Prue Leith has said she was pleased to see a good mix of youngsters on Junior Bake Off because she had been nervous about it being a “whole lot of really upper middle class children”.
The Great British Bake Off star, 79, is a judge on the show’s junior version, which sees nine to 15-year-olds competing in a range of cooking challenges.
She said: “The one thing that made me nervous about it was what I didn’t want to see, and now this is going to sound really classist, but I didn’t want to see a whole lot of really upper middle class children who had been privately educated and who go to Spain every year for their holidays and are amazingly sophisticated.
“Because occasionally I meet children like that, and they’ll say things like, ‘I really don’t like the pesto at Carluccios because it doesn’t have fresh…’ and they’ve all got yummy mummies and you want to say to them, ‘What’s the matter with hot dog and chips?’
“So, I was a bit nervous that most of the bakers would be really classy, and they were all just… all of them were just lovely.”
“They were a mixture,” added Leith, who will be judging the young chefs alongside former Great British Bake Off contestant Liam Charles, while Harry Hill is the host.
The hopefuls include 13-year-old Amal from Essex, who loves making tall layer cakes and wants to become Prime Minister one day.
Aleena, 15, from Greater Manchester, taught herself by watching YouTube videos, while George, 11, from Devon, started baking at a young age with his mother and grandmother and has mastered a chocolate mirror glaze cake.
One contestant – 11-year-old Maddie from London – has been baking since she was just two and, inspired by her Jewish and French heritage, makes a weekly challah bread and is known for her French Madeleines.
Junior Bake Off will air weekdays on Channel 4 from November 4.