Bookies favourite to take the Great British Bake Off title Nadiya Hussain has some top supporters.
The 30-year-old mum of three who comes from Luton and now lives in Leeds, has been wowing audiences with her blend of unusual flavours and witty one liners. And Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted this week that he’s a fan.
Nadiya, a former pupil of Challney High School and Luton Sixth form college, got the baking bug while at school.
She told the Radio Times: “I had to make puff pastry in my first class. I remember my teacher Mrs Marshall saying I was really good. I got so into it that when Mrs Marshall used to prepare for her next class at lunchtime I would sneak in and watch her. She never minded. Eventually she said I could give her a hand. Over four years I got quite good.”
She also revealed she was initially “a bit nervous that perhaps people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake.”
“I hope that week by week people have realised that I can bake – and just because I’m not a stereotypical British person, it doesn’t mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea. I’m just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that.
“I think the show is a fantastic representation of British society today. The feedback I have had reveals how accepting people are of different cultures and religions.
“Now people know who I am, I can see how tolerant and accepting British society is.”
Nadiya, whose family is from Bangladesh, has consistently impressed judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, often with flavour combinations inspired by her heritage – a skill that earned her star baker twice so far.
“Everywhere I go, people stop me to take pictures. It makes a one-hour trip take about three hours. My husband has become a very good photographer! He’s enjoying it so much, too.”
The Bake Off final is on BBC1 on Wednesday.