Bake Off: The Professionals chefs still in the running as show reaches semi-final

Who will win the tense cooking competition?

Benoit and Cherish
Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden judge the chefs. (Channel 4)

Bake Off: The Professionals has reached the semi-final stage and things are getting hot in the kitchen.

The Channel 4 show returned in June, with a new set of pastry chefs going head to head under the watchful gaze of judges Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin. Tricky tasks like creating edible musical instruments, gravity-defying cake sculptures and winter wonderland themed sugar showpieces have proved to be challenging for some, and the judges have now whittled down the 12 duos.

Just four will be battling it out in the semi-final on Sunday (7 July). So who are they?

Pictured: Gerol and Michael from The RAF Club
Gerol and Michael have made the semi-final. (Channel 4)

Gerol and Michael are from The Royal Air Force Club, which is a private members club in London for members of the RAF. Gerol, who has been dubbed Mumma G on the show, is the pastry chef at the plush venue, while Michael is the executive chef.

The pair have proved to be very popular with viewers, with many commenting on social media on Gerol’s bubbly personality and “infectious laugh”. Viewers also like the fact she wears her heart on her sleeve, with the chef once getting tearful in an episode when a bake went wrong.

The cooks bring plenty of experience to the table as Michael has been whipping up culinary treats in the kitchen for close to 30 years. Fifteen years ago he was even given a Master of Culinary Arts award, a massive honour in the food world.

Gerol has had a slightly different path, coming to professional cooking a little later as she worked in marketing until she was in her 30s.

Pictured: Ajay and Petra from Adams
Ajay and Petra are from Birmingham, (Channel 4)

Ajay and Petra are from Michelin starred restaurant Adam's, which is in Birmingham. The pair both studied at the College of Food in Birmingham, and Petra won the coveted Young Pastry Chef of the Year gong in 2023.

She was mentored by Ajay, who got started early because he loved helping his mum to bake when he was little.

The pair have wowed the judges with their flavours. After serving up custard tarts containing rhubarb and candied pistachio, Finden said the "eating sensation" was "so beautiful”.

Bharat and John of Soko Patisserie
Bharat and John of Soko Patisserie have performed well in the contest. (Channel 4)

Bharat and John are whizzes in the chocolate world, with Bharat once mentoring John all the way to the final of the UK and Ireland Chocolate Masters. Despite their skills, they almost came a cropper during Chocolate Week on the Channel 4 show, when their delicate chocolate spider broke in the last few minutes.

The pair are from Soko Patisserie in Birmingham. And last year Bharat was named Pastry Chef of the Year 2023 by the British Culinary Federation. Writing on Instagram at the time he said he was “truly humbled” by the accolade. “The future is bright, the future is pastry,” he quipped.

Bharat was also a Bake Off: The Professionals finalist in 2018.

Tanuj and Narayan from The Intercontinental O2 London
Will Tanuj and Narayan make it to the final? (Channel 4)

Tanuj and Narayan are from InterContinental London at The O2.

Narayan worked in the Middle East before heading to the UK, while Tanuj was at The Savoy before getting a spot at InterContinental.

The duo have impressed the judges during the competition so far, with particularly strong offerings in the showpiece category. They turned out a stunning boom box for musical instruments week and created an incredible blue bird for the suspended showpiece episode.

The semi-final of Bake Off: The Professionals airs on Sunday 7 July at 8pm on Channel 4.