Great Aussie Bake Off returns to the kitchen and our screens
THERE is only one thing that's allowed to be dry in the Great Australian Bake Off kitchen - the humour.
Foxtel has revived the Australian version of the popular British cooking series after a lacklustre first season on free-to-air in 2013.
Faithfully following the show's original format, the new and improved Bake Off will be hosted by two female comedians: Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle.
"They are just hysterical," Matt Moran tells APN.
"While it's modelled off the British version, it's going to have a real Aussie feel to it and an Aussie sense of humour.
"I've never laughed so much in my life."
Moran has the enviable job of judging the baked delights, alongside long-time friend and fellow TV chef Maggie Beer.
"Claire and Mel were the icing on the cake," Beer says.
"They are so Aussie, so quick-witted… and Matt's a rascal anyhow."
The show's dozen amateur bakers are the cream of more than 900 applicants, having impressed the show's producers over three rounds of auditions.
Each episode of the series sees the contestants compete in three challenges: the signature bake, the technical bake and the showstopper.
Each episode is also themed on a particular food item, such as biscuits, pies, bread and cakes.
Moran and Beer each selected five of their own recipes for the bakers to recreate for the technical bake, which they judge blind.
"I rather like when something looks quite simple but it's not, just to test people's mettle," Beer says.
"To put out things that are absolute favourites of yours, it's lovely to see people cook them."
Moran said it was his favourite TV show that he has worked on to date and he believes it will have a broad appeal.
"Baking really covers all generations, from young kids to nans and even grandfathers," he says.
"It's one of the first things a kid does with their mum or dad.
"Usually when you go to someone's house for a dinner party, you take a bottle of wine or flowers. I have friends who recently have been making sourdough bread and bringing you a baked item.
"How much cooler is that? It's so much more personal than a bunch of flowers you picked up on the way from the service station," Moran says.
Unlike many of the other reality cooking shows on Australian TV over the past few years, The Great Australian Bake Off offers the winner the title of Australia's best baker rather than a big cash prize.
"They're not on here to win a car and money. They're here to do what they love," Moran says.
"It's a real feel-good show; there's no nastiness."
The drama, instead, rises organically from the triumphs and disasters in the kitchen.
"What I'm impressed by is there have been disasters and they've started from scratch again half-way through and still put something up," Beer says.
"That shows a confidence, a grit. My hat goes off to them.
"For all the things that do go wrong, the things that do go right are great."
The Great Australian Bake Off premieres on Tuesday at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on the LifeStyle FOOD channel.