TheNational hamburger logo

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 January 2021

Viewers adore Great British Bake Off’s eye-rolling contestant Sura and her Middle Eastern style

The health worker from London has impressed judges and won over the audience

'Great British Bake Off' contestant Sura Selvarajah is adored by viewers for her dramatic facial expressions.
'Great British Bake Off' contestant Sura Selvarajah is adored by viewers for her dramatic facial expressions.

In week one, Sura was the villain of the piece.

She catastrophically, but accidentally, knocked fellow contestant Dave’s pineapple upside-down cake off the judging counter, while trying to swat a fly.

I’m so sorry! Oh my God,” she said, after destroying hours of work and leaving him with little to show for his efforts in the baking tent.

Fast forward two weeks and Sura Selvarajah, 31, a pharmacy dispenser who lives in London with her husband and elderly grandmother, has become one of the stars of beloved UK cooking show The Great British Bake Off.

She has put her family’s Middle Eastern heritage at the heart of her bakes, with a cooking style which includes influences from Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and India.

In week two she made her version of florentines – a sweet pastry made of nuts and fruit – inspired by her childhood travels to Iran.

She impressed judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, and bantered with hosts Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding.

Her dramatic facial expressions when the remaining time is announced have become her trademark, and made her a fan favourite on Twitter during Bread Week.

The official Great British Bake Off account tweeted:

Viewers remarked her facial expressions were the "best thing about the series" and "downright adorable" while one pointed out there was an "obvious niceness" about her.

Others compared her shocked look to that of Friends character Joey Tribbiani and actor Robert Downey Jr.

It was a far cry from the opening show, when she was on the receiving end of viewers’ ire.

Some suggested rival contestant Dave Friday should have knocked Sura's bakes on the floor after she accidentally destroyed his cake.

Another fumed: "There's no hell hot enough for desert saboteurs."

On Instagram, she describes herself as a yogi with a love of cats, wanderlust and the motto “be kind to one another”.

She has written: “Baking is my way of relaxing, it allows me to switch off and just do what I love.”

She has also said of her Bake Off experience: "I was so excited to get into the tent.

"I was looking forward to meeting Prue the most. I have watched her for many years on TV and I just loved her passion for food and flavours and her immense knowledge of it all.

"She inspired a lot of my baking in my early 20s."

She was bowled over when Sir David Attenborough commented on one of her cakes – intended to resemble him –while being interviewed on TV.

“I’m not crying, you are,” she wrote. “I love and admire him so much so this is a huge deal for me.”

Updated: October 7, 2020 06:28 PM

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to: