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John Whaite — things you didn't know about the 'Great British Bake Off' winner

John Whaite for Strictly Come Dancing 2021
John Whaite is swapping his kitchen for the dance floor this year! (Image credit: BBC)

John Whaite is probably best known for winning the third series of The Great British Bake Off. He took the win in 2012 with his fondant fancies, heaven and hell themed chiffon cake and Italian sausage and roasted vegetable pithivier (a sort of pie to you and I!).

Since then, John has featured as one of the resident chefs on Lorraine and Steph's Packed Lunch as well as co-presenting the ITV cookery series Chopping Block with celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager. Soon he'll be joining the likes of Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, and Robert Webb for Strictly Come Dancing 2021, where he'll be one half of the first all-male partnership in the show's history!

Here's just a few more things about John Whaite that you may not know...

He once said he was scared of Mary Berry!

Mary Berry hasn't been a judge on The Great British Bake Off since the show moved over to Channel 4, but when John was on the show he felt more pressure being judged by the Queen of Cakes herself!

Talking about his time on the show, he told the Daily Star: "Competing is even harder than it looks. Paul Hollywood is soft but Mary is the scary one. That’s all I’m saying on that. She's Scary Mary."

He took a life-changing trip to Canada

John Whaite has been very open about his history with mental health and during a particularly challenging period in 2018 and 2019, he took what turned out to be a life-changing trip to a remote farm in Canada.

For six weeks, John lived on a 100-acre working farm in Barrière, Canada. In exchange for his bed and board, John became a volunteer on a farm where his passion for food was reinvigorated. He swapped recipes with his host family, cared for the livestock, and befriended their enormous guard dog, Luke.

You can read John's diary of his trip here.

John Whaite trained at a top culinary school

During his time on the Great British Bake Off, John secured a first-class law degree from the University of Manchester. Before long, he decided that a career in law wasn't for him and instead decided to pursue his passion for food. After that, he took part in training classes at Le Cordon Bleu, a top culinary arts school in London.

He used to be a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and Heat magazine

John Whaite is no stranger to writing, as he's produced four cookbooks to date. Aside from sharing recipes for delicious meals and baked goods, John has written for several other publications over the years. Previously, he has produced columns for both The Daily Telegraph and Heat magazine in his career.

His time on Strictly might prevent him from doing any major writing for the foreseeable future, but John is still sharing new recipes in The Telegraph!

He runs a cookery school

Given his reputation for producing quality food, it's no surprise that John wanted to share his expertise with others, and he opened a cookery school to do just that!

After 18 months of renovation, a 400-year-old barn standing on John's family farm in Wrightington in Lancashire was transformed into a welcoming kitchen space that is now home to John Whaite's Kitchen Cookery School. More information can be found here.

John loves making scones

Despite all that culinary expertise that John has built up over the years, he doesn't always like to make complicated dishes!

Earlier this year, John took part in a Q&A for Steph's Packed Lunch and viewers naturally asked him plenty of questions about cooking! 

John's no stranger to delicate and difficult-to-make pastries and desserts, but he revealed that the recipe he most likes making is scones, because he simply can't get enough of them! 

He also got asked what his favourite meal was to cook. After joking that it was just a reheated Chicago Town pizza in the microwave or a Pot Noodle, he shared that he loves making "easy things" like traybakes and homemade pizzas.

He appeared in a series of Waitrose cooking videos

John Whaite is no stranger to TV cooking, but he's also shared some recipes in spaces you might not expect. 

We've already mentioned his recipes in The Telegraph, but you can also find him cropping up in Waitrose's "At Home" series. This series of YouTube cookery videos sees chefs and food writers sharing recipes, tips and tricks all from the comfort of their own kitchens. 

To date, John Whaite has appeared in the series 6 times, most recently sharing a recipe for red cabbage coleslaw!

John Whaite's Fact File

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the chef...

How old is John Whaite?

John Whaite is 32 years old. He was born on 23 May 1989.

Is John Whaite married?

John Whaite is currently engaged to his long-term partner Paul Atkins, a graphic designer. They first announced their engagement back in 2017.

Does John Whaite have children?

No, John does not have children.

Where was John Whaite born?

John Whaite was born in Chorley, Lancashire in England.

How tall is John Whaite?

John is 6 foot 2 inches tall.


Instagram: @john_whaite

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.