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'Bake Off: The Professionals' 2021 — air date, hosts, judges and all you need to know

Bake Off The Professionals judges
The Bake Off: The Professionals 2021 judging team. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Get ready to witness some of the most incredible edible structures you've ever seen as Bake Off: The Professionals 2021arrives on Channel 4.

The hunt for the UK's best professional patisserie duo is on once more as hosts, former Bake Off contestant Liam Charles and comic Tom Allen, welcome 12 brand-new teams of fully-trained pastry chefs to the competition, where they’ll show off their talent and skill under the watchful eyes of formidable patisserie experts, Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden. Here's what we know so far…

The Bake Off: The Professionals 2021 release date

Bake Off: The Professionals returns for a new 10-part series on Tuesday May 25 at 8pm on Channel 4.

Who are some of the talented pastry chefs taking part?

Among the talented teams taking part in heat one include Kevin and Maria Vittoria, who are representing London’s five-star hotel The Lanesborough, and Michael and Andrew from Cardiff-based Gin and Bake, Wales’s only patisserie with a dedicated gin garden.

"There are some great personalities and characters this year and, this time round, we get to know them more than usual, which the viewers will like," says judge Benoit. "You see them improve weekly and they face the toughness of the challenges really well. There were some surprising recipes, which I really want to try and reinvent for myself."

Bake Off The Professionals 2021 chef

Hot air: A new baking tool. (Image credit: Channel 4)

The Bake Off: The Professionals 2021 themes

The past 12 months have been hard on the hospitality industry, and some of this year’s themes really challenge the chefs to prove just how skilled they really are. 

"This year made competing more complex than usual, and the chefs really made the best of the circumstances, so they should be proud of their achievements," says judge Cherish. "There are some very interesting and unusual themes this year: Heroes and Villains, Robots, House of Horrors, Futuristic Jungle, a Seventies Disco theme and a Teddy Bears Picnic!"

What do we know about the first miniature challenge?

We love the pastries that come in bite-sized portions and there are plenty of a tiny, tasty treats in store in week one of Bake Off: The Professionals 2021. Benoit reveals more… 

"We ask the chefs to make 24 precise and perfect Jaffa Cakes and 24 miniature Tarte Piemontaises — they're beautifully baked pastry cases, filled with hazelnut cream and topped with chocolate and hazelnut ganache," he says. "It's a classic dessert from the Piedmont region of Italy and uses the most simple yet flavoursome ingredients."

Bake Off The Professionals

Can the chefs do enough to impress formidable judges Benoit and Cherish? (Image credit: Channel 4)

What about the Showpiece challenge?

The theme for the first Showpiece is focused on "the ordinary becoming the extraordinary", and sees the judges pushing the teams to the limit.

"We wanted the teams to be creative, to reinvent and reimagine the humble dessert and elevate it to the next level using their extraordinary skills," says Cherish. "It's a great challenge."

Can we expect any kitchen disasters?

It's always a nail-biting moment as the teams put the finishing touches to their incredible, edible Showpiece structures — but will they remain in one piece? Not always, as Cherish reveals…

"There are some quite dramatic moments coming up involving the Showpieces," she teases. "I felt for the teams when this happened as they put a lot of effort into their work. I wished I could give them a hug when it all went wrong."

Bake Off The Professionals heat one group

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Bake Off: The Professionals returns on Tuesday May 25 at 8pm on Channel 4.