It was make or break for superstitious Chuen-Yan who vowed to apply to take part in the eighth series of The Great British Bake Off – because eight is her lucky number.

And the 46-year-old, who moved to the UK when she was two from Hong Kong, now living in Enfield, admits she still finds it ‘totally surreal’ that she is part of the latest line-up.

“I’ve been baking for ten years and I’ve got really into it,” the 46-year-old explains. “And the more I got into it, the more my friends kept telling me to apply. They said my personality would suit the tent. I promised I would apply when I finished my Masters degree. People then really did take me for my word and they kept reminding me.

“I was excited in a way about what might happen if I did as I realised it was series eight and eight is my lucky number in Chinese symbolism.”

Enfield Independent:

Overjoyed to have been chosen, Yan says nothing, however, could prepare her for the moment she arrived at the Bake Off location. “I was like a rabbit caught in a headlight for the entire day,” she admits. “But I work in a high profile laboratory and you have to show a cool exterior. If you panic in the lab, everyone else does. In the tent, I tried to keep a cool exterior, too, even though I was feeling apprehensive inside!”

Determined to throw everything into her first day, Yan says her avid GBBO fan brother was a tremendous help giving her lots of advice. “He loves the show and he watches it all the time,” she explains. “He was my main guide and he gave me lots of tips but the trouble is that all goes out the water when you are in the tent. He told me beforehand everyone would either cut their hand or not switch on the oven. So what do I do? Not switch the oven on high enough! You practice and practice beforehand but being in the GBBO tent is not like being at home. You don’t realise how well you know your own kitchen until you are somewhere else. You find yourself going ‘where’s the peeler, knife?’ I found I kept looking for stuff on my first day.”

Prue, Sandi and Noel were ‘the best’, adds Yan, as she declares Paul isn’t nearly as scary as people might think. “I don’t know if he wants this banded around as it might ruin his reputation but he is such a lovely guy!” she chuckles. “Sandi and Noel couldn’t be better hosts. We were all made to feel at home by them on the first day. They are the best. Prue is lovely too.”

Very proud of her heritage, Yan admits she decided she wanted to keep it simple. The scientist explains: “For Bake Off, I didn’t draw on my background. Flavours, perhaps, but I knew I needed to keep everything as traditional as possible in cake week. I didn’t want to mess up if I tried to over complicate things.

“I know my own family used to steam cakes and use the oven as storage space – but that’s because flats are tiny in Hong Kong. And I still use my oven as storage because my kitchen is tiny – but I didn’t do that in the tent!”

Yan is so interested in savoury dishes that she even calls her sourdough starter ‘Muvver’. “I love bread,” she admits. “I call my starter Muvver and one of the best things about chatting to Paul when I met him on the first day was chatting about bread. I learnt so much in a matter of minutes.”

Incredibly excited her big secret that she is going to be on GBBO is finally out, Yan is still unsure if she would ever swap her life as a scientist for a role in a bakery. “I am a cancer scientist and that’s my path,” she adds. “That is what I am comfortable with and to find yourself in the tent being critiqued made you feel like a fish out of water. But how lucky am I?

“Even now, I still can’t believe I have been chosen to take part in this series."