Nadiya Hussain reveals how she coped with winning Bake Off

Nadiya Hussain reveals how she coped with winning Bake Off
nadiya-hussain-and-mary-berry.jpg

It’s certainly no understatement to say that Nadiya's has changed forever since winning The Great British Bake Off last year.

 “I never imagined winning Bake Off would have had the effect it has," says Nadiya. "I thought I’d just fly under the radar. The opportunities that have come my way have been completely unexpected. I’m taking each day as it comes – and thoroughly enjoying it all.”

We can’t help wondering how her family are dealing with her new-found fame – her three children aged between five and nine, and her husband Abdul.

“There are moments when I know the children were rather I was home all the time, pottering around in my apron and making dinner – that’s how they’re used to seeing me. I know they miss that sometimes but then again, they’re reaping the rewards of me being out and working. The time we spend together now is precious, quality time. We listen to each other and enjoy each other’s company in a totally different way.

“As for Abdul, well, he’s amazing but then he has been from the start. He’s a fantastic help and I’ve even got him ironing! He never touched an iron before Bake Off but he’s great now.

“When I was burrowed away in the Bake Off tent for 10 weeks last year, he held everything together. He knew how hard it was. He held the fort, took over at home and looked after everything. He’s my main support and cheerleader, and has always been the one to say, ‘You can do this!’ He says to me, ‘This is your time. Enjoy it.’ How many people get to do this?”

What about her parents? We’ll never forget the sight of Nadiya’s dad literally jumping for joy when his daughter was crowned Bake Off champ.

“Their lives have changed because I’m no longer around as much and they’ve had to get used to that,” she smiles. “Every week, my mum asks me about my schedule, wanting to know where I am and what I’m doing. They’re so, so proud – and a bit embarrassing at times!

"They come straight out with, ‘We’re Nadiya Hussain’s mum and dad, you know.’ They’re such a great help, though. We live near to each other – they’re in Luton while I’m in Milton Keynes – and whenever I need a babysitter, there they are. They also come over and fill up my freezer with food.”

So with the new Bake Off series just around the corner will Nadiya be making time to watch the 2016 contestants battle it out in the famous marquee?

“Yes, of course! I’ve watched every series so far and will definitely watch this next one. There’ll be someone I’ll be cheering on and want to win. There’ll be a part of me that will want to be back in there because it was such an amazing experience, but I’ll also feel a bit sorry for the contestants because I know how hard it is. Would I put myself through it again, though? Absolutely, yes!”

The Chronicles of Nadiya

It’s practically a given that a Bake Off champion will pen a cookery book or two and appear at food shows, but writing a novel, cooking for the Queen and being commissioned to do a TV cooking travelogue have never happened before.

Nadiya says: “I’ve loved writing since childhood and am in the unique position of having the opportunity of writing my own novel! It’s a dream come true and one of the first things I said yes to. The book is about a Bangladeshi family – both as a family and individuals.”

 The Chronicles of Nadiya is family orientated, too. “For the programme, I travelled to Bangladesh where my own family is from. I hadn’t been back for almost 11 years and I went to my grandfather’s village. But I also travelled to other parts of the country. It was like a rediscovery; I got to meet lots of new people, see some weird and wonderful places, and cook and eat some very different dishes. It was such an adventure. I really enjoyed making it.”

  • Nadiya’s Kitchen is published by Michael Joseph, rrp £20.
  • The new series of The Great British Bake off is due to start in early August.
  • The Chronicles of Nadiya will be shown later this year.
  • Words and interview by Alison James
  • For more star chat, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine