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Nadiya Jamir Hussain[1] (née Begum;[2] born 25 December 1984) is a British TV chef,[3][4] author[5] and television presenter.[6] She rose to fame after winning the sixth series of BBC's The Great British Bake Off in 2015.[7][8] Since winning, she signed contracts with the BBC to host the documentary The Chronicles of Nadiya, TV cookery series, Nadiya's British Food Adventure[9] and Nadiya's Family Favourites,[10] co-presented The Big Family Cooking Showdown,[11] and regular contributor on The One Show.

Nadiya Hussain
BornNadiya Jamir Begum
(1984-12-25) 25 December 1984 (age 33)
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
OccupationTelevision personality, presenter, newspaper columnist, author
Years active2015–present
EmployerThe Times, BBC, ITV
TelevisionThe Great British Bake Off
The Chronicles of Nadiya
Junior Bake Off
Nadiya's British Food Adventure
The Big Family Cooking Showdown
Nadiya's Family Favourites
Spouse(s)Abdal Hussain

Nadiya is a columnist for The Times Magazine, and has signed publishing deals with Penguin Random House,[12] Hodder Children's Books,[13] and Harlequin.[14] She has appeared as a guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women.[15] She was invited to bake a cake for the 90th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2017, Hussain was named by Debrett's as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK[16] and was on BBC News' 100 Women list.[17] In 2017, Hussain was shortlisted for Children’s Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards for Bake Me A Story[18] and was nominated for Breakthrough star at the Royal Television Society Awards for The Chronicles of Nadiya.[19]


Early lifeEdit

Hussain is a second-generation British Bangladeshi born and raised in Luton, where she attended Challney High School and Luton Sixth Form College. She was one of six children, with three sisters and two brothers. Hussain's father was a chef and owned an Indian restaurant.[20] Hussain started wearing a hijab aged 14 to cover up her "bad hair more than anything else" because her father "cut it really badly."[21][22][23]

As a teenager she was diagnosed with panic disorder and underwent cognitive behavioural therapy.[24] Hussain revealed her mental health battles in a Sport Relief film [25] and is to tackle childhood anxiety in a forthcoming book, My Monster and Me.[5]

Hussain learned basic cooking skills at school;[11] 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.[26]

At the time of The Great British Bake Off, Hussain was a housewife living in Leeds with her husband, an IT specialist, and three children, while studying for an Open University degree in Childhood and Youth Studies.[27] When she won the final they moved to Milton Keynes, near London, so that she could pursue a culinary career.[26]

Television careerEdit

The Great British Bake OffEdit

In 2015, Hussain appeared in and won the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off. 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 showstopper which took the form of "My Big Fat British Wedding Cake", in a time of four hours. During her acceptance speech, she said:

I'm never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never gonna say I can't do it. I'm never gonna say 'maybe'. I'm never gonna say, 'I don't think I can.' I can and I will.[28]

With more than 15 million viewers, the final was the most-watched show of 2015.[29] 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.[30][31][32]

Hussain established a large following on social media thanks to her stunning show-stoppers and her illuminating facial expressions, her online followers describe themselves as "Nadiyators" and also won backing of then Prime Minister David Cameron.[33]

The Junior Bake OffEdit

In 2016, Hussain became judge on Junior Bake Off.[34] Hussain replaced Mary Berry on CBBC's version of the contest in which 40 children aged 9 to 12 compete to create the best cakes and treats.[35]

The Chronicles of NadiyaEdit

Hussain was presenter of two-part foodie travelogue, The Chronicles of Nadiya,[36] in which she travels to Bangladesh to trace her culinary roots.[37] She visits her paternal grandfather's village in the Sylhet region of north-east Bangladesh. She cooked for the crew of one of the country's famous paddle steamers that ply the waterways, 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.[38]

The first episode debuted immediately after The Great British Bake Off aired on 24 August 2016 and was watched by 4.5 million viewers, a 20.5% share of all television viewers during the broadcast slot.[39] The Chronicles of Nadiya was Nominated for 2017 National Television Awards under 'Factual Entertainment' category.[40] For The Chronicles of Nadiya, Hussain was nominated for Breakthrough star of 2017 in the Royal Television Society Awards.[19]

Nadiya's British Food AdventureEdit

From July 2017 Hussain presented Nadiya's British Food Adventure, an eight-part series on BBC Two.[6] Hussain travelled across the country, visiting food producers, and then returned to her kitchen to cook using ingredients found on her journeys.[41][42][9]

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.[43]

Big Family Cooking ShowdownEdit

In autumn 2017 Hussain co-presented The Big Family Cooking Showdown alongside Zoë Ball.[44][45] Hussain left the show after one series 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.[46]

Nadiya’s Family FavouritesEdit

In July 2018, Hussain's second TV cookery series aired on BBC Two.[10]

Media appearancesEdit

On Christmas Day 2015, Hussain made a cameo appearance in the BBC One show Michael McIntyre's Big Christmas Show recorded at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.[47] Hussain has appeared as a reporter for The One Show on BBC One.[48][49]

Hussain is a guest presenter on Loose Women.[15] She announced on the programme that she had been given the honour of baking Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday cake,[50][51] 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'."[52]

In August 2016, Hussain was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs,[53] 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".[16][54][55]

In December 2016, Hussain presented a two-hour cookery show at her home on BBC Radio 2 alongside Olly Smith as part of BBC radio Christmas line-up. The show is her first new programme after signing a deal to make the BBC her 'home' – scotching speculation she would join Channel 4's version of Bake Off.[56]

On 9 December Hussain was a guest on BBC One's The Graham Norton Show.[57]

Writing careerEdit

Newspaper and magazine columnsEdit

Hussain is Contributing Editor to UK's biggest food media brand, BBC's Good Food .[58] Hussain also writes a weekly column for The Times Magazine, a part of the Saturday supplement of The Times,[26][59][60] and was previously columnist for Essentials magazine.[61]

Her recipes have also appeared in BBC's Good Food magazine,[62] The Sun on Sunday's Fabulous magazine,[63][64] The Guardian[65] and The Telegraph.[65]


Hussain was signed by UK publisher Michael Joseph, part of Penguin Random House,[12] for her debut book Nadiya's Kitchen, which is a collection of the recipes which she cooks for friends and family.[66] In 2017, Michael Joseph is published a tie-in cookery book for Hussain's primetime eight-part BBC2 cookery series of the same name, Nadiya's British Food Adventure.[43]

Hussain has written a children's book of stories and recipes, Bake Me A Story, published by Hodder Children's Books,[13] 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.[2] In 2017, Bake Me A Story was shortlisted for Children's Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards.[18] Following the success, a second cookbook and storybook compilation, Nadiya's Bake Me a Festive Story will be published in October 2017.[67]

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.[68]

Nadiya's 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.[14] 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”.[69][70]


Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthdayEdit

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.[71][72]

Other commissionsEdit

Hussain was commissioned by London Dungeon to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, and created a fire-inspired loaf.[73] In June 2016, Hussain collaborated with Champneys Spa Hotel to create a special afternoon tea dessert.[74] She was also commissioned by Disney to make an Alice inspired cake for 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' themed tea party in London.[75][76]

Personal lifeEdit

At the age of 19, Hussain married Abdal Hussain, whom she had only met once before, in an arranged marriage; they married in a traditional ceremony in Bangladesh. They have two sons and a daughter.[26][77] Hussain's birthday is on Christmas Day[78] and her sister Sadiya's birthday is on Christmas Eve.[79]

Hussain is ambassador for Starlight Children's Foundation, which supports lives of seriously ill children[80] and is also WaterAid ambassador.[81] 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.[82] In 2018, Hussain became a brand ambassador for Swarovski on a campaign focusing on female empowerment.[83]

Hussain contributed a baking recipe for the YoungMinds mental health charity's HelloYellow day, for World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2018. [84]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
2017 National Television Awards (NTA) Factual Entertainment[40][85] The Chronicles of Nadiya Nominated
Royal Television Society (RTS) Breakthrough Star[19] Nominated
Grierson Awards Best Documentary Presenter[86] Nominated
Women in Film & Television (UK) Presenter Award [87][88] Won
British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year[18] Bake Me A Story Nominated
2018 RTS West of England Awards Factual Entertainment [89] Nadiya's British Food Adventure Won
Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards Programme [90] Won
Personality of the Year [90] Won
National Book Award Food And Drink Book Of The Year[91] Nadiya’s Family Favourites Nominated




  • Nadiya's Kitchen (Michael Joseph, June 2016) ISBN 9780718184513
  • Nadiya's Bake Me a Story (Hodder Children's Books, September 2016) ISBN 9781444933277
  • Nadiya's British Food Adventure(Michael Joseph, July 2017) ISBN 9780718184513
  • Nadiya's Bake Me a Festive Story (Hodder Children's Books, October 2017) ISBN 9781444939613
  • Nadiya's Family Favourites (Michael Joseph, June 2018) ISBN 9780241348994
  • Nadiya's Bake Me a Celebration Story (Hodder Children's Books, September 2018) ISBN 1444939580



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External linksEdit