Nadiya Hussain: ‘I want to blend in. But the truth is, I’m never going to blend in’

  • Thread starter Rebecca Nicholson
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Rebecca Nicholson

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Five years after winning Bake Off, she’d love to just talk about baking and cookbooks. But then there’s diversity in TV, mental health, the pandemic…

Nadiya Hussain has never published a baking book. She has never fronted her own baking show before either, having had her life changed by appearing on the big one, the one which put her under the national spotlight as she transformed from a shy, uncertain home cook into a Great British Bake Off winner, the best-loved winner in the history of the series. Now, after five years of fame, her career, which has encompassed books, documentaries, cooking shows, a memoir, an MBE, and much, much more, has come full circle, and she is ready to focus on baking again. Surely someone has tried to get a baking book out of her before this?

“It was my choice. I chose not to go straight into baking,” she says. She is in her conservatory at home in Milton Keynes, the week before her three children are due to go back to school. It doubles up as both her home office and the cats’ room; her son is drawing at the kitchen table. Ordinarily, she’d be out in the world, meeting people, and she misses it terribly. “I really miss people. I miss hugging people. Even a handshake would be nice right now. I always overrun on everything, because I’m talking about something else. Shoes, a flavour, it could be anything.” I’m not even wearing shoes, I tell her. “I mean, I put on a bra just for you today,” she grins. She got up late, for her, because she’s been staying up into the early hours, watching Schitt’s Creek in bed. Not that you’d know it. She is as lively and warm as you’d expect from her on-screen persona, happy to dole out advice to this terrible home baker, but she has a pleasing, simmering defiance to her too, that has evolved since her 2015 TV debut.

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