Nadiya Jamir Hussain (née Begum; born 25 December 1984) is a British TV chef, author and television presenter. She rose to fame after winning the sixth series of BBC's The Great British Bake Off in 2015. Since winning, she has signed contracts with the BBC to host the documentary The Chronicles of Nadiya and TV cookery series Nadiya's British Food Adventure and Nadiya's Family Favourites; co-presented The Big Family Cooking Showdown; and has become a regular contributor on The One Show.
Nadiya Jamir Begum
25 December 1984
Hussain is a columnist for The Times Magazine and has signed publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Hodder Children's Books and Harlequin. She has appeared as a guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women. She was invited to bake a cake for the 90th birthday celebrations of Elizabeth II.
In 2017, Hussain was named by Debrett's as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK and was on BBC News' 100 Women list. She was also shortlisted for Children's Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards for Bake Me A Story and was nominated for Breakthrough Star at the Royal Television Society Awards for The Chronicles of Nadiya. Ted Cantle, the author of a government report on community cohesion, said Hussain had done "more for British-Muslim relations than 10 years of government policy".
Hussain is a second-generation British Bangladeshi, born and raised in Luton, Bedfordshire, where she attended Beech Hill Primary School, Challney High School and Luton Sixth Form College. She has five siblings: three sisters and two brothers. Hussain's Sylheti father, who originates from Beanibazar, was a chef and owned an Indian restaurant. Hussain started wearing a hijab at age 14 to cover up her "bad hair more than anything else" because her father "cut it really badly." As a teenager, she was diagnosed with panic disorder and underwent cognitive behavioural therapy. She revealed her mental health difficulties in a Sport Relief film and tackled childhood anxiety in her book My Monster and Me.
Hussain learned basic cooking skills at school. Her mother never baked and used the oven for storage. She taught herself the rest from recipe books and watching videos on YouTube. Her favourite book is a baking-themed book by Irish novelist Marian Keyes.
At the time of The Great British Bake Off, Hussain was "a full-time mum" living in Leeds with her husband, an IT specialist, and three children, while studying for an Open University degree in Childhood and Youth Studies. When she won the final they moved to Milton Keynes nearer to London so that she could pursue a culinary career.
2015: The Great British Bake Off
Hussain appeared in and won the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off which aired from 5 August to 7 October 2015. During the final she baked 16 iced buns in three hours, as well as raspberry-flavoured mille-feuille, to one of Paul Hollywood's recipes, in two hours, and a multi-layered presentation cake which took the form of "My Big Fat British Wedding Cake", in a time of four hours. During her acceptance speech, she said:
With more than 15 million viewers, the final was the most-watched show of 2015. Her appearance on the show and ensuing popularity with audiences were deemed important steps toward shifting stereotypes about the Muslim community and acceptance about cultural diversity. Hussain established a large following on social media. Her online followers describe themselves as "Nadiyators" and she also won the backing of then Prime Minister David Cameron.
2016: The Chronicles of Nadiya
In August 2016, Hussain was presenter of a two-part food travelogue, The Chronicles of Nadiya, on BBC One, in which she travelled to Bangladesh to trace her culinary roots. She visited her paternal grandfather's village in Sylhet in the northeast of Bangladesh. She cooked for the crew of one of the country's famous paddle steamers, and visited a riverside village where they still practise the ancient art of otter fishing. In the capital Dhaka, she helped 'Thrive', a charity delivering meals to deprived schoolchildren. The first episode debuted immediately after The Great British Bake Off on 24 August, and was watched by 4.5 million viewers, a 20.5% share of all television viewers during the broadcast slot. The series was nominated at the 2017 National Television Awards under 'Factual Entertainment'. Hussain was nominated for Breakthrough star at the 2017 Royal Television Society Awards.
In November 2016, Hussain was a judge on the fourth series of Junior Bake Off on CBBC. Hussain replaced Mary Berry on the competition show in which 40 children aged between nine and twelve compete to create the best cakes and treats.
On 21 December 2016, Hussain presented a two-hour cookery show at her home on BBC Radio 2 alongside Olly Smith as part of BBC's Christmas radio line-up. The show was her first new programme after signing a deal to make the BBC her 'home', rebuffing speculation she would join Channel 4's version of Bake Off.
2017: Nadiya's British Food Adventure
From July to September 2017, Hussain presented Nadiya's British Food Adventure, an eight-part series on BBC Two. Hussain travelled across the country, visiting food producers, and then returned to her kitchen to cook using ingredients found on her journeys. A tie-in cookery book, published by Michael Joseph, features new recipes that use British ingredients cooked in a Bangladeshi style, such as Masala eggy bread, Yorkshire pudding with chia seeds and aubergine pakoras with ketchup.
From August to November 2017, Hussain co-presented The Big Family Cooking Showdown alongside Zoë Ball. Hussain left the show after the end of series one to focus on her own show, Nadiya's Family Favourites, and mentioned the decision was born out of her desire to get back to cooking.
In July 2018, Hussain's second TV cookery series Nadiya's Family Favourites aired on BBC Two. The six part series Time To Eat, first shown on BBC Two in July and August 2019, included various 'time-saving kitchen hacks' and recipes designed to save time and allow families to stay within budget. The show entered the Netflix catalog in April 2020.
Hussain also starred in an eight part series, Nadiya Bakes, first shown on BBC Two in September and October 2020.
Hussain has appeared as a reporter for The One Show on BBC One.
Hussain is a guest presenter on Loose Women. She announced on the programme that she had been given the honour of baking Elizabeth II's 90th birthday cake, an orange drizzle cake with orange curd and orange butter cream. Hussain said: "When I told the kids (I was making a cake for the Queen), the boys were great at keeping it a secret. I told my daughter and she said, 'Oh Mary Berry? You've made lots of cakes for Mary Berry'."
On 13 August 2016, Hussain appeared as guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, and was interviewed by Kirsty Young. She opened up about her struggles as a young mother, the social isolation suffered by some Muslim women and how her confidence grew during Bake-Off. She described the racial abuse she still receives on the street and, determined to be a good role model to her children, how she responds with the "dignity of silence".
On 9 December 2016, Hussain was a guest on BBC One's The Graham Norton Show.
Newspaper and magazine columns
Hussain is a Contributing Editor to UK's biggest food media brand, BBC's Good Food. Hussain also writes a monthly column for The Times Magazine, a part of the Saturday supplement of The Times, and was previously columnist for Essentials magazine.
Hussain was signed by UK publisher Michael Joseph, part of Penguin Random House, for her debut book Nadiya's Kitchen, which is a collection of the recipes which she cooks for friends and family. In 2017, Michael Joseph published a tie-in cookery book for Hussain's primetime eight-part BBC2 cookery series of the same name, Nadiya's British Food Adventure.
Hussain has written a children's book of stories and recipes, Bake Me A Story, published by Hodder Children's Books, which blends updated versions of fairytales (poor "Sleepless Beauty" just needs a nice cup of cardamom-infused hot chocolate to break her curse; resourceful Jack wins the giant over with yummy bean patties) with colourful illustrations and child-friendly recipes. In 2017, Bake Me A Story was shortlisted for Children's Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards. Following the success, a second cookbook and storybook compilation, Nadiya's Bake Me a Festive Story was published in October 2017.
The 2016 chart of the Top 100 Food & Drink books by book sales, compiled by industry analysts Nielsen, placed Hussain's books Nadiya's Kitchen and Bake Me A Story in third and fourth place, respectively.
Hussain released her first novel, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, in January 2017 with help from author Ayisha Malik and was billed as a British Muslim take on Little Women. A review published in The Guardian by Jenny Colgan sparked a fierce backlash on social media after Colgan questioned if Hussain "really need to put her name to a novel, too, when there's only so much shelf space to go around?" and accused Hussain of being "greedy".
In 2018, Hussain launched her own Homeware range in collaboration with BlissHome. The collection features designs across a full tableware range, as well as spice racks, candles, aprons, oven gloves and tea towels.
Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday
Hussain was commissioned by Buckingham Palace to bake Elizabeth II's cake as part of her 90th birthday celebrations. Hussain chose to bake an orange drizzle cake with orange curd and orange buttercream.
At the age of 20, Hussain married Abdal Hussain, whom she had only met once before, in an arranged marriage; they married in a traditional ceremony in Bangladesh. She has spoken about her earlier struggles of being in an arranged marriage, saying "It's tough – you are pretty much marrying a complete stranger... We had to live through the good and the bad, and have come out the other side."
Hussain is an ambassador for Starlight Children's Foundation, which supports lives of seriously ill children and is also a WaterAid ambassador. Hussain has shown her support for Armistice Day by wearing a 'poppy headscarf', designed to commemorate the number of Muslim soldiers who fought in World War One as well as promote the wearing of the poppy amongst British Muslims. In 2018, Hussain became a brand ambassador for Swarovski on a campaign focusing on female empowerment.
Hussain has suffered from panic attacks throughout her life. She contributed a baking recipe for the YoungMinds mental health charity's HelloYellow day, for World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2018.
Awards and nominations
|2017||National Television Awards (NTA)||Factual Entertainment||The Chronicles of Nadiya||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society (RTS)||Breakthrough Star||Nominated|
|Grierson Awards||Best Documentary Presenter||Nominated|
|Women in Film & Television (UK)||Presenter Award||Won|
|British Book Awards||Children's Book of the Year||Bake Me a Story||Nominated|
|2018||RTS West of England Awards||Factual Entertainment||Nadiya's British Food Adventure||Won|
|Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards||Programme||Won|
|Personality of the Year||Won|
|National Book Award||Food And Drink Book Of The Year||Nadiya’s Family Favourites||Nominated|
|2019||Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards||Best Brand Licensed Homewares Product or Range||Make Life Colourful Range from BlissHome||Won|
|Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards||Programme||Nadiya's Asian Odyssey||Won|
|2021||British Book Awards||Non-fiction: Lifestyle||Nadiya Bakes||Nominated|
|2015||The Great British Bake Off||BBC One||Winner|
|2015, 2016—||The One Show||Reporter|
|2015—||Saturday Kitchen'||Guest chef|
|2016||Loose Women||ITV||Occasional panellist|
|The Chronicles of Nadiya||BBC One||Presenter|
|Junior Bake Off||CBBC||Judge|
|2017||Nadiya's British Food Adventure||BBC Two||Presenter|
|The Big Family Cooking Showdown||Co-presenter|
|2018||Nadiya's Family Favourites||Presenter|
|Nadiya’s Party Feasts|
|Nadiya's Asian Odyssey||BBC One|
|2019||Nadiya: Anxiety and Me|
|Nadiya's Time to Eat||BBC Two /|
|2020||Nadiya Bakes||BBC Two/|
|Nadiya’s American Melting Pot||BBC One|
|The Gruffalo and Me: The Remarkable Julia Donaldson||Interviewed Guest|
|2021||Remarkable Places to Eat||BBC Two||Herself|
|Category||Year||Title||Publisher||Publication Date||ISBN||Tie-in TV Series|
|Biographies||2019||Finding My Voice||Headline Home||Oct 2019||ISBN 9781472259967|
|Cookery||2016||Nadiya's Kitchen||Michael Joseph (Penguin Books)||June 2016||ISBN 9780718184513|
|2017||Nadiya's British Food Adventure||July 2017||ISBN 9780718187668||✔|
|2018||Nadiya's Family Favourites||June 2018||ISBN 9780241348994||✔|
|2019||Time to Eat||July 2019||ISBN 9780241396599||✔|
|2020||Nadiya Bakes||July 2020||ISBN 9780241396612||✔|
|Children's||2016||Nadiya's Bake Me a Story||Hodder Children's Books||Sep 2016||ISBN 9781444933277|
|2017||Nadiya's Bake Me a Festive Story||Oct 2017||ISBN 9781444939613|
|2018||Nadiya's Bake Me a Celebration Story||Sep 2018||ISBN 9781444939583|
|2019||My Monster and Me||Oct 2019||ISBN 9781444946437|
|Fiction||2017||The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters||Harlequin||Jan 2017||ISBN 9780008192266|
|2019||The Fall and Rise of the Amir Sisters||Jan 2019||ISBN 9780008192310|
|2020||The Hopes and Triumphs of the Amir Sisters||Jan 2020||ISBN 9780008192389|
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Prof Cantle stated that Nadiya Hussain winning the Great British Bake-Off had done more for integration of Muslim communities than ten years of government policy.
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