Business development · 24 August 2016

The five Great British Bake Off contestants who have built a business empire

The Great British Bake Off has now been on British TV since 2010
The Great British Bake Off has now been on British TV since 2010

As the seventh series of the popular BBC baking show begins, we look at the five individuals who used an appearance on the show as a springboard to business success.

Presented by enigmatic duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judged by everybody’s favourite glamorous granny Mary Berry, The Great British Bake Off has taken amateur bakers out of the comfort of their own kitchen and trust them before millions of TV viewers.

Tasked with baking three delights each week, the show battles the young against the old, traditional against mavericks and steely-eyed against emotional. Those who have come out on top at the end of series have built up a profile new entrepreneurs could only dream of – and some have made the most of it. Business Advice decided to bring you the five we think have been most successful.

Nadiya Hussain

As the winner of the 2015 outing, Hussian was launched into the world of cooking and grasped it with both hands. Having baked a cake for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, she’s penned numerous newspaper columns, released her first cook book and even been given her own BBC travel show – The Chronicles of Nadiya. She’s also been named a judge on spin off show The Junior Bake Off.

Having gone on record to say she didn’t have the confidence to go on public transport before appearing on the show, Hussian is possibly the most notable example of someone whose appearance has had the biggest catalytic impact on building a business empire.

Martha Collison

Collison was the youngest to appear on The Great British Bake Off, and was in the midst of her AS Levels when the her series was filmed in 2014. Having finished off at school, she’s taking a break before attending university and has published her first cook book.

Alongside that have come numerous TV appearances, after the predictable makeover, and she writes a regular column for the weekly newspaper of Waitrose – the supermarket she worked at before and after the show.

Frances Quinn

Famed for wining the show in 2013, Quinn has baked for TV presenter Clare Balding, musician Jools Holland and illustrator Quentin Blake, as well as designing the first anniversary cake for London’s tallest building – The Shard.

Alongside the penning of her own cookbook, Quinn takes commissions for custom-made cakes and runs her Quinntessential crEATes masterclasses to teach others how to bake particular delights.

John Whaite

Those who didn’t see Whaite win the 2012 outing of The Great British Bake Off might still have seen him on TV, as part of his role on ITV’s Lorraine. He’s resident chef on the show, and has balanced his work on TV with the writing of three popular cook books.

Away from those endeavours, Whaite has launched a cookery school out of the family farm he grew up on and co-presents the Chopping Blcok cookery series with Rosemary Shrager.

Jo Wheatley

After winning the second series of the show, when it was only in the infancy of popularity, Wheatley has gone on to launch her own cookery school and publish two baking goods. Also on the CV are appearances on a number of TV programmes and the baker also has plans to open a country pub, restaurant and cafe in Cambridgeshire.

“My dream is to create a friendly, cosy environment with home-made food, and a roaring fire in winter, and beautiful outdoor space in summer,” she has said.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

HR