Here's What It Takes To Become A Great British Baking Show Contestant

One of the most wildly popular cooking competitions is The Great British Bake Off, with the latest season finale setting viewing records for Channel 4, the broadcaster that airs the show in the UK. It brought in an average audience of 9.2 million viewers, according to Variety, and the fan base just keeps growing. It appears that home bakers are clamoring to be a part of the phenomenon, and according to Insider, approximately 12,000 applicants try their hand at the process every year.

However, only 12 contestants of the thousands who apply make it onto the show, and given the popularity, it may come as no surprise that the application process is very involved. According to Delish, things kick off with a multi-page online questionnaire that asks potential bakers about their baking weaknesses, their experience with bread, and more. It even requires bakers to submit a few photos of items they've created. A contestant from season seven of the show, Rav Bansal, told Insider that the questionnaire was "the longest application form in the history of forms."

Fans of the show know that the Technical Challenge is part of the regular bake-off line-up (via Krish the Baker), and it appears the application process incorporates a bit of technical know-how as well. If they've gotten past the online questionnaire stage, prospective contestants can expect a phone interview. They're not simply asked about favorite recipes, though — they're asking about things such as the appropriate temperature for baking a specific dessert (via Insider).

Getting in front of the cameras

After making it through the questionnaire and phone interview, a potential contestant finally has the opportunity to get their bake on, although not for television audiences just yet! Prospective bakers must whip up both sweet and savory treats for the Bake Off team, which includes a food technician that judges the creations (via Insider). These particular tests are done off-camera.

The off-camera tests are followed by a screen test, which determines whether or not a contestant will perform well in the particular environment of the show. A baker who freezes under the camera lights doesn't exactly make for good television week after week. The potential bakers are instructed to bake while the cameras are on them, with occasional questions or interactions peppering the process (via Insider).

After all those hoops have been jumped through by a prospective contestant, the massive 12,000 applicant pool has been whittled down to just 30 or 40 contestants (via Insider). They are then taken to meet with a psychologist to ensure they're able to handle the stresses of the reality television environment, explains Insider.

There are a few other considerations for home bakers looking to apply. As The Sun reports, potential contestants need to be available for all the filming days in the schedule. They also need to be amateurs, and individuals with prior experience as full-time bakers, cooks or chefs, or individuals with some type of culinary certificate or education, won't be considered.