Bake Off star rustles up a recipe for chemistry success with new campus science kitchen

A Great British Bake Off star has used his expertise to cook up a scientific kitchen at the University of Leicester.

The University’s very own Dr Josh Smalley, who was a 2023 Bake Off finalist, has developed the Science Kitchen as part of his new role as Science Communication and Engagement Champion.

The post sees Josh, who is also a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Institute for Structural and Chemical Biology, undertake public engagement and outreach activities to raise awareness of the opportunities chemistry can offer students.

The Kitchen, which is located in the Rattray Building on campus, is a space for food-related scientific demonstrations, talks, research and events.

It was officially opened by Josh and University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, on Tuesday 23 April.

Josh said: “Words can't describe how amazed and thankful I am for how the University of Leicester has supported my ambitious goal to set up a Science Kitchen on campus.

“It is a multifaceted space showcasing the chemistry behind the cooking and using baking as a means to highlight science to everyone and hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists.

“The Science Kitchen will be used to create online science of baking videos for all to see, as well as preparing demonstrations to deliver at schools and colleges or host as live webinars.

“These will be a fantastic opportunity for students to see science in the real world and I hope encourage them to pursue science further and maybe even do some baking as well.”

Josh added: “Speaking of baking, there will also be a series of events held in the Science Kitchen which will offer people the opportunity to sample some culinary creations as well as learn some of the science linked with it.”

Professor Canagarajah said: “Josh is a multi-talented professional with a doctorate in chemistry who also happens to be an outstanding baker, gardener, and chemical biologist.

“The Science Kitchen will be a great way for us to engage with schools and the community and to make chemistry, science and the work we do here at the University accessible to those in the city, county and beyond.”

You can follow the Science Kitchen’s progress via Josh’s Instagram account @joshpsmalley.

Schools and colleges can sign up for a future Science of Baking presentation at their institution, or to watch a future webinar, by registering interest at or by emailing