From biscuits to bread, pies to pavlovas, 10 amateur Kiwi bakers have their skills put to the test. Will they rise to the challenge?

The Bakers

27 | Masterton | @courtnaycooks

Courtnay is a wedding and events manager from Masterton who has been obsessed with The Great Kiwi Bake Off since season one.

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Now, she’s ready to put her skills to the test.

Dubbed ‘The Decorator’, Courtnay is no stranger to competition – she has previously represented New Zealand in discus and hammer throw.

Let’s hope she doesn’t start throwing plates if things don’t go her way in the kitchen!

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
I applied for The Great Kiwi Bake Off because I absolutely love baking. I’m always trying new recipes and posting pics of my creations. Friends and family have always said I should apply for a cooking or baking show – so I finally took their advice!

What is your signature bake?
I wouldn’t say I have a signature bake – I love variety in my baking! If I had to narrow it down though, I always enjoy baking cakes!

How would you describe your baking style?
My baking style is quite simple. I enjoy classic flavours and making things look pretty. I will always lean more towards traditional, clean flavours over crazy experimental ones!

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
I’d probably be a pink marshmallow slice with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top! Bright, sweet and a bit squidgy!

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?
I’m a pretty logical person – I like to do things step by step. I also don’t normally get too flustered if things go wrong – I just think about the best way to fix it! I’m hoping I’ll take those skills into the kitchen!

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
Nigella Lawson, Michael Bublé and The Queen.

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
I’m honestly thrilled just to have the experience of being on The Great Kiwi Bake Off, winning would be the icing on the cake!

26 | Whangarei | @treatrightnz

Dr Alby is bringing his passion for healthy eating into the sugar-laden Bake Off kitchen.

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Residing in Whangarei, Alby would like to incorporate his knowledge of health with his love of baking and cooking into a full-time career to help Kiwis learn healthy eating habits.

In his spare time Alby dabbles in music and likes to keep active with a multitude of sports.

He believes his creativity will give him the extra edge in this competition.

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?
I think I have a good understanding of flavour which comes through strongly in my cooking. I can be both rustic or refined in my approach in the kitchen and have a decent repertoire of technical skills and culinary knowledge.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
I would be a macaron: a colourful shell with a creamy and delicious filling – on the inside, where it counts!

Who are your culinary heroes?
My mother is my number one culinary hero as she taught me a lot in the kitchen growing up and continues to inspire me. I also take a lot of inspiration from writers such as Nik Sharma, Yotam Ottolenghi and Anna Jones.

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
Lady Gaga, Roger Federer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
Winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off would mean everything to me. It would foremost be a thank you to my whanau and friends who have supported me with my cooking and pushed me to become a better baker. It would be validation that I have the skills to pursue a future in this industry and encourage me to follow some of my cooking dreams and aspirations.

If you were to win The Great Kiwi Bake Off, do you have a baking dream you’d like to pursue?
I would love to have a published recipe book that becomes a tattered and well-loved addition to the collections of Kiwi households. I also dream of being able to inspire young people to bake and learn to cook and would love to be able to actively teach culinary skills to New Zealand youth to promote healthier futures.

30 | Hamilton | @quirkybites

Experimenting is bread and butter to research associate Christina.

If you see her eyes glazing over during work hours, it’s because she’s dreaming of her next bake.

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Christina loves taking simple traditional recipes and applying her own personal style to entertain and indulge work colleagues, friends and family.

In this competition, Christina draws on her Swiss and Hong Kong heritage to create fusion style baking with a modern twist.

How would you describe your baking style?
Definitely experimental on traditional classics with a modern, weird, quirky twist. Quirky in that I may add something weird and unexpected to the bakes, whether it is an odd shape or an unexpected flavour or spice.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
A brioche bun filled with sweet cream and jam with a cherry on top. Simple but in a way complex. I also like the fungal component of the yeast in bread, which is related to my current occupation. Experiment with the bread dough well and you accomplish a well structured, tasty product.

Who are your culinary heroes?
Heston Blumenthal. I like his multi-sensory approach to food. I love the idea of incorporating scientific knowledge into food and that if you really understand what is going on at a molecular level, the creation of any dish or baked item is limitless.

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
I would like to invite the ghost of Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist and the founder of penicillin, an accidental and revolutionary breakthrough. I’d definitely cook up a succulent fungal treat, being a fungal enthusiast myself. I would invite a guest closer to home like the bubbly Benee. I would also like to invite Camilla Cabello.

If you were to win The Great Kiwi Bake Off, do you have a baking dream you’d like to pursue?
Something that would bring baking, art and science all together. So perhaps a bakery that encompasses all these things. I would also like to write a book of my baking journey, equipped with my weird and funny recipes and drawings, which would also have a therapeutic aspect. Baking can be therapeutic for some people; it can be really helpful for those struggling with mental health and can be an outlet for creativeness.

53 | Tauranga | Ngāti Awa & Ngāti Hine

Pera loves contradiction in her baking. Her creations are traditional yet contemporary, her presentation is rustic yet perfectionist. How is it possible? You’ll just have to tune in to find out!

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Pera’s not just doing it for herself, she applied for The Great Kiwi Bake Off for her family, hapū and iwi, and she’s keen to showcase her Māori heritage in her bakes.

What is your signature bake?
Creamed paua with tomato salsa and balsamic reduction donut. Old school cakes, biscuits and slices, cheesecakes, pavlova logs.

How would you describe your baking style?
Old school, earthy, grounded, using ingredients from the land.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
A chocolate souffle, because it needs a strong foundation (a ramekin). Needs to feel grounded to grow. Although the top looks quite solid, the mixture is very delicate. It’s a dessert that cannot be judged only by its looks. The making process involves a lot of time to get the best results and its very temperamental character is determined on the baker’s input and mood. It’s a baked item that mirrors or reflects the baker’s connection and patience.

Who are your culinary heroes?
My Grandmother who is my name’s sake. My mum. All the cooks at the Marae while I was growing. Edmonds’s cookbook, Alison Holst.

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?
My senses, knowing basics, passionate about cooking, connection to my baking, organised.

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
Jacinda Ardern, Betty Anne Monga, Taika Waititi.

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
Another awesome life experience to remember.

44 | Timaru

Dubbed the European baker, Gabriel was born to a Hungarian family in modern-day Slovakia.

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He’s bringing his Hungarian heritage to Bake Off with classic European recipes that he hopes will impress the judges.

Currently studying to be a primary school teacher, Gabriel lives in Timaru with his husband and father-in-law who are Gabriel’s, and The Great Kiwi Bake Off’s, biggest fans!

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off ?
It was my husband’s idea, and my mum is a big fan of the show – she watches the UK version and all other cooking shows on TV.

What is your signature bake?
Slices usually: poppy cake; cherry chocolate; cottage cheese; sour cream-custard slice.

How would you describe your baking style?
Traditional Hungarian and Slovak with new ideas, big cakes and large slices, rich flavours and often using yeast.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
Zserbó or gerbeaud – a Hungarian walnut slice, made of four layers of yeasty dough, with walnut and spicy apricot jam filling with a chocolate topping. This is because it’s a distinct regional taste with strong flavours, I like spicy, sweet, walnuts and chocolate and yeasty dough so it’s a perfect combo. I like to sunbathe, so I like a chocolate outer layer, yeast adds hidden depth, but plenty sweet and spicy enough.

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
I would be happy to have the chance to showcase baking from my country in my second homeland New Zealand.

If you were to win The Great Kiwi Bake Off, do you have a baking dream you’d like to pursue?
Share my baking with others, dependent on the popularity of the show/my personality etc., start baking a business specialising in Central European goodies, and or, create a spin-off show with all 10 contestants, because we are a such good bunch and clicked together quite well.

38 | AUCKLAND | @tjanderson_nz

38-year-old Thomas is out to prove that builders can bake too!

A self-confessed ‘super competitive person’, Thomas is a Bake Off fanatic, having watched all the series in his native England, as well as the last two seasons of our Kiwi version.

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His personal hero is Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off, and he’s hoping that Mary will see him on telly and his life goal will be fulfilled.

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
I have been a massive fan of The Great British Bake Off for as long as I can remember. I always thought I should apply upon hearing of the Kiwi version but always missed the application dates. This time I got in on time and here we are.

How would you describe your baking style?
Kind of English countryside traditional baking.

What is your signature bake?
Probably cinnamon rolls.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
Sticky toffee pudding because it tastes so good but is bad for you, just like me.

Who are your culinary heroes?
Growing up, probably Delia Smith, mainly influenced by my mum. More recently Nigella and even more recent than that, a massively talented English woman named Julia Jones. She works wonders with pastry and pies and she’s influenced me heaps.

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
Stephen Fry, Freddie Mercury and Elton John – how good would that dinner party be?

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
Winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off would mean so much to me not so much for the glory, but to prove to people that you don’t have to fit a certain stereotype to be a confident baker.

29 | Hamilton | Ngāti Porou | @_teniqua

Teniqua is a stay-at-home mum in Hamilton and claims to pretty much live in the kitchen at home, churning out new baking creations that look as good as they taste.

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Teniqua originally taught herself to bake for her children’s birthdays. Since then, she’s been baking for adults too and is keen to show New Zealand how much of a creative cook she is.

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
To challenge myself, experience something crazy, try new bakes and do something new in the last year of my 20s.

What is your signature bake?
A chocolate cake with Whittaker’s chocolate buttercream and some sort of over-the-top decoration with glitter.

How would you describe your baking style?
Depending on the mood I can be all sorts. Over the top. I love paying attention to detail. I love to fulfil all my hearts desires and childhood dreams. Sometimes crazy cool, fun, extra, love perfection, love glitter and gold. My mum says upmarket chic, really pretty and a touch of bling.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
A cake. My love language is acts of service and a cake is something that takes time, love, patience and effort. I put my all into every cake I make and if I really want to show someone I love them or appreciate them I will bake for them. I also love to share my gifts and talents with others and a cake is a dessert you can share with many to enjoy.

Who are your culinary heroes?
My grandpa Charles Parekura Walker. My husband Sam Jones. Hilary Barry is a vibe. K Cake Dessert in Auckland are goals (flame emoji).

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
The Weeknd, Jhené Aiko and Drake.

32 | Auckland | @hamruss

The Great Kiwi Bake Off is the perfect culmination of Hamish’s three passions – baking, competition and reality television.

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A digital marketing manager based in Auckland, Hamish loves baking almost as much as he loves making people laugh.

Hamish even dabbles in a bit of drag too! A Kiwi Bake Off x Drag Race cross-over episode? Watch this space!

How would you describe your baking style?
Restless – always trying new flavours and combinations. Especially with cookies, always tweaking my recipes and trying new mix-ins.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
It might be too obvious, but ginger crunch. A little spicy, but a comforting favourite at the same time.

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?
Having fun, enjoying myself, experimentation and damage control. I avoid ‘perfection’ – things like fondant and detailed piping work – what you’re guaranteed is something that tastes bloody delicious. If something goes wrong it’s my aim to not give up but instead make do with the cards I’ve been dealt by the baking gods that day!

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
A tough question! I’m going to say it’s a pot-luck because I wouldn’t want the pressure of cooking for my heroes, but I would invite Nigella Lawson, Christina Tosi and Alison Roman. The result would be endless conversation and many empty bottles of wine.

If you were to win The Great Kiwi Bake Off, do you have a baking dream you’d like to pursue?
I absolutely do, I’m working away on a wee business where I package up some of my tried- and-true recipes into care packages and send them all over the country to deserving tummies. I think it’s safe to say that everyone loves baking, but some people just don’t have the patience, time, abilities, resources to create home baking so it’s my goal to make beautiful baking accessible for everyone. Imagine receiving a box of cookies, Russian fudge, and caramel slice at your door step – a total dream, right?

35 | Auckland | @jasminleighcakes

Aucklander Jasmin is an all-rounder looking to put her tried-and-true talents to the test in the ultimate baking challenge!

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Baking has always been a part of Jasmin’s life that she’s had to put to the side due to work, family life and other commitments – but not anymore!

Jasmin is here to make her baking dreams come true and kickstart a career in the culinary world.

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
I have been pretty much a full-time mum for about six years now with two boys which I love, but a part of me was looking for something I could do for myself to give me a bit of a challenge. I love to bake so felt this was such a great opportunity to not only show myself I could do it, but to show my kids you can do anything you put your mind to!

What is your signature bake?
My signature bake and where my passion lies is in cakes. I love the decorating of cakes and the creativity.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
I think I would be a decorated cake – it’s got creativity, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and sweet in the middle. Plus, I am around a lot of kids with lots of birthday cakes happening all the time!

Who are your three dream celebrity dinner guests?
To be honest, family means the most to me, more than any celebrity. So three or more members of my family with me making something I am really proud of that tastes amazing would be the perfect dinner!

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?
Winning Bake Off would be the ultimate achievement. It would justify to myself that I could do anything I put my mind to and would mean so much to myself and my family. They would be so proud!

43 | Queenstown | @threebearscakery

Wendy’s love for baking was kick-started in 2004 when she received a Kitchen Aid as a wedding present. Since then, she’s baked almost daily for her husband and three boys.

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Her signature bake is a caramel slice that is so good, it was sent all the way to the United States for her friends to enjoy.

She’ll be hoping the judges will be just as impressed with her creations on her Bake Off journey!

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
Encouragement from family and friends. It’s daunting to apply to do something like this, but life is short so why not! I also thought it would be fun too!

What is your signature bake?
Making cakes has always been my passion, but I like all types of baking and cooking. If I had to narrow down to a bake, I would choose caramel slice because that is my kids favourite and
it’s easy and I don’t need to measure!

How would you describe your baking style?
Time allowing, I love spending time decorating and refining my bakes. I like to bake different flavours. I enjoy experimenting and not measuring out ingredients!

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?
I couldn’t think of anything, so I asked my husband and he said a fruitcake! I asked my boss at work and he said I’d be a croissant due to my many layers – flaky layers!

Who are your culinary heroes?
To be honest I really admire all bakers and cooks out there, teaching and demonstrating all the different styles, techniques and flavours that we can do. I like Gordon Ramsay’s energy and the wonderful Mary Berry.

If you were to win The Great Kiwi Bake Off, do you have a baking dream you’d like to pursue?
I just want to keep on baking for family and friends.

The Hosts

Hayley Sproull

Hayley is back to lend a hand in the kitchen, or a shoulder to cry on, when the home bakers take up the ultimate baking battle.

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Hayley Sproull had always dreamed of hosting a (real) cooking show and now that dream has become a fun-filled (and cream-filled) reality.

Hayley has many strings to her bow. A comedian, actor, writer and all round stellar performer, her talents shine through on stage and on screen. Hayley has appeared on a number of web series for TVNZ OnDemand including Hayley’s Kitchen, Interns and Cystic SistersHayley also hosts TVNZ 2’s comedic current affairs show, Have You Been Paying Attention?

A Toi Whakaari graduate, her passion for theatre and comedy has led to a number of successful comedy works including: Miss Fetcher Sings the BluesVanilla Miraka and Outsiders’ Guide – earning her an array of praise and accolades including Best Newcomer at the NZ International Comedy Festival in 2012, the Chapman Tripp Theatre award for most promising female newcomer in 2013 and The People’s Choice award at the NZ Fringe 2014. She was nominated for an NZ Film Award in 2014 for her role in the short film School Night.

Hayley shines as a one-woman performer, most recently receiving rave reviews for her performance at the 2018 NZ International Comedy Festival for Just a Phase.

What made you sign up for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?

When a job like this pops up on your radar, you don’t let it pass without a fight! Food television is one of my guilty pleasures, so much so I even made a fake cooking show for TVNZ OnDemand called Hayley’s Kitchen, but I’ve always hoped I’d get to host a real one. Hosting Bake Off is truly a dream job.

You and Madeleine have a great on-screen chemistry. Did you know each other before filming?

We’d done a couple of small things together over the years. Now I’d say we’re inseparable sisters who hate it when the other person goes to the toilet because it means we can’t hang out.

How have you found working with Sue and Dean?

Gosh, we love working with Fleischl-Schneider! They’re a lot of fun, but they have to behave a lot more than we do, so we take great pleasure in trying to throw them off track. It’s also fun when they suggest where to eat for dinner, too!

Rumour has it you were sneaking in a few treats during filming?

A few treats??? I’ve eaten more than I ever have in my life – it’s all too delicious to pass up! My waistline has grown, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it and every bite, so who cares.

Who would win in a bake off between you and Madeleine?

Madz. Not because she’s a better baker, but because she has a cheeky smile that lets her get away with anything.

Why do you think Bake Off is such a popular format?

It’s kind – this isn’t a cooking show about sabotage or ego. It’s a lovely show starring people who just simple love to bake, and I think our Kiwi cast has really shown this. You won’t find any bitch sessions or nastiness over here.

Do you ever want to roll your sleeves up and help the bakers when they’re struggling during a Bake?

We did try a couple of times and I definitely think we were much more of a hindrance than a help.

Do you have a baking disaster of your own?

I’ve been doing a lot of paleo baking recently for my partner and I, and let’s just say most of it is a disaster. I mean…there’s no real substitute for butter, flour and sugar…

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet. I’ve got a massive sweet tooth. I need dessert after every meal. Breakfast dessert, lunch dessert…

Describe Bake Off in three words…

Chaos, fun, sweet.

Madeleine Sami

Madeleine can’t wait to roll up her sleeves and watch the drama unfold in the kitchen and of course, indulge in some more home-baked goodness.

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Madeleine Sami is a huge fan of Bake Off and she’s back as a proud host, alongside newfound-bestie Hayley Sproull.

Madeleine is an accomplished actor. She got her start playing a multitude of characters in award winning plays No2 and Bare. She has starred in some of New Zealand’s most successful film comedies including, Sione’s Wedding and Taika Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark and What We Do in The Shadows. She has numerous TV acting credits including Outrageous FortuneThe Jaquie Brown Diaries and Jane Campion’s series Top of the Lake. She also appeared in TVNZ 1’s gripping psychological thriller The Bad Seed.

Over the last few years, Madeleine has been moving into directing, most recently finishing her own hit feature film The Breaker Upperers which she co-directed and starred in alongside Jackie van Beek.

What made you sign up for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?

I am a huge fan of the British version. It’s one of my favourite TV shows and it was actually a secret dream of mine to host it. When the opportunity came up to work on the Kiwi version I literally squealed with excitement. I’m stoked.

You and Hayley have a great on-screen chemistry. Did you know each other before filming?

No! We had done a couple of little things together but we became fast friends on the show. I would say we are bonded for life now.

How have you found working with Sue and Dean?

I’ve loved every minute of it! They are both a perfect mix of professionalism and naughtiness.

How has Bake Off affected your waistline?

OMG! My waist line has suffered. I would fast before each Bake so I could munch on all the delicious treats. This was my attempt to control my waistline. It didn’t work!

Why do you think Bake Off is such a popular format?

I think it’s a very sweet (literally and figuratively) natured show. People tune in because they want to see some talented people make some yummy things. I think you get drawn in to the personalities of the bakers and you want to become their friends.

What have you enjoyed most about working on Bake Off?

Getting to know the contestants has been a joy. They are all so sweet and kind. Being silly with Hayley was also a lot of fun. I have no idea how they are going to cut it all together!

How would you rate your own baking?

I don’t do it often. I think I baked a dairy free banana cake in 2012. It was pretty good.

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury

Describe Bake Off in three words…

NOM NOM NOM

Have you been taking on any baking tips while working on the show?

Oh hell yeah! I got a couple of the contestants’ recipes and gave them a go. My attempts were not complete disasters!

The Judges

Dean Brettschneider

The “Kiwi king of baking” brings technical skills and an eye for creativity to the tent in the role of judge.

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We’re throwing open the tent doors and are proud to welcome Dean Brettschneider, the “Kiwi king of baking” back into to the role of judge. He looks forward to inspiring the bakers and the rest of New Zealand to get their bake on!

Known internationally as “the Global Baker”, Dean is widely respected as a skilled and innovative craftsman with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. He resides in Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand, where he heads up his baking empire. He is the founder and co-owner of artisan bakery and food-store chain Baker & Cook, runs three Plank Sourdough Pizza restaurants and in 2016 opened Brettschneider’s Baking & Cooking School. He is also co-owner of London-based Crosstown Doughnuts.

Dean has authored 12 cookbooks and is no stranger to the screen, with a number of TV shows also under his belt.

Dean’s 13th cookbook, Kiwi Baker At Home, has just gone on sale in New Zealand, where he shares an irresistible collection of his favourite recipes to cater to every baking occasion.

How would you describe your judging dynamic alongside Sue?

Judging with Sue is great, she has an eye for detail and at the same time has a very caring manner that ensures people feel they can reach for the stars. We share the same values of wanting to help people do better and we both love to have fun on and off the set.

How would you describe your judging style?

Firm but fair is my approach. I love home baking and always want to encourage people to do better based on sound constructive advice that they can understand and use.

What skills do you think the bakers need to bring to the table to succeed in the Bake Off tent?

They will need to be good all-round bakers, being a one trick pony will not cut it in the tent. They’ll also need to understand presentation and flavours, be organised and have good time management.

How do you balance taste versus appearance when you’re judging?

Visually, appearance is the first thing we look for, so its needs to have that wow factor. Next comes the taste – it must taste great, it must have a clean palette and it must deliver what they say it will. Taste also comes with texture, it must have the right texture – no one likes a great tasting pie and a soggy bottomed raw pastry.

How have you found working with Madeleine and Hayley?

They are awesome! From the first minute of every day, they are laughing – I often got picked on because of being the only boy in the quartet – but they got every bit back! We had so much fun on and off camera.

Do you ever want to roll your sleeves up and help the bakers?

Of course! It’s sometimes frustrating to see that they are almost there on a technique and you know you can help them out to make things perfect.

Do you expect the show to inspire other Kiwis to get their bake on?

Yes 100% – baking is about family, friends and the love of giving. I’m sure the show will inspire many Bake Offs in people’s homes and offices across the country.

What’s the most under-rated ingredient in the kitchen?  

Aniseed – it’s wonderful on cakes but also in bread it adds a subtle flavour tone.

What is your favourite baked item to bake yourself?

Date scones – I just love dates and scones are a perfect partner to combine them into.

What baked item sums you up best?

Good 100% Pain au Levain (Natural Sourdough Loaf) – it’s simple but complex at the same time.

Sue Fleischl

The “queen of catering” joins Dean Brettschneider in the tent once more, in the coveted role of judge.

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Sue can’t wait to sample the culinary delights the bakers will whip up in the weeks to come. She brings with heran eye for quality and presentation, and a desire to nurture the bakers into something great!

An acclaimed chef, Sue trained at the Savoy hotel in London when she was just 17 years old. She has a passion for food and a flair for business with more than 20 years’ experience heading up The Great Catering Company in Auckland, a company she founded in 1995. With her hands-on attitude, you’re just as likely to find her in the kitchen as the boardroom. Sue’s stellar kitchen talents have brought tremendous success, her company being the leader in the private and corporate catering world

In 2016, Sue was inducted into the New Zealand Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution and leadership in the hospitality sector.

How would you describe your judging dynamic alongside Dean?

Dean and I have known each other for a few years and this made everything so much easier when we first entered the tent. We both have very similar views on what we are looking for. Luckily, we also have a certain cheekiness that we both bounced off when the judging got tough. Filming together was lots of fun!

How would you describe your own judging style?

I probably take a softly-softly approach to judging. I do try to be caring and kind but can also be to the point.

What can viewers expect from the first ever series of The Great Kiwi Bake Off?

Viewers will be in for all sorts of surprises, twists and turns. There is some truly magnificent baking produced on the show and I am sure many people will learn a few tips too. Some of the creations and skills shown in such limited time frames were breath-taking.

Do you ever want to roll your sleeves up and help the bakers?

Oh, indeed yes! But the contestants were very good at helping each other out if they were running out of time. There was great comradery in the tent every day.

How do you balance taste versus appearance when you’re judging?

Taste and appearance are both very important. We have come across some average looking baking that tastes amazing and some Showstoppers that look spectacular but are dry and lack flavour. Neither will win the Star Baker award.

How have you found working with Madeleine and Hayley?

Madeleine and Hayley are simply bundles of joy! They always made us laugh on set and were just so fun to be around. I often wondered what on earth they ate for breakfast!

What have you most enjoyed about working on Bake Off?

I’ve loved everything! I have loved working with Dean, Madeleine and Hayley, we all got on so well. I also loved getting to know the bakers, we felt as though they were part of our family by the time we finished filming. We saw their highs and lows, the smiles, the anxious looks and even photos of their children. It was a great experience, every day brought unexpected surprises and delights.

Do you expect the show to inspire other Kiwis to get their bake on?

I do hope so! I am looking forward to doing more baking myself.

What’s the most under-rated ingredient in the kitchen?

I want to say, “baking with a smile” – it results in a better bake!

What is your favourite baked item to bake yourself?

I love syrup cakes with yoghurt cream. The cakes last for days and are great when you have a crowd staying in the holidays.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off All Seasons
The Great Kiwi Bake Off Season 1
The Great Kiwi Bake Off Season 2
The Great Kiwi Bake Off Season 3

Episode 01 | Episode 02 | Episode 03 | Episode 04 | Episode 05 | Episode 06 | Episode 07 | Episode 08 | Episode 09 | Episode 10

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