Great British Bake Off behind the scenes secrets revealed from the tent

As the Great British Bake Off 2022 airs, here’s a look at all the behind the scenes secrets of the Channel 4 show.

The current series of the baking competition continues this week and former contestants and show insiders have spilled all from behind the scenes…

All the cakes are eaten in a “controlled” way

Faenia Moore, chief home economist while the show was on the BBC, revealed of what happens to the contestants’ bakes: “It all gets eaten, but in a controlled way. It’s important for the bakers to eat what they’ve slaved over, so after each challenge I make up a ‘baker’s basket’ to go to their lunchroom.

“Then any leftovers go to the crew lunch. Everyone gets quite excited so you have to say: ‘Step back, we need to do this in an orderly fashion.”


Everything is washed up by hand

Meanwhile, Faenia revealed how team washed up and cleaned everything by hand.

Group Photo of Bakers in the Tent (L to R (back) James, Sandro, Maxy, Kevin, Abdul (front) Carole (pink/purple hair), Maisam, Syabira, Rebs, Dawn, William, Janusz)
Group Photo of Bakers in the Tent (L to R (back) James, Sandro, Maxy, Kevin, Abdul (front) Carole (pink/purple hair), Maisam, Syabira, Rebs, Dawn, William, Janusz)

She said: “The runners help, and we have a good system with two sinks. A dishwasher would be too noisy, and probably take longer. Also, if you’ve got caramel, you’ve got to use plenty of elbow grease.”


The prize – and the costs

The contestants don’t get paid to take part in the show – and there is NO cash prize for the winner.

Bake Off provides equipment, plus the ingredients for the challenges in the tent.

Bake Off co-host Sandi admitted that paying for ingredients to practice at home can impact the contestants.

“These [the bakers] are not wealthy people,” she told the Radio Times. “To some of them, just buying the ingredients to practise at home has pushed them to the limit in terms of their finances.”

She added: “Maybe that’s not something that gets talked about.”


Mobile phones are banned

To stop results leaking – and any potential cheating in the technical challenge – there’s a strictly no phones policy. 2018 contestant Karen Wright told how mobiles were confiscated as soon as bakers entered the set.

The Great British Bake Off S5
Paul, Noel, Prue and Matt.

She revealed: “The main thing is no mobile phones, so you can’t sneak a camera in.

“That was like a phone policy every morning, you had to hand it in and you got it back when you got on the bakers bus back to the hotel.”


The secret behind those incredible illustrations

Tom Hovey is the illustrator behind Bake Off’s famous drawings, and he got the gig almost by accident.

He revealed in an interview with the BBC: “I was working in the edit suite with the Series Director and Editor when they mentioned that there was a visual element missing from the show, and that they were thinking of including some illustration. I said I could do it, pitched a few ideas and got the gig. 1000 cake drawings later I’m still going!”

Explaining how he illustrates the bakes, Tom added: “I receive a pack of photos of the finished bakes from the set after each episode has been filmed that I use for reference. I sketch out all the bakes quickly in pencil to get the details, form and shape I am after.

“I then work these up by hand drawing them all in ink, then they’re scanned and coloured digitally, and then I add the titles and ingredient arrows. It’s a fairly well streamlined process now.”


Bake Off takes over your life

2013 winner Frances Quinn shared in an interview how competing in the Bake Off takes over your life.

She explained: “You haven’t really got a life other than Bake Off. No social life. That was the most stressful time. We had to get a train down on the Friday and we’d have a wake up call at 5am, we’d be in the tent at 7am.

The Great British Bake Off - Series 6: Matt, Paul, Prue & Noel
The Great British Bake Off – Series 6: Matt, Paul, Prue & Noel

“We’d wrap filming at about 8pm and then it would be the same again the next day. I’d get back at about midnight on the Sunday. It’s not just a 2 hour bake with a few buttercups.”


Daily oven checks

Before filming begins each day, all of the ovens are given a technical check which includes baking a classic Victoria sponge to ensure they are all working and cooking equally.


Audition process

The audition process is more than just the application form.

Those that impress on the online form will be invited to a phone interview and later an in-person interview, plus a screen test.

This is reported to include a classic Bake Off technical challenge in front of cameras.


The Great British Bake Off airs on Channel 4.

You can watch episodes and past series on All4.