It’s the crossover episode of cheese dreams: Celebrity Treasure Island stars baking in the Great Kiwi Bake Off kitchen. Tara Ward ranks the brave efforts.
Wrap yourself in a blanket of sticky fondant and grab hold of your spongey balls, because last night TVNZ gave us a crossover episode we never knew we needed. The Great Kiwi Bake Off’s annual celebrity special served up a tasty slice of Celebrity Treasure Island, with six CTI stars entering the baking barn to raise money for their chosen charities. CTI is known for pushing people out of their comfort zone, but nothing can compare to the challenge of eating Matt Chisholm’s boiled egg/chocolate chip cookie tower combo.
CTI hosts Matt Chisholm and Bree Tomasel joined 2021 contestants Lana Searle and Candy Lane and 2022’s Courtenay Louise and Cassie Roma to battle it out in the barn. They needed to impress judges Peter “Sandman” Gordon and Jordan Rondel with two different bakes: a technical challenge of a prosecco and pear cake, and a showstopper of an iconic CTI moment recreated in a 3D biscuit scene. Only a few of the celebrities appeared to have ever been in a kitchen before, and it was quickly obvious that this was going to be a glorious shitshow.
There wasn’t a Tim Tam in sight, but this was more chaotic than the time Josh Thomson put his fondant head on a cake chicken’s butt. After 90 minutes of doughy disasters, Bree Tomasel was named Star Baker, and she generously shared her prize money with everyone. In a shocking decision, nobody constructed a CTI poo cave biscuit, so we’ll have to settle for these terrible rankings of the celebrities’ efforts, a metaphorical poo cave of its own making.
6) Cassie Roma (Make a Wish Foundation)
All credit to the kindness warrior for giving the word “snickerdoodle” its moment on prime time television, but her fate was sealed when she chose a treat that required baking three different elements at three different temperatures at three different times in the oven. Peter Gordon called it “a tasty…thing”. What more do you need out of a snicker, or indeed, a doodle?
5) Courtenay Louise (Voices of Hope)
The Shortland Street star slayed the competition in the technical challenge and did a fine job with this charming island scene, and based on aesthetic alone, probably should have been awarded Star Baker. Unfortunately the judges also considered something called “flavour”, and it seems blue jelly can only take you so far. When will jelly catch a break? Not today, friends.
4) Lana Searle (Pillars)
Riddle me this: would you rather be a biscuit that looked like a pizza, or a pizza that looked like a biscuit? This state of confusion must be how Richie Barnett felt on CTI when Lana bought a pizza after he specifically told her not to, but that’s baking for you, always messing with the mind. With Coco Pops for mince and biscuits from a packet pretending to be salami, the judges’ brains nearly exploded when they ate this true Italian delicacy. It looks like a pizza! It feels like a biscuit! It tastes like a donut! Absolute scenes.
3) Candy Lane (Endometriosis New Zealand)
Candy’s technical bake was a solid effort, even though she reckoned her curdled icing looked like baby puke. But her showstopper put baby puke in the corner, because it captured one of last season’s most memorable moments: the heated argument between Candy and Edna Swart. Is this the most delicious television you’ve ever seen, or just a big cookie with mandarins for boobs? Hang it in Te Papa, stick it in the monolith, biscuits will never be the same again.
2) Bree Tomasel (Endometriosis New Zealand)
The first time Bree Tomasel appeared in the GKBO kitchen, she left in a heavy cloud of gingerbread flavoured regret. This time, the CTI host returned for redemption and ended up winning the whole thing, thanks to her impressive chest of sausage rolls. Bree had a shocker in the kitchen, but she stared defeat in the face and then rolled it in biscuit crumb, proving that a good sausie roll will never let you down.
1) Matt Chisholm (Rural Support Trust)
It will be a surprise to nobody that this was Matt Chisholm’s first time baking, but The Chiz revealed himself as an unlikely culinary visionary. He pushed butter into every nook and cranny and took us on a journey to a world where courage trumps fear and boiled eggs overcome logic. His showstopper wasn’t merely a stunted tower of biscuits smooshed together, it was a work of subliminal art that offered a deep and startling insight into the human condition.
This biscuit monolith reminded us that we are all half-baked soggy bottoms resting perilously on a slippery surface, waiting for our egg to crack. And yet, we persist. That lonely egg? A symbol of hope. The circle of lemon wedges? More like the circle of life. Baking isn’t just about taste; baking is about how it makes you feel. And this, Matt Chisholm? This made me feel GOOD.
The Great Kiwi Bake Off and Celebrity Treasure Island both stream on TVNZ+.