What comes next for Great British Bake Off winner Syabira Yusoff and why she's thinking of returning to work
After winning Bake Off, Syabira Yusoff talks returning to work, writing a children's book and baking being her 'therapy'.
Great British Bake Off Winner Syabira has had a busy year since beating out her fellow contestants and taking home the coveted cake stand.
In an interview with The Scotsman and People’s Postcode Lottery, the 2022 champion discusses her time on the show, taking up her passion full time and what comes next.
“My day-to-day life completely changed after the show," Syabira explains. "I have been busy with a lot of work, baking mostly, and then during the summer I've been busy with a lot of festivals."
In addition, she has been spending time promoting the food of her home country, Malaysia, something she missed dearly upon moving to the UK. Earlier this year the baker even launched a Malaysian afternoon tea experience at the CloudM Hotel in London, with a second event to take place in November.
Syabira joked: “You will not find any sandwich finger food on [the menu].”
Judges trying unusual food a highlight for Syabira
Flavours from home served as inspiration during her time on the show, and she would often present unusual flavours to the judges, describing one her favourite aspects of being on Bake Off watching as they tried combinations they never thought they would.
Syabira said: “I love the part where no matter what you bake, the judges have to eat it and give the feedback in front of you.
“Orange and truffle; I love it, but I know people would hate it, but I love how the judges have to eat it and then they have to swallow it in front of you – as well as the sweetcorn cake.”
Her mischievous smile certainly doesn't reflect the nerves she experienced while in the iconic tent. Her enjoyment of presenting unique bakes to Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith aside, Syabira shared the lesson she values the most from the tent.
She said: “The most important thing I learned on the show is to be confident and believe in yourself.
“I had such bad weeks at the early stages of the Bake Off and without really discovering myself and really deep down believing in myself – that I could go through – I don't think I could have made it to the next stage.
“I came out as a person who is more confident.”
Bake Off winner looking to return to full time research job
And with the whirlwind experience of life after Bake Off, juggling public appearances and dealing with newfound fame, finding a new normal took time for the baker.
“I admit during the Bake Off, baking was really stressful. And after the Bake Off, two months afterwards, I couldn’t be in the kitchen to make any bakes because you feel the adrenaline rush – you still remember how on hype you were, just like ‘I need to get it done’.
“So it took me a couple of months before I could get back to my baking routine, so I enjoy baking.”
As for taking up her passion full time? Syabira isn’t sure that it’s for her.
“I actually did have a career break from my job as well just to do baking and to see if it is something I want to do full time. But unfortunately after all of the setup – I'm going to do the afternoon tea – but I'm thinking to go back to a full time job at the moment."
A scientist, Syabira's work includes researching heart problems and other health conditions.
She said: “I think I need the baking still as an outlet rather than my main income, so I would like to go back to research and contribute to the clinical people, and then baking is still my outlet.”
As for what she gets up to when she has a chance to bake for fun, Syabira said: “I don't have any favourite things to bake. It's all dependent on what people have around me, every time I bake, I bake a completely different thing.
“A month ago I finally managed to tweak a recipe where I made a very nice chocolate fudge cake and once it was done, I felt bored with it.
“So on the next one, I made a fudgy orange and white chocolate cake and all in a blender, rather than you have to mix it or you have to do anything before that. So, I bake different things all the time. But people love my basic vanilla butterscotch cream cake.”
'Baking is my therapy'
Keeping things fresh is something that Syabira clearly values; a keen gamer as well as a whizz in the kitchen, Syabira is currently cooking up a children’s book series.
“It's still at the beginning. I'm taking my sweet time to decide what I want to put in the book, so it takes a long time.
“I don't know if I can reveal it, but it's mostly about [how] you can be anything. I am a researcher. I'm working in the lab as well as I'm a bioinformatician, as well as baking, and also gaming. So, it's just about how everything integrates together and how I enjoy them as the separate entities in my life, and baking is my outlet, or therapy, after a very bad day at work.”
And while much has changed for the multi-talented baker, researcher and gaming enthusiast her enjoyment of Bake Off hasn’t dimmed, in fact it’s perhaps grown.
“I feel more [it’s more] enjoyable watching it rather than last year because you feel like, ‘when is my scene going to come out? Like, am I going to look good?’ You’re always anxious when you're going to come out next and what you're going to look like.
“But this year, they’re all really, really good bakers. And my advice to them is just enjoy the rollercoaster.
“It is going to be overwhelming. It's going to be a lot of attention. But if they need to reach out, they can come to us, we're happy to navigate, we're happy to share our experiences because we’ve all been there and we're all so excited for them.”
You can watch The Great British Bake Off from 8pm every Tuesday on Channel 4.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.