Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
ICYMI, The Great British Bake Off returned to screens last night with a brand new cohort of bakers all eager to show Channel 4 viewers their skills.
Joining Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas in the tent, 12 new contestants took to their stations for cake week.
And whilst we might only be one episode down, fans appear to have already identified this year’s favourite.
The tent was full of lots of big personalities, as ever, including cooky pink haired gardener Carole, and boxer, Sandro (who has already got some swooning fans).
But it’s another contestant who has been crowned the nation’s sweetheart. The King of Bake Off’s latest series. We are, of course, talking about Janusz.
At the beginning of the show we learnt that Janusz had moved to the UK from Poland 10 years ago, today living on the southeast coast with his boyfriend, Simon, and their sausage dog, Nigel.
Alongside baking, Janusz loves internet culture, watching drag and collecting movie props, and describes his culinary creations as “cartoon-like, colourful and camp”.
We mean, you couldn’t write a TV favourite better if you tried.
Janusz gave viewers comedic moments from the get go, teasing Prue about the amount of cherry vodka he was putting into his cake “for her”, and rushing into Sandro’s arms after (very deservedly) being dealt the star baker at the end of the show.
But his sweetest moment came at the end of the episode, when he called his family to tell them how well he’d done, as a result of his Polish-inspired mini cakes and an incredible showstopper decorated to look like his mum’s flat.
“I’ve cried so many times. I think my boyfriend will be really proud and will say, ‘you can make cake and I’ve told you you can make cake’,” he told the cameras before making the call.
Then, when his partner answered the phone, he emotionally blurted out: “Hey honeybun, I just wanted to tell you that I won star caker in the bake week.”
Immediately, Janusz realised his blunder and burst out laughing, but in this moment, he had secured the hearts of the country.
If, like us, you want to watch it back a million times, you can do so here:
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) September 13, 2022
Be still, our beating hearts.
Reacting to Janusz’s adorable moments and triumphant first episode online, people made no secret of the fact he was their early favourite.
“Janusz is my favourite. No further questions #GBBO,” declared TV host and author, Richard Osman.
Meanwhile, another fan shared a meme branding him a ‘king’ with the caption “Janusz is star caker of my heart #GBBO”.
“In conclusion I will die for Janusz and his sausage dog #GBBO,” commented a third, rather dramatically.
As a fourth chipped in: “So he has cherry vodka in a spray bottle and a sausage dog called Nigel. I think Janusz is my early favourite #GBBO”.
Janusz is my favourite. No further questions #GBBO
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) September 13, 2022
— Georgia (@GeorgiaEH17) September 13, 2022
So he has cherry vodka in a spray bottle and a sausage dog called Nigel. I think Janusz is my early favourite #GBBO
— Katie Homer #FBPE 💙 (@KatieHomer) September 13, 2022
Some other fans even compared the contestant to last year’s Bake Off sweetheart, Jurgen – a similarly wholesome character who played trombone in his spare time, had a rabbit called Humphrey and also won star baker in week one.
“Janusz out here filling a Juergen shaped hole in my heart #GBBO,” wrote one.
As another concurred: “Janusz a strong contender for Jürgen’s throne here #GBBO”.
It’s obviously very early doors to be declaring our favourite, but there’s no denying that Janusz was the star of episode one, when it came to his baking and his overall vibe.
The love for Jurgen is almost just as strong today as it was last year, with fans still calling for him to have his own show a whole year later, following his departure from Bake Off in last year’s semi-final.
Here’s hoping Janusz makes it as far… It certainly seems he’s a national treasure in the making.