The Muslim News caught up with the queen of self-deprecating one liners and made for TV facial expressions aka Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to talk chocolate peacocks, soufflés, the pressures of being a Muslim role model and the life changing experience of staring in the country’s most viewed show this year.
What tips would you give next year’s contestants?
Practise! Practise! Practise!
There have been talks of book and TV deals for you. Do you see that in your future?
I never imagined I would want to any of these things but post GBBO I would love to give it all a go. I feel more confident now to try anything.
What was your favourite and least favourite bake on the show?
My favourite bake had to be the chocolate peacock. It was my opportunity to showcase something artistic and my least favourite had to be the chocolate soufflé, with the staggered start times I was on knifes edge from the very beginning.
Which task did you find the most difficult?
I found pastry week the most difficult. My pastry just didn’t go very well and I lost all my senses. It had to be the worst task for me especially as I can makes pastry standing on my head!
There aren’t many hijab wearing Muslim women on our screens. Did that make you apprehensive about how the public and the media would respond to you?
I was naturally apprehensive to be on a show where there had not previously been any Muslims. I wanted to be judged based on my ability to bake and I wanted my being a Bengali Muslim purely incidental.
You said you were inspired by your home economics teacher – are you inspired to teach baking?
My food studies definitely planted the seed and it has flourished since I have been married. I love teaching people to bake especially my children, nephews and nieces.
Are you encouraging your children to bake?
My children are very confident bakers, they are very comfortable in the kitchen and I am hoping they will become our second generation of bakers.
What feedback did you get from the community after the final was aired?
Bedfordshire and Yorkshire have been massively supportive. I grew up in Bedfordshire and have lived in Yorkshire for 10 years.
Who is your favourite TV chef?
One of my favourite chefs has to be Jamie Oliver, mainly because my husband likes his books and loves his recipes and it’s the one thing that encourages him to cook.
The show was filmed in the summer. How hard was it to keep the secret that you had won?
It was tough at first to keep the secret but with time it got easier. It was only during transmission it got harder because everyone I met wanted to know who won.
Do you think your life has dramatically changed since winning the show?
Life has changed since winning the show. It has been a whirlwind and my feet have not touched the ground and I am enjoying every second.
Do you feel pressure to live up to people’s expectations?
I don’t feel pressure to live up to any expectations. However, I do feel privileged that people can relate to me. I am one of many things, mother, wife, house wife, Muslim, Bengali and much more. If I can be a role model and source of inspiration to anyone, then for that I am proud and I will continue to be myself and hope I can keep doing the same.
The GBBO seems to have an ever growing popularity. This year’s final has the highest viewer figures of any show – why do you think the show is growing in popularity?
I think it’s a show that has such a broad fan base. So I can see it going from strength to strength each year. This year there was definitely an eclectic bunch from all over the globe with a wealth of experience. I think that was mirrored in some of the fabulous bakes this year.