Nadiya Hussain hailed as 'an inspiration to British Muslims' as she wins the Great British Bake-Off

Published October 8th, 2015 - 05:24 GMT

A record 14.5million people saw Nadiya Hussain win the 2015 Great British Bake Off last night - including her own army of supporters calling themselves the 'Nadiyators'.

The mother-of-three's tear-jerking victory won the hearts of viewers and meant even hardened baker Mary Berry, 80, broke down after she beat Tamal Ray, 29, and Ian Cumming, 41.

After producing near-perfect iced buns and millefeuille under huge pressure Nadiya, who was born to Bangladeshi parents in Luton and now lives in Leeds, wowed Mary and Paul Hollywood with a patriotic, Union Jack-themed wedding cake she never had – all wrapped in a sari.

Mrs Hussain, surrounded by her husband Abdal and three children, said: 'I'm never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never going to say I can't do it' - a victory speech which left many watching in floods of tears. 

Today she could not hide her joy at being crowned Bake Off champion as she appeared at a book launch in London this afternoon and thanked her 'Nadiyator' fans.

A record 14.5million people saw Nadiya Hussain win the 2015 Great British Bake Off last night - including her own army of supporters calling themselves the 'Nadiyators'.

The mother-of-three's tear-jerking victory won the hearts of viewers and meant even hardened baker Mary Berry, 80, broke down after she beat Tamal Ray, 29, and Ian Cumming, 41.

After producing near-perfect iced buns and millefeuille under huge pressure Nadiya, who was born to Bangladeshi parents in Luton and now lives in Leeds, wowed Mary and Paul Hollywood with a patriotic, Union Jack-themed wedding cake she never had – all wrapped in a sari.

Mrs Hussain, surrounded by her husband Abdal and three children, said: 'I'm never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never going to say I can't do it' - a victory speech which left many watching in floods of tears. 

Today she could not hide her joy at being crowned Bake Off champion as she appeared at a book launch in London this afternoon and thanked her 'Nadiyator' fans.


HOW NADIYA WAS HAILED AS AN INSPIRATION TO BRITISH MUSLIMS

Born in Luton to a Bangladeshi family, Nadiya Hussain has been praised as a role model for young British Muslims and even received the backing of the Prime Minister.

The child of migrants who came to Britain seeking a better life, Nadiya grew up without an oven in her home and says she spent her childhood wondering why only ice-cream featured on the dessert menu at her father's restaurant.

It was at nearby Challney High School for Girls that she was introduced to the world of traditional British crumbles, pies and pastry cakes by her cookery teacher, Mrs Marshall.

From the age of 12, Mrs Marshall fostered her love of baking. 'I had to make puff pastry in my first class. I remember my teacher Mrs Marshall saying I was really good. I got so into it that when Mrs Marshall used to prepare for her next class at lunchtime I would sneak in and watch her. She never minded. Eventually she said I could give her a hand. Over four years I got quite good,' she said.

Nadiya, 30, now lives in Leeds with her husband Abdal, a technical manager, and their three children, aged nine, eight and four.

Flavours from her heritage have helped Hussain come top of the Bake Off class and earn three Star Baker titles from notoriously tricky judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

Her one-liners, captivating smile and fantastically expressive eyebrows - submitting with ease to every flash of horror, panic and pleasure that have crossed her face in the tent's toughest series - quickly won over viewers.

Importantly for her, fans of the show have watched her whip up fizzy pop cheesecakes, a fiery snake charmer's basket and bubblegum-flavoured pastry nuns while proudly wearing her traditional hijab.

She originally feared she would be dismissed as a 'Muslim in a headscarf', but told Radio Times, 'I hope that, week by week, people have realised that I can bake - and just because I'm not a stereotypical British person, it doesn't mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea. I'm just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that.'

She has become something of a heroine in her Luton home town, watched in admiration by young Muslim women and hailed by community leaders for helping to overturn prejudiced perceptions.

After nine years as a stay-at-home mum, she said it is 'my time now for an adventure' and has begun studying for an Open University degree in childhood and youth studies.

Her victory will undoubtedly open new avenues, with a book deal and TV career reportedly already in the works.

Nadiya has also been hailed as an 'inspiration' to British Muslims.

The Great British Bake Off champion has 'demonstrated the inclusivity of British Muslims in society', according to Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).

Zara Mohammed, vice president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, said: 'I'm just so happy, brilliant.'

She added: 'I think she's incredibly talented and it's really wonderful to see a British Muslim just showcasing the best of Muslim talent in this country'.

Her father worked as a waiter in a Bangladeshi restaurant and later in the restaurant of Champneys health spa in nearby Tring, Hertfordshire, where he is still employed.

She admitted that her gift for baking came despite her home culture not 'doing desserts' and her father's first restaurant only serving ice cream.

Instead her passion for puddings and cakes came from her home economics classes at school.

And now her victory, and likely book and TC deal, could make her at least £1million, one brand expert said.  

This afternoon at a book signing in London Nadiya revealed her relief at finally being able to talk about her win.

She said: "I can't even say it, because we've spent so long keeping it a secret. I feel like I'm doing something wrong."

There were times when she was "teetering on the edge" of giving it away before Wednesday night's final, she said.

"There have been a couple of times when I've been like, 'Oh God! It's coming out! Pull yourself together!"'

The 30-year-old from Leeds said: "I haven't slept for the last 24 hours. It's been mad. It's really hard to sleep when you're on a high.

"I'm trying to soak it all in, enjoy every moment, and then take it as it comes."

Speaking at a photocall and book signing for hundreds of fans at Waterstones in London's Piccadilly, she also paid tribute to the 'Nadiyators'.

She said: "Now that people stop us and chat with us - it's weird, it's surreal, but it's so much fun to know there are people out there supporting you."

Speaking to Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show this morning, the star baker said she and her husband, as well as their three young children, had become 'compulsive liars' in recent weeks.

'It has been months of lying and making sure I don't give it away. It's been such a big secret to keep,' she explained, adding: 'I might need therapy to try and fix myself!'

The Luton-born star had been so desperate to keep the final result under wraps she hid her winning cake stand trophy deep beneath her bed immediately after filming wrapped at the end of June.

'I only got it out yesterday at 9pm just in case somebody saw it,' she went on. 'It was wrapped in newspaper and then I did the Russian

Dolls thing where I put it in a suitcase in a suitcase in a suitcase and hit it under my bed,' she said.

And now that her moment of glory is finally public knowledge she's totally overwhelmed.

'I don't even drink but I feel trollied' she joked.

Nadiya watched the final with her mum, dad, brothers, sisters and all of their children and said there wasn't a scrap of cake to hand.

Instead, the proud family feasted on curry cooked by her mother.

Speaking about how she was initially consumed by the baking bug, she told Chris Evans: 'We don't traditionally have dessert in our culture so it wasn't something I was brought up with.

'It was only when I went to school that it dawned on me that something was not right. When I was in high school I made puff pastry with my home economics teacher and she said, 'Yeah, you're actually quite good at this,' and it escalated from there.'

Quizzed on her relaxed demeanour heading into the grand finale, she explained how she felt she had nothing to loose having made it to the final three.

'When I got to the final I thought I'd already won. I felt really relaxed. Perhaps I should have used that mantra early on and I wouldn't have done better?' she added.

Nadiya told how she almost applied two years ago but lacked the confidence.

She told BBC Breakfast: 'It feels like I'm reliving that moment again. It was one of the best moments of my life.

'My husband (Abdal) tried to get me to apply two years ago and I said, 'look, I don't have the confidence to do something like this', and this year he pretty much forced me and said, 'you're really good, you're really clever, you should just do it, what's the worst that will happen?'.

'Those were famous last words. And I did it, and I went in and I applied and every stage of the process felt unlikely and like it wasn't meant to happen.

'My confidence grew and then this happened.'

She added that she had 'no idea my face could do that' and hopes her baking will be the lasting impression on viewers - and not her eyebrows.

The mother-of-three described how she 'comes from a culture where there is no such concept of dessert after dinner' and she caught the bug for baking during home economics.

Her winning cake was a tribute to husband Abdal, 34, presenting his favourite, a lemon drizzle cake, with regrets that she'd never been able to have the traditional sponge at their Bangladeshi ceremony.

Revealing her dedication to perfecting her showstopper up until the last minute, Mrs Hussain said: 'I practiced so much at home before the final, right through the night and even in the morning before I was going to catch my train I squeezed in another practice.

'The Showstopper was a celebration cake, and as I never had my own wedding cake I wanted a proper iced wedding cake. I bought a sari that was red, white and blue, in the colours of the union jack and I decorated my stand with that.

'At the very end of the filming I took the cake out to my family's table and we all had a slice. So my husband and I did get our wedding cake after all.'

Before the win she admitted she feared being dismissed by viewers as a 'Muslim in a headscarf' ahead of her appearance on this year's Great British Bake Off.

Nadiya has previously said: 'I'm just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that. The feedback I have had reveals how accepting people are of different cultures and religions.

'Now people know who I am, I can see how tolerant and accepting British society is.'

But millions last night Nadiya, a full time mother of three, triumph in the final of the BBC One show.

She said last night: 'I went into the tent as the smallest baker at 4ft 11' but I walked out feeling a giant. I feel I have tested my abilities and come out a much stronger, confident person on the other side.' 

The baker, who has become a social media sensation for her expressive face, said she hoped people would remember her baking abilities.

The 30-year-old from Leeds said: 'I really hope that I have not become known more for my facial expressions or my eyebrows than my baking.
'I had no idea that this would become a talking point on social media.

'It's all a bit of fun and not to be taken seriously, and I think it reflected what was going on in the tent.'

She revealed that since winning in June she has hidden her trophy under her bed ever since but will now display it at home.

Her husband Abdal, a technical manager, has over the 10 weeks of the show stepped into her shoes and taken over as a house husband.

Speaking during the show, her other half explained how her confidence in her own baking had been growing, and called her a 'champion' in the eyes of the family

Though he has been her biggest supporter throughout, he confessed that it had been 'absolutely chaotic in our house' since she left to compete in GBBO for her big adventure.

Nadiya, whose children are aged nine, eight and four, revealed only recently that one of her sons has been watching GBBO from a hospital bed because he was unwell. 

On life after the show, she said: 'Family life will carry on as normal. Being a mum to three small children under 10 is pretty time consuming, but I wanted to have my own adventure.

'With a very supportive husband and a belief in my own ability, I can now carry on having my adventure. I am really looking forward to see what will happen'.

By Martin Robinson and Becky Freeth


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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