Entertainment

Nadiya Hussain's journey from Great British Bake Off to New Year Honours list

Hussain has become a fan favourite since winning the popular baking series.

Nadiya Hussain is arguably the biggest star to come from The Great British Bake Off show.

Her star has continued to rise since she won the series in 2015, and now she has been made an MBE for her services to broadcasting and to the culinary arts in the New Year Honours list.

Before being crowned winner of the sixth series of Bake Off, Hussain was already a fan favourite on the show thanks to her extraordinary bakes, her hilarious facial expressions and her rock-solid calmness under pressure.

Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards
The Prince of Wales is among the VIPs who Nadiya Hussain has rubbed shoulders with since winning Bake Off (Jeff Spicer/PA)

When she joined the baking programme, Hussain was a stay-at-home mother-of-three, but since winning she has carved out a successful broadcasting and food-writing career, making her a household name while also becoming a leading figure for the Muslim community in the UK.

Born in Luton to a Bangladeshi family, Hussain previously aspired to be a social worker, although she loved cooking and baking from a young age.

Hussain studied for a degree in childhood and youth studies with the Open University while pregnant with her third child and caring for her older two.

She was encouraged to apply for the Bake Off by husband Abdal and, while lacking in confidence at the start, she went on to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with her delicious creations, including fizzy pop cheesecakes, a fiery snake charmer’s basket and bubblegum-flavoured pastry nuns, all the while proudly wearing her traditional hijab.

More than 13 million viewers watched her win the trophy and she later commented that she understood the importance of “being a brown, Muslim woman of faith who is in the public eye, because there aren’t that many of us”.

Speaking to the Radio Times magazine in 2018 she said: “So I know that I’m representing a lot of groups and I know how important that is, especially for women.”

After winning Bake Off, Hussain landed her own TV series on BBC One, a travelling cookery show called The Chronicles Of Nadiya.

She later went on to front the series Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, Nadiya’s Family Favourites and Time To Eat.

Hussain, 35, was also the co-presenter of The Big Family Cooking Showdown with Zoe Ball, and has been a guest panellist on Loose Women.

Thanks to her success on Bake Off, she was invited to bake a cake for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, and in 2017 was named by Debrett’s as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK.

House of Fraser BAFTA TV Awards 2016 – Press Room – London
Nadiya Hussain (right) and Mary Berry (Ian West/PA)

Hussain was most recently seen alongside former Bake Off judge Mary Berry in her TV show A Berry Royal Christmas, which included special appearances from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In addition to her TV work, Hussain has been a columnist for The Times Magazine.

She has published a string of cookery books, including Nadiya’s Kitchen, Time To Eat and Nadiya’s Family Favourites, as well as the children’s books Bake Me A Story and My Monster And Me, and novel The Secret Lives Of The Amir Sisters.

Hussain, who has suffered with a panic disorder for more than 20 years, has talked openly about her mental health issues in a bid to shine a light on the subject, and in 2019 fronted a programme called Nadiya: Anxiety and Me on BBC One.

She has also highlighted the racist abuse she has received over the years, and has been praised for responding to trolls on social media and calling for equality.

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