Published: 06:00, 24 November 2020
| Updated: 07:55, 24 November 2020
After making it through a controversial semi-final, tonight Laura Adlington is joining Peter Sawkins and Dave Friday in this year's Great British Bake Off Final.
The Gravesend-born 31-year-old, who lives in Halling, has become a favourite among viewers for her messy cooking that always ends in bakes that wow the judges.
Speaking before the final airs on Channel 4, Laura said: "I loved the whole experience. We had a lot of laughs and some great nights in the bar playing games or doing karaoke. It’s strange how quickly we all adapted to our new surroundings after being in lockdown for so long.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat. It has been one of the highlights of my life. What an incredible honour to go from being a Bake Off super fan to actually being in the tent.
"We all got really close very quickly as we were living together, so each week it got harder and harder to say goodbye. I was gutted when Sura left, but as time went on I also got really close with Lottie and Marc, so them leaving was a huge blow.
"I never dreamed I would be in the bubble for that long. I ran out of fake tan after two weeks and had to send off for emergency supplies."
A beautiful caged tart made her star baker in week five. An accolade that made her feel worthy of her place in the competition.
"I honestly wasn’t that fussed about getting star baker, but when I did I was chuffed to bits," she said. "It really gave me the confidence boost I needed and made me feel like I deserved to be there."
Laura is a volunteer for Samaritans in Medway in her spare time.
Branch director Georgina Laurie said: “We are so proud of Laura’s achievements on Bake Off and have really enjoyed watching her on the show.
"She is such a valued member of Medway Samaritans and is exactly how she comes across in the tent – always happy and ready to lend a hand. We can’t wait for the final and everyone here will be supporting her all the way.”
While there's still a chance Laura could be Kent's first winner, she's far from the first contestant.
Chetna Makan, from Broadstairs, was a semi-finalist in the 2014 series. The former fashion designer has written four cook books and runs a Youtube channel where she posts weekly recipes. Her latest book, Chetna's healthy Indian vegetarian, was released this summer.
She spoke to KentOnline about her memories of her time in the tent.
"We [the bakers] used to have so much fun, they gave us us a green room and a big dining room in the house we were filming in, where we would go in between challenges.
"After the challenges we would talk about what happened and whether we thought what the judges were saying was right or wrong. And of course we got to eat each other's food afterwards."
"It was quite a shock for all of us with the cameras. I think the first week it was a bit of shock but then we got used to it.
"We obviously knew it was being filmed but no one is expecting the cameras literally in your face."
She added: "Mary and Paul were lovely. Mary was really motherly, and would say 'have you eaten breakfast?'. We would start some days at 6am and it was freezing."
Chetna says the programme is not "heavily edited."
"It was exactly how you see it on TV, it's quite realistic," the mum-of-two said.
She describes appearing on the show as extremely enjoyable but also extremely stressful.
"The whole thing was too much, from the entry, to the whole process of elimination, and getting the phone call saying you'll be on the show."
There are about five rounds of baking before you even get on the programme, the 42-year-old said.
Chetna had only started baking a few years before appearing on the show, when she decided to make her children birthday cakes.
"I loved it. I always tell people who are having a bake just go for it, you have got nothing to lose."
The cohort of 2014 are still very close and have attended each other's weddings and popped round for Christmas parties.
"We never lost touch. We made a WhatsApp group on day two of filming and still use it now," Chetna said.
Amidst her hectic schedule of making Youtube videos, creating new recipes and writing for magazines, Chetna will make sure she watches this year's Bake Off, as she has every year.
She will even be hosting a live chat on her Instagram channel each week at 6pm before the show, with former bakers. Tonight her first guest is 2014 winner and former rival Nancy Birthwhistle.
Like Chetna, Bake Off finalist Jane Beedle has continued to share her baking with the world since wowing the judges. She lost out to Candice Brown in the 2016 series and this year launched her own cookery school at Monkshill Farm, near Faversham.
The garden designer won millions of fans on series seven, which was the last to air on BBC One, and was much-loved by fellow contestants.
The mum, whose grandad owned a bakery, dazzled in the technical challenges and impressed Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with her mirror glazed cake.
She said: "I had a brilliant time. It gave me confidence in so many ways and was a really good laugh. One of the joys is meeting people, especially children, who were inspired by my appearance on the show."
A firefighter from Tunbridge Wells turned up the heat with his sizzling bakes.
Mat Riley impressed the judges in the 2015 series with his gin and tonic Madeira cake. His edible fire truck, containing biscuits, also won over the judges.
The 42-year-old, who hails from Kent but moved to London, was the seventh contestant to leave after coming unstuck in the Victorian-themed tasks.
He had only been baking for three years before facing up to the country's best amateur pastry peddlers.
Mat still bakes and regularly shares snaps of family life on his social media accounts.
From contestants old to the ones we haven't even met yet, tonight we will see Gravesend resident Laura Adlington whisk up a frenzy in cake week.
In the signature, the bakers have to put their twist on the classic Battenburg, then make a fruit sponge for the technical and for the showstopper they had to pay tribute to their heroes.
But it's not just the contestants that know how wonderful the county is, judge Paul Hollywood has made the county his home too.
The charity event was organised by landlord Melissa Spalding, 36, who has been romantically-linked to the silver fox.
Paul, 54, is the only original cast member left and has been with the show since it began in 2010.
He began his career at his father's bakery as a teenager and has served as head baker at hotels around Britain and internationally.
Three years ago, Paul, who lives in Smarden, crossed the pond to appear as a judge on The Great American Baking Show.
In May, he recorded a thank you message to the county's NHS workers during the pandemic.
Dedicated Bake Off fans will recognise Jo Brand as host of An Extra Slice, the programme where Jo and celebrity guests discuss the latest episode.
A comedian and actor, Jo, 63, has been a familiar face on TV for decades.
After moving from London as a child, she grew up in Benenden, a picturesque village in the Weald, studying at St Mary's Platt Primary School, Benenden Village Primary School and later, Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School.
In an interview with the BBC, she recalled a childhood in the country; falling in ponds, riding donkeys and bell ringing in the church where her best friend's father was the vicar.
Writing in the The Guardian two years ago, Jo remembers summers splashing in the pool at the local girl's private school, which Princess Anne attended.
However, she also wrote of the rural poverty in the area, the "dawning realisation that not all adults were good people," and a terrifying head teacher.
The comedian also received an honorary doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University in 2014 and opened a new centre at the university's Tunbridge Wells site three years ago.