The premiere of The Great British Bake Off will have an added dash of excitement this evening - one of the contestants is a Wakefield local.
Karen, 60, is one of 12 lucky contestants who will try to prove herself and rise to the top over the next 10 weeks.
Her love for baking developed as a young child, when she says her mother taught her to bake in a failed attempt to train her as a housewife.
Karen said: “We had a holiday home in France and I became fascinated by the patisseries and breads, but only in the last year or so having scaled back work commitments did I try to make some, and they turned out surprisingly well.
“I also taught myself how to ice and decorate celebration cakes, as again I was always a bit mesmerised by seeing these works of art, I scoured books and the internet to help me.”
Karen and her husband later lived in France for more than a decade. She says she “never imagined” that she would star in a TV show and hopes that her mother, who is now 84, will be proud to see her embracing the skills she was taught as a young girl.
She said: “I dared myself to start the application process as my first challenge to celebrate my 60th birthday year. My daughters encouraged me to do it and I found it really liberating to do something like this.
“As you get older you feel less inhibited. I have always wanted to be even more flamboyant and free, I really wanted to do this for me and I thought it was the right time to step up and take on some challenges and have some fun.
“Seeing and entering the tent was like I was in somebody else’s world, totally wonderful and exciting.
“I may come over well, I may not, but what’s to fear? I did what I did, cannot change it. It’s just some fun, it’s kind and it’s baking at the end of the day, I am me and I go with the flow.”
Karen, who works as an in-store sampling assistant, admitted that she doesn’t bake at home as often as other contestants, as she is “always weight watching,” but says her talents come into play at family gatherings. It is with family and close friends she will be watching the show’s first episode tonight.
Karen, who lives in the Wakefield district, is one of a number of Yorkshire representatives in this year’s group of contestants. Kim-Joy, 27, from Leeds, 30-year-old Luke from Sheffield and Rahul,30, who lives in Rotherham, are all competing to win the coveted title of Great British Bake Off Champion 2018.
For a full list of contestants, click here.
The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 tonight, August 28, at 8pm.
The annual baking show sees 12 contestants challenged to create dozens of bakes of an increasingly challenging nature. Each week, contestants face three challenges, one of which they are not able to prepare for in advance.
At the end of each episode, one contestant will be crowned “Star Baker” while another is sent home.
Follow the show on Twitter using the hashtag #GBBO.