Britain’s appetite for food programmes – and presenters – is changing as Bake Off winner is back on screen
The main ingredient in the BBC’s new cooking competition show seems to be hugs. And the main giver and receiver of those hugs is Nadiya Hussain. At one point Zoe Ball, Hussain’s co-presenter in The Big Family Cooking Showdown, puts an arm around her; Hussain hugs the contestants, they squeeze her back. After winning The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Hussain’s rise has been as swift and sweet as a fairy cake’s – we gobble up her other shows and her books.
“She’s an extraordinary talent and is lovely to watch. She makes people smile and they engage with her,” says Sarah Durdin Robertson, series food producer at the production company Optomen. “You almost feel she could do anything and people would watch it.” Could Hussain, born in Luton to Bangladeshi parents, be a symbol not, as has been relentlessly discussed, of multicultural Britain, but of Britain’s journey towards more emotional honesty?