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The Great British Bake Off: Where the former Scottish contestants are now, and some words of advice for this year’s bakers

Norman Calder.
Norman Calder.

We take a look back at the Scottish contestants of the nation’s favourite baking show and where they are now.

Bake Off is back and it’s needed more than ever as so many shows have been cancelled these past few months.

Scottish contestants have been gracing the tent with their presence since the very first series, though we’ve sadly not had representation every year. However, that’s not to say that our ambassadors to the baking world haven’t gone on to do some great things.

Here we take a stroll down Bake-Off memory lane to remember the former Scottish contestants and find out what they’re up to now.


Lea Harris

Lea Harris, from Midlothian, was the first Scottish Bake Off contestant after appearing in the first series.

Lea left the show at the end of the first episode, during cake week, after making a chocolate celebration cake for the showstopper challenge that was filled with chocolate and featured chocolate-dipped fresh fruit.

But despite her early departure, she has gone on to create a successful blog called Off The Eaten Track and won the Hospitality Honour award in 2018 at The Scottish Food Awards.

She can be found tweeting @BakersBunny.


Norman Calder

Series five gave us the joy that is Norman Calder from Portknockie in Moray.

Norman was sadly eliminated in episode five, the week after contestants Diana and Iain’s infamous ice cream cake saga played out in which the former removed the latter’s cake from the freezer to make way for her own.

Norman wrote regularly for the Press and Journal in 2016 and, when we reached out to him to ask if he had any advice for this year’s bakers, he replied: “Only advice I’d give is try not to take it too seriously and don’t let the producers wind you up!”

The retired Merchant Navy officer plans to spend more time when he can on his brother’s yacht in Portugal and sent us this picture of himself.

#BringBackNorman

Norman Calder.

Flora Shedden

Series six gave us not one, but two Scottish contestants, both from Perthshire – Flora Shedden and Marie Campbell.

Missing out on the final by one week, Flora Shedden was a 19-year-old art gallery assistant from Dunkeld when she first entered the Bake Off tent.

After her win she studied art history at St Andrews University, released a book called Gatherings in 2017 and wrote a baking column for The Scotsman.

She owns and runs ARAN Bakery in Dunkeld, an artisan bakery in her hometown in Highland Perthshire. Her second book, ARAN was released in 2019. She also recently opened a food and flower store, also in Dunkeld, called LON.

Flora is active on social media, on Instagram, Twitter and on her website.


Marie Campbell

Marie Campbell, from Auchterarder, was the first Star Baker of the series but had a drastic fall from grace as she found herself eliminated during the second week.

Her participation in the show caused a stir as it was reported that she was a semi-professional baker, meaning that her appearance as one of the amateur bakers would be against the show’s rules. Later, the BBC released a statement that said Marie had spent a week on a patisserie course at The Ritz in Paris, from which she gained a certificate in 1984.

Following her elimination from the show, Marie opened a bakery, according to her daughter Catriona Campbell in a blog post earlier this year. Marie can still regularly be found on Twitter.

Marie Campbell.

Tom Hetherington

The architect from Edinburgh, Tom Hetherington, may have been eliminated in week 4 of series 8 in 2017, but he did come back to the tent for the show’s Christmas special in 2019.

During his time on the original show, Tom impressed the judges during biscuit week (episode 2) and was one of their favourite bakers that week, though he did not get the accolade of “star baker”.

Still a practising architect, Tom regularly makes celebration cakes to order for weddings, birthdays and events. He is also a design tutor at Dundee University and a rugby captain.

He can be found online at his website Tom Eats Cake, and on Instagram and Twitter.


Michael Chakraverty

Though he was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Michael from series 10 in 2019, is practically Scottish as he was schooled in Scone, Perthshire and worked in Edinburgh’s theatre circuit for a while before Bake Off, so we’ve adopted him as our own.

During his time in the show, he was the first contestant of the series to receive a “Hollywood Handshake”, for his cup of chai cake.

Michael now writes regularly for Huffington Post, the ‘i paper’ and the Metro.

In one of his articles, he has some wise words for this year’s bakers saying: “My advice would be to stick together, and stick up for each other.”

He is also on Twitter and Instagram.


Peter Sawkins

And our 2020 representative is… Peter Sawkins from Edinburgh. As of the time of writing, Peter is still a contestant on this year’s Bake Off and even won the Star Baker accolade in the first week.

Though he can’t reveal anything while the show is still airing (spoiler: it’s not live), he does have an Instagram account that he updates regularly.


Further reading…

Great British Bake Off: Week two lacks drama but contestant’s florentines leave tastebuds tingling

 

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