baker one of my biggest strengths is that I’m not daunted by much. I will have a go. My biggest weakness is the mess I create!”
Loriea – OUT week 1
Job: Diagnostic Radiographer
Who is Loriea? Jamaican born Loriea uses her baking to celebrate her Caribbean roots after moving to the UK at the age of 15.
She began baking at just five-years-old with the help of her maternal grandmother, whose influence plays a big part in her cooking style.
Her husband, Peter is the biggest fan of her cooking, and he especially loves her Jamaican patties.
When she isn’t baking or working long shifts at the hospital, she likes practising the craft of macramé. Growing up, Loriea was really into athletics – and has even met Usain Bolt! Any chance of introducing us, Loriea?
What’s her baking style? Loriea loves to include coconut, chillies and cinnamon in her food. She rarely follows a recipe exactly. In fact, from the moment she reads a recipe, she starts to think how she can tweak it to make it her own.
Strengths and weaknesses: “My strength is my cool and calm nature and my ability to work well under pressure. Outside of these I think I have great strengths with blending untraditional flavours. However, these are not always to everyone’s taste. On the other hand, my weakness lies in my inability to follow a recipe without having to put my own twist in, I struggle to think in a simplistic way.”
The Great British Bake Off is on Channel 4 on Tuesday nights at 8pm. To keep up to date with the latest Bake Off news, see here. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.