Two legends of Australian food share a slice of the action on their new competition cooking program.
Baking is both an act of generosity and a gentle art. The time-honoured skills of creaming butter and sugar, the whisking of flour, the whipping of eggwhites – these are the passions that are celebrated in LifeStyle FOOD’s brand new Australian-made show, The Great Australian Bake Off.
Each episode also includes a technical bake, where the contestants cook selections of Maggie’s and Matt’s iconic recipes – challenging dishes that range from Matt’s choux pastry to Maggie’s Constitution Cake.
Indeed, in the spirit of this collaboration, old friends, colleagues and fellow judges Maggie and Matt each sit down (over brownies) to share their views about cooking, sharing and the joy of baking.
In keeping with her persona, Australia’s grand doyenne of food is enthusiastic about the new show because it’s such a favourable view of cooking and baking. “I love the contestants and this positive energy that’s coming from the crew, Claire and Mel,” Maggie says. “Matt and I laugh all the time.” She has also particularly enjoyed getting to know the contestants along the way, and “being surprised by them at times. Baking is tricky and I take my hat off to them for putting themselves out there,” she says.
Maggie’s highlight of the series so far? “The showstoppers on biscuits. That amazed me, truly amazed,” she says. “The showstopper is always their recipe and it really shows the personality of the baker. We’ve had some great things on the show, but that’s the first thing that comes to my mind.”
“We have a lot of fun,” says Matt Moran simply. “I have known Maggie for 20 years and she has always been a bit of a matriarch of Australian food. We are really good mates, but I absolutely adore her. For me it was a no-brainer to do this with Maggie.”
“Virtually every household bakes and in the olden days you used to go to someone’s house and you would bake them something – you didn’t bring them chocolate or flowers, you would give them a cake. I love that sort of tradition.”
Matt has always had a love of baking. Indeed, his first job in a kitchen was in a bakery when he was about 18. “I started making cakes and tarts for delicatessens while I was doing my apprenticeship so I have a big background in pastry and baking. I am very passionate about it.”
Be sure to catch the season premiere of The Great Australian Bake Off, Tuesday 13th October at 8.30pm
This is an excerpt from the August issue of the Foxtel Magazine. To subscribe, Click here.