AS The Great British Bake Off returns to TV screens this coming week, fans can look forward to seeing past contestants this year’s two-day Didcot Food Festival.

One of the festival’s main organisers, Oxfordshire’s Christine Wallace, reached the quarter finals of Series 4 in 2013.

Since her appearance on the hit show, Ms Wallace’s career has centered around her love of baking, giving demos at food events, appearances on local radio and writing about food, particularly baking.

She has also been an essential player in the organisation of the Didcot Food Festival, now in its fourth year and extended to a two-day event when it returns on October 26 and 27 at the Didcot Civic Centre.

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She said: “I love planning who we are going to have in the Chef’s Kitchen each year. We have our favourite chefs and bakers who the visitors always enjoy seeing, combined with chefs from Oxfordshire, former MasterChef contestants and people who have appeared on Great British Bake Off.

“This year we will have Ali Imdad, who loves to combine flavours that reflect his love of travel and his culture which has helped him invent new baking hybrids.

“I will also be joined by Howard Middleton and we will be doing a joint demo on Sunday October 27 at 1.45pm. With Howard’s sense of humour, this is bound to be filled with much fun and laughter. Both Ali and Howard were contestants on Series 4 with me.”

Having reached the quarter final of GBBO in 2013, Ms Wallace’s life was transformed following her appearance.

She said: “I was inspired to start baking by watching my lovely grandmother bake and cook when I was just 6 years old.

"I finally filled in the application form in December 2012 quite confident that I wouldn’t get anywhere! Then one evening in February 2013, I got a call inviting me to an audition but at the same time informing me that 15,000 people had applied.

"I was then even more confident I wouldn’t get anywhere!

"In fact, at each stage of the audition journey I was convinced it would be the last.

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"The call telling me I was one of the 2013 bakers on the show was quite surreal and I just couldn’t believe it. "I decided in fact that no way could I do it but my husband put in no few words that if I didn’t I would regret it for the rest of my life and oh my goodness, I would have!"

She continued: "The whole Bake Off experience was amazing and had led to my current life where I now demonstrate at various food festivals and cookery schools, up and down the country.

"I get to talk to different organisations, guest on various BBC radio slots and have even cooked lunch for a member of the royal family!”

Since they appeared on Bake Off, the pair have become great friends.

He said: “I’ve been coming down to Didcot every year since 2015 and I love doing my double act with Chris. "She has such a lovely, positive aura about her and we always have fun. At some point, there will probably be wine; much as there was when we were filming Bake Off.”

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He added: "Since GBBO, like many of the other contestants, I’ve been asked to judge lots of competitions. "At one competition in a local church in 2017, I remember giving second place to a very nervous young baker called Rahul. Then he went on to win GBBO the following year.”

Over the years, Mr Middleton has specialised in gluten free baking; not as a result of any health issue on his part but as a result of baking for work colleagues who were gluten intolerant.

As he enjoys a challenge, over the years he has created a number of gluten-free recipes, one of which is shown below.

Early bird tickets for this year’s festival are avilable via