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Nancy Birtwhistle



“The Big Bakeover”


There’s more to Great British Bake Off 2014 winner Nancy Birtwhistle than meets the eye. Birtwhistle is a self-taught home baker who only took up baking seriously when she retired from her full-time job as a practice manager for a GP’s surgery. And, like everything she turns her hand to, she became rather good at it.


Full of energy and brimming with ideas, Birtwhistle’s is a force of nature and whether it’s growing her own fruit and vegetables to use in her recipes, rearing poultry (including the Christmas turkey), training her dog (who made it to Crufts) or getting a degree at age 40, she doesn’t do things by halves.


Born and brought up in Hull and the surrounding areas, Birtwhistle’s first memories of baking are Christmas baking with her grandmother. “I now realize that she did indeed have a significant part to play in my love of baking. She was a true home baker and never used a recipe book.”


Through devouring books, taking tips and inspiration from people she meets and lots and lots of trial and error, Birtwhistle has acquired an incredible breadth of baking knowledge. She loves the creativity of baking and the simple rewards of watching others enjoy something she’s baked. Now a grandmother herself, Birtwhistle is determined to pass on her skills and knowledge to the next generation and show people that with a little bit of time, a lot of patience and a few simple ingredients, you really can make a perfect showstopper.


Birtwhistle is a natural teacher and can regularly be seen giving demonstrations at large-scale food events. She has appeared at The Good Food Show, The Cake and Bake Show and countless regional food festivals. She is also an accomplished speaker who is comfortable telling her story to many audiences as diverse as the Women’s Institute to a room of female banking staff.


May 2024