A HEREFORDSHIRE baker will be appearing in the latest series of hit TV show, the Great British Bake Off - and she says she received a special hug in the tent.

Saku Chandrasekara is an intelligence analyst who is understood to be working for Herefordshire Council.

The 50-year-old was born in Sri Lanka, and places the traditional flavours of her heritage at the heart of her baking. This includes the curry spices, which she claims make for the best pie fillings, while liberal sprinklings of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg find their way into her sweeter bakes.


At her family home in the South Asian country, Mrs Chandrasekara didn’t have an oven until she was 18, so she turned to baking only when she moved with her husband to the UK in 2003.

She continued when she became a mother - rustling up treats for her children’s lunchboxes by replicating the snacks she saw in the supermarket. Self-taught, Saku is now a dab hand with a whisk and relishes using her homegrown ingredients from her pride and joy – her vegetable patch.

Hereford Times:

"Not in a million years did I think I would be selected to go into the Bake Off tent," said Mrs Chandrasekara.

"It was a tiny dream by the time I submitted my application, which I thought would never come true. When I had the phone call, I couldn’t believe my ears and I felt like I was going to explode.

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"The most wonderful memory is about meeting fellow bakers, coming from all stages of life with a common passion for baking. The big white tent, which was only a dream until then and meeting the crew, their love, support and encouraging words will never leave my memory.

Hereford Times:

"Another very special thing (I am not going to tell), which will stay in my heart forever."

"Thank you very much for my special hug!"

The 14th series of the Channel 4  show - which starts next Tuesday (September 26) will again feature Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judging each baker, with one person eliminated each week until a winner is crowned. 

However, This Morning host Alison Hammond will be replacing Matt Lucas to host the show alongside Noel Fielding.

"It felt crazy meeting them in person, making TikTok with Alison was even crazier," said Mrs Chandrasekara.