Bake Off: The Professionals is back. Twelve teams of professional pastry chefs will be pitted against each other to be crowned champions.The show kicks off tonight (26 May) at 8pm with the first six teams – the competition is split into two heats – whipping up incredible treats for judges Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden. Hosts Tom Allen and former Bake Off contestant Liam Charles will also be returning.Here’s the line-up:Heat oneJames and Neta – Andaz Hotel, LondonTeam captain James’ fascination with pastry saw him train as a chef in his homeland of Australia before moving to London in 2011, where he attended le Cordon Bleu, gaining a Diplome de Patisserie. In 2016, he joined Dominique Ansel as executive pastry chef, where he and Neta first met.Neta grew up in Israel and served in the army for four-and-a-half years before deciding a career in pastry was her calling. They believe their friendship and solid teamwork is what will make them stand out against the competition.Natalie and Kristine – Lexington Catering, LondonHead pastry chef Natalie says her sweet tooth was fuelled by her grandmother who used to work for McVitie’s. In 2002, Natalie won Silver for her pastillage work at the UK’s largest hospitality event, Hotelympia. The pair met while on a chocolate course and became firm friends through their mutual passion.Domenico and Alessandra – Park Plaza Hotel, LondonAs a young boy Domenico, now aged 30, was working in a pastry factory in his hometown in Italy at the behest of his father. Since then, he has attended pastry school, worked in fine restaurants and represented Italy and Europe in patisserie competitions. As head pastry chef at Park Plaza Hotel he manages a team of 15, one of them being teammate Alessandra who has worked with Domenico for most of her career and credits him for teaching her most of what she knows.Tracy and Moos – T. Sweetmap, Milton KeynesBaking started off as a hobby for T. Sweetmap founder Tracy, who was born and raised in Hong Kong before moving to Australia. The patisseries and bespoke celebration cake business is named after her travels and baking around the globe.Moos trained in patisserie in France and began working at Michelin-starred A la Table Joël Robuchon in Paris before coming to London and working at The Ritz, The Sloane Club and the Langham. He met Tracy while working at Michelin-star restaurant The Connaught. They believe they could be the underdogs of this competition.Clanny and Ryan – The Ivy, LondonClanny grew up in Goa, where he gained a diploma in patisserie before beginning his professional career. He went on to work aboard cruise ships and would regularly make sugar and chocolate showpieces, eventually settling in London as The Ivy Club’s head pastry chef in 2018.Ryan followed a similar path to Clanny and was also raised in Goa. In 2013, he moved to London and has been at The Ivy ever since, becoming head pastry chef in 2019. The pair have made desserts for The Queen, JK Rowling and Prince William.Andrew and Ian – The Lounge, RamsbottomNorthern lads Andrew and Ian make up the team from independently run restaurant The Lounge. Andrew has worked for five Michelin-star restaurants in his career including Chateau de Montreuil and Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus before deciding to open his first restaurant, The Dining Room, in 2004, followed two years later with The Lounge. Ian has built his career in the north and joined the Lounge a year ago.Heat twoGrete and Rosamaria – Cake and Bubbles, LondonGrete and Rosamaria are representing dessert-only restaurant Cake and Bubbles, which resides within London’s Hotel Café Royal. Grete is head pastry chef, having worked alongside her boss Albert Adria at his Heart restaurant in Ibiza. Grete offered Rosamaria the dream opportunity to work for Albert Adria in 2018, when Cakes and Bubbles first opened, giving her just one day to get from her home in Italy to London. This was no problem as Rosamaria jumped at the chance.Laurian and Thibault – Cocorico Patisserie, CardiffCardiff’s premier patisserie Cocorico was founded in 2010 by Laurian after following his boyhood dream of becoming a pastry chef. Thibault, who placed second in the UK Sugar Championships in 2017, joined Laurian five years ago. They’re used to the pressure, having appeared in Bake Off: The Professionals previously, narrowly missing out on that coveted trophy in the final.Nick and Paul – Talland Bay Hotel, CornwallHead chef Nick learnt the tricks of the trade at various hotels, including the DriftWood Hotel which was awarded a Michelin star in his time there. He has been the head chef at Talland Bay Hotel since 2013, where he manages a team of seven, including pastry chef Paul. Having trained to work in antiques, Paul fell into a job as a kitchen porter and very quickly decided the kitchen was his true calling.Ioan and Mareks – Macdonald Berystede, BerkshireRomanian-born Ioan studied for his Diploma in Pastry and Bakery before moving to the UK. He worked at various hotels, climbing up the ranks before becoming head chef at Macdonald Berystede. Mareks grew up in Latvia and began cooking from the age of 14 and when he moved to the UK he helped out at a family friend’s bakery before joining Macdonald Berystede in 2016 as sous chef.Ruth and Laura – The Hurlingham Club, LondonAt just 24, Ruth has an enviable list of Michelin experience under her belt, including working at Angler, The Square and Hide. Unlike Ruth, Laura’s career began in finance in the Colombian banking sector before she followed her dreams of being a pastry chef. Having trained at Le Cordon Bleu, she went on to garner experience at The Connaught and Harrods before joining The Hurlingham Club.Theodore and Neil – Venachar Lochside, Callander, ScotlandTheodore grew up in Scotland and, at 14, got his first kitchen job before becoming an apprentice at the 3AA rosette restaurant Cromlix House Hotel under Albert Roux. He has since worked at Kinloch House Hotel and then two Michelin-star Gidleigh House. He travelled for two years, spending time in Australia where he won Best West Australian Dessert 2015.Neil, also Scottish born and bred, used to be a delivery driver before an illness meant he was unable to work for a period of time. Once recovered, he decided a new career path was for him and gained experience working in pub kitchens before his experience and hard work secured him a job at 5-star luxury hotel Gleneagles. In 2018, Neil was awarded Bronze in Scottish Chef of the Year.
Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? “A football competition as big as the World Cup deserves to be in great places and if the US, Canada and Mexico get that it will be very special,” said former LA Galaxy star Beckham in a video released by Major League Soccer.The former England captain, who played for the Galaxy for six seasons and was awarded an MLS franchise in Miami earlier this year, said he had experienced the passion for the game in all three countries.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“I’ve been able to have played in one of these countries and I’ve been to the other two as well and also played in Canada for the Galaxy but I know the passion that runs through all three of those countries,” he said.“Don’t get me started on the passion that runs through Mexico because the players that I’ve played against, I’ve played against them as a nation before and there’s not many nations that are as passionate as them.” Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew New head of Spanish federation upset over World Cup trip The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star said he attended matches the last time the United States hosted the event, in 1994, but that the game has grown enormously in recent years.“I’ve seen how much the game has grown in the last 10 years and it’s incredible to have happened so fast and changed in so many different ways,” said Beckham.“People are really getting behind the game now throughout the US and it’s great to see, it’s great to have been a part of. I’m excited about 2026 because if that really happens, if it does happen, I know for sure that as a fan I’ll be going to that World Cup.”A long-awaited report from FIFA inspectors last week left the North American bid as the clear front-runner after giving it a rating of four out of a possible five according to its criteria.Morocco, bidding to become only the second African nation to host the tournament, received only 2.7 out of five, but advanced to the Moscow vote despite red flags being raised over several critical components of the bid.ADVERTISEMENT Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding LATEST STORIES View comments The 2026 World Cup will be the first to be expanded to 48 teams, posing a severe test for the hosts.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Former England footballer David Beckham arrives for the wedding ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Chris RadburnDavid Beckham has thrown his weight behind North America’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup as the vote looms, saying the fans’ passion for football would make the event “very special”.The US-Canada-Mexico joint bid is battling against Morocco for the right to stage the tournament, with FIFA members picking the winner at a vote in Moscow on June 13.ADVERTISEMENT