Every week, The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with two former contestants on the U.K. reality show The Great British Bake Off (known in the U.S. as The Great British Baking Show) who forged an intergenerational friendship during the competition. They discuss the shared love of motorcycles that brought them together, the games they played during downtime on set, and how they stay close with each other as well as all the other bakers from their season.
Selasi Gbormittah, 33, a banker who lives in London
Val Stones, 68, a (semi) retired teacher who lives in Somerset
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Julie Beck: When did you first meet? Was it when filming started?
Selasi Gbormittah: We met in January 2016.
Val Stones: We happened to be on the same technical challenge, didn't we?
Selasi: Yeah. For Bake Off auditions, it's usually done in groups. I think it was on my final technical interview. I was hungover; it was my 30th birthday and I was in Prague. I caught an early flight and came back to the U.K., and had to bake my challenges to take with me. And that's where I met Val for the first time. Actually, Val and Kate [Barmby, another contestant].
Val: There was Lee [Banfield], Kate, myself, and you. I could spot this very tall young man and I thought, He's bound to get in. I said to Lee, "If you and I get in, we're the two old ones and he's going to be the young one."