Cyprus Mail

Cypriot among contestants in popular BBC baking show

A UK-BORN Cypriot, Michael Georgiou, is among the 12 contestants taking part in this year’s BBC 1 Great British Bake Off competition

The popular show, which rates among the UK’s top ten most popular, is a baking competition to select the best amateur bakers among the 12 contestants. Each week one contestant is eliminated, leaving three in the final round when a winner is chosen.

The 12 contestants for the seventh series of the show, which begins on August 24, were announced earlier in the week. Aged just 20, Georgiou is the youngest.

“I am beyond excited and don’t really have words to describe it,” he said on hearing the news.

Georgiou, who is from London, is studying politics and economics at the University of Durham. His paternal grandparents are from Leonarisso and Koma tou Yiallou in Famagusta, while his grandparents from his mother’s side come from Kellaki in Limassol.

Professional baker Paul Hollywood, who is one of the judges, also has strong links to Cyprus, having worked at the Anassa Hotel in Paphos from 1994 to 1999.

feature evie -michael georgiou
Michael Georgiou

The Daily Mail described Georgiou as “the Bake Off hopeful who wants to be the next Paul Hollywood”, as his baking has been heavily influenced by Cyprus, but also because like Hollywood Georgiou loves bread and pastry. In last year’s competition, Hollywood asked contestants to make flaounas.

Georgiou’s Cypriot heritage has a strong influence on his baking and he’s been making Greek pastries with his grandmother since he was a small boy.

“Baking has always played a big part in my life. I have been influenced by the home baking of my mother and grandmother and this instilled in me a love and desire to bake. Over the last few years I have been baking more and more, experimenting and creating my own,” Georgiou said on his website

The website contains traditional Cypriot recipes and his own adaptations of well-known recipes”.

Among them is the ‘Roll on the Spanakopita’ recipe –  spanakopita rolls made with filo pastry, instead of the traditional spinach-filled pie.

“I wanted to create something that is perfect for dinner parties as they are easy to serve and also to eat,” Georgiou said in his recipe description.

His recipes include a Nutella brioche loaf, walnut and stilton soda bread, spinach and feta cheese Chelsea buns, and of course the all traditional Greek dessert, galaktoboureko, filo pastry stuffed with a semolina-based cream and showered with a syrup mixture of rose-water and sugar.

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