Flour power! Junior Bake Off hopeful says grandma is ‘biggest inspiration’

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Flour power! Junior Bake Off hopeful says grandma is ‘biggest inspiration’

 Zack Cohen, 13, who has become the 'go-to in the family' for making challah, beats thousands of applicants to compete in the popular Channel 4 show.

Zack, 13, is one of the contenders in this year's Junior Bakeoff!
Zack, 13, is one of the contenders in this year's Junior Bakeoff!

A 13-year-old with bake expectations has risen above thousands of rivals to claim a place in Channel 4’s Junior Bake Off. Zack Cohen joins 15 others hoping to be crowned Britain’s best young baker in the show, starting this week.

Zack, who cites his grandma Leila as his ‘biggest inspiration’, says that he has been baking for “his whole life, as long as I remember”.

From a young age, he remembers going to his grandma’s and making cupcakes. “One time she had edible wafer paper of footballs and I found it unbelievable that you can eat paper,” he recalls.

The Leeds schoolboy describes his baking style as “chaotic and crazy”, yet also his “calm place”.

Zack, 13

Though he loves trying “different things and experimenting with new ideas”, Zack’s speciality bread is challah and he claims that he is now the “go-to in the family” for making the traditional Shabbat dinner staple.

Like many, Zack says that he has finessed his bread-making skills over lockdown, particularly one that is seasoned with Za-atar, which he describes as “delicious”. He says he uses the internet to finesse his baking skills and watches lots of videos on social media.

When he isn’t baking, Zack can be found playing the bass guitar, which he taught himself, with his band, made up of his school friends.

Though he won’t be able to watch the programme with as big an audience as he’d have liked, Zack is “so excited to watch it on TV” and “shout about it” as he admits that it’s been “impossible keeping this massive secret.” 

  • Junior Bake Off is hosted by comedian and TV presenter Harry Hill, baker Liam Charles and professional pastry chef Ravneet Gill and will air Monday-Friday at 5pm for three weeks on Channel 4. 
Bake Off hopefuls: Front Row L-R: Henry, Toby, Will, Sicily, Zack, Maddi, Safiyyah, Naima. Back Row L-R: Reece, Fern, Robbie, Fyn, Sophia, Cece, Erin, Charlie

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