Meet the bakers of The Great Kiwi Bake Off 2019

Hold on to your sponge nubbins, New Zealand’s loveliest reality show Great Kiwi Bake Off  is back for a second serving. Before the show’s return on November 3, Tara Ward takes a sneak peek at 2019’s contestants. 

Lay me down on a soft bed of whipped cream and swab my forehead with a sausage roll, because Great Kiwi Bake Off is returning to our screens. The loveliest show in all the land has risen like the perfect souffle that it is, and come the first Sunday in November, a fresh batch of enthusiastic Kiwis will enter the GKBO tent to battle it out to become New Zealand’s best amateur baker.

When I say ‘battle’, I mean they’ll chuck some eggs and flour into a bowl, say nice things about their fellow competitors, and then present baking masterpieces to blow our tiny, sugar deprived minds. They’ll spend the next eight weeks waving their spongy flaps and keeping their buns tight, and honestly, life just got good again.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off’s Sue Fleischl, Hayley Sproull, Dean Brettschneider and Madeleine Sami

Just as Clayton took Scone Week to a new level with his futuristic ‘Scone Sandwich’, this year’s GKBO promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Episodes are now 90 minutes long, with three, yes, THREE different bakes. If that’s not enough to crack your chocolate log, hosts Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull return to spread joy throughout the baking tent, while FleischlSchneider team up to take another judgey stroll down the unctuous boulevard of baking hopes and dreams.

So who are the plucky Kiwis about to throw their bread hats into the GKBO ring? Who will be the salty top and the soggy bottom? Who will throw caution to the caramel wind, who will be stabbed in the back by chocolate shards, and who will crumble quicker than a biscuit birdhouse? Absolute scenes, I tell you, and they can’t come quick enough. Let’s meet these brave souls.

Ana (52, Wellington)

Ana Hetem from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Ana’s a life coach from Brazil, which means I love her already. She promises to bring some “laughs” to the competition, which is all good and well until you’re given one measly hour to transform a Victoria sponge into a tree branch, and then who’s laughing? Not me, friends. Not me.

Emma (19, Otorohanga)

Emma Barker from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Emma is this year’s youngest contestant, and doesn’t like following recipes. I love a baker who flies by the seat of their doughy pants, but will Emma’s lackadaisical approach be a recipe for success, or an unmitigated disaster? Only the pastry swans of the future know the truth.

Louise (26, Wellington)

Louise Ing from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Louise works as a building regulatory consultant, which means she’s skilled at paying attention to detail. If the judges try to confuse the bakers with a vague recipe, Louise is here to say “think again, FleischlSchneider”. Actually, Louise is here to “have fun and see how it goes”, which is pretty much the same thing where pineapple upside-down cakes are concerned.

Anna (28, Napier)

Anna Howley from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

The hills are alive for Anna, who should go straight to the finals for being the only contestant to mention both Dame Julie Andrews and the word ‘moist’ in her baker bio. Full marks, Star Baker, Anna’s work here is done.

Trevor (47, Havelock North)

Trevor Hall from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Trevor is this year’s Jeff, sans the ice blue contacts. Trevor’s an “efficiency coach” which sounds both amazing and terrifying, so nobody tell him I submitted this piece three days past my deadline. Also calls himself a “cream doughnut”, which seems fine.

Donna (58, Milton)

Donna Ridings from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Health and safety advisor Donna reckons she can create anything from the contents of any pantry. She must be a magician, because my pantry contains half a loaf of mouldy bread, three stale pretzels and a tiny jar of mustard that expired in 2014. Hey Donna, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.

Heather (24, Mount Linton Station)

Heather Andrew from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Southlander Heather’s ‘death row’ treat would be a jam doughnut, some chocolate self-saucing pudding and a banana chocolate paleo loaf. This sounds amazing, please lock me up and send me down ASAP.

Ethan (21, Christchurch)

Ethan Laby from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Accounting student Ethan hails from Christchurch, a city known for its fine dining. Ethan favours traditional baking, so you won’t get any crazy scone sandwich shenanigans here. Pure and simple is the way forward, and Ethan knows it, HearSay knows it, even Annabel’s broccoli coffee from last season knows it.

Anadil (25, Auckland)

Anadil Sameen from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Civil Engineer Anadil learned to bake by watching online videos. I learned to cut my kid’s fringe by watching YouTube, but the less we say about that, the better. Anyway, come Architectural Week this civil engineer should shine like warm pie covered in egg glaze, and I can’t wait to see Anadil’s full size recreation of the Auckland Harbour Bridge made from lolly cake and pastry twists.

Naomi (37, Auckland)

Naomi Toilalo from The Great Kiwi Bake Off.

Her baking hero is Paul Hollywood, she spent hours watching season one of GKBO, and reckons she’s “a bit nutty and gooey in the middle”. You’re among friends, Naomi, so may the forces of GKBO be with you.

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