Syabira Yusoff's culinary creations helped her bag the title of Star Baker on the Great British Bake Off in 2022. After whipping up a storm on the iconic show, the researcher and scientist has learnt, firsthand, what it takes to be triumphant in the tent.
In an exclusive chat with HELLO!, Syabira – who has teamed up with People's Postcode Lottery – shared her predictions for season 14, and she's also opened up about her sweetest memories from Bake Off (pun intended). Here's who she's betting on…
As a Great British Bake Off winner, Syabira knows how important it is to keep your cool in the tent. Whether it's a shrinking pastry, a soggy bottom, or an uneven cake, the trick is to stay calm and carry on – a skill that new baker Dan already possesses.
"Based on the first episode – I have a list here – my money is gonna be on Dan," explains Syabira.
"He's a dad, very cool, he brews his own beer. But the thing I could tell about him is that he's quite chill and he has something about him that says, 'I'm comfortable baking in this situation'. So, as part of his technical challenge, he's just like, 'Yeah I'll just wait here a little bit'. So, I don't know why but my money is on him."
Not one to put all her eggs in one basket, Syabira adds: "We have another contestant who is really good as well, we have Cristy. Cristy made the final duck at the end. I like her character, I like her persona, and based on her Instagram itself, she's actually doing a lot of different baking."
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Among her top picks, Syabira's also been impressed by Tasha: "A person that is never scared to work hard, that's someone that you always have to watch out for," Syabira notes. And according to the Bake Off star, Josh is worth keeping an eye on too.
"I am biassed with Josh as well because he's a researcher," Syabira tells HELLO!. "Researchers always do well in this baking competition. I'm being biassed again, I admit. But I didn't see much of Josh in the first episode, so I hope I can see more of him in the next episode because you only can predict or see based on who got the airtime. So, yeah, I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they're going to whip up next in the tent."
Reflecting on her own Bake Off journey, Syabira has nothing but fond memories, especially when it comes to judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
"A very nice memory about the judges is when they try your bakes. No matter how good or how bad your bake is, they always smile and they would never spit the food out in front of you. It's very very friendly, and makes you feel very warm and welcome in the tent.
"There's a lot of cute memories, especially when I got the [Hollywood] handshake and then Prue came to me and said, 'You are a clever bunny', it's a little bit like they actually love us."
Syabira's time on the Great British Bake Off has given her more than just memories, too. She's also gained an incredible amount of confidence, which has helped her take on new challenges. "I think it does really teach you how to be confident and be in your own skin because otherwise, it's hard for you to create something very meaningful to you on each challenge," she reflects.
"Every recipe development that they give you, they would say, 'Why does that bake mean something to you? What makes it very special to yourself?' So, you really have to dig down within yourself to create something that is you and represents you. Basically, [it's like] you're discovering your inner self throughout Bake Off – just be confident and believe in yourself."
As for her next projects, Syabira's got some exciting plans in the works. After launching her hugely popular Malaysian afternoon tea experience with the CloudM Hotel in London, the GBBO alum is working on a second event, slated for November. She's also teased that "there are books coming," but in the meantime, fans will have to keep an eye on her Instagram account for updates. We can't wait to see what Syabira does next!