Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker

hottesthomebaker2Last night on the season premiere of Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker the 16 contestants were whittled down to eight.

Here are the amateur bakers who made the cut.

Tracy Hansen
Sean McGarry
Sarah Asher
Kurt Cole
Gemma Elizabeth Boucher
Kiriana Marshall
Claire Hahn
Alex Thompson Continue reading »

alexHometown: Christchurch – Residing in Auckland
Occupation: Administrator at Telecom
Age: 25

Alex grew up in Christchurch and lived there until her mother passed away in the Christchurch earthquake, in the CTV building. Alex moved to Auckland 6 weeks later with her fiancé Richie, who she describes as her ‘”rock” and “biggest fan”. They married in March this year.

She learnt how to bake from her Mum, and so Alex wants to bake her heart out in memory of her mother. She uses her family recipes and finds baking therapeutic when things are tough. She wants to show that something good and positive can come out of something so bad and horrible.

Alex describes herself as kind, quiet, conscientious, generous and traditional. But she is in it to win it. “Life is far too short. It’s too short to sit on the side line and far too short to think about ‘if only’. I see this as my chance, my opportunity to pit my talents against the very best”.

claireHometown: Auckland
Occupation: Stay at home mother of two (5 and 17 months)
Age: 31

Fashionista Claire brings a dash of glamour to the Home Baker competition this year. A former fashion stylist and buyer, she’s currently a stay at home mother to Oscar, aged five and Miley, 17 months old.

Claire learnt how to bake from her Mum who was a Home Economics Teacher. Her earliest memory of baking was making pikelets in the letter “C” at age 4, a tradition she carries on with her children.

She’s not confident she’ll take out the competition, but she is excited to learn from the other contestants.

She describes herself as dramatic. “I am the woman who bakes in her kitchen and talks to herself pretending she is on a cooking show”.

kirianaHometown: Upper Hutt
Occupation: Ministry of Social Development Manager – Regional Relationship Manager
Age: 41

Kiriana has been married for two years to her “sexy husband” Johnny Marshall. They have a young son Arana who is eight years old, daughter Olivia who is 15 (currently living in OZ) and another baby on the way. Her husband Johnny gained 10kg by eating her baking!

Her Mum taught her to bake and she’s been baking ever since she can remember. Her first memory is baking cheese scones at pre-school. She started to get really into baking seriously when she was in her early thirties.

Kiriana has a dream to open her own little bakery one day. She’s hoping this competition will help her learn new skills and new abilities to help her dream.

gemmaHometown:Auckland
Occupation: Secondary School Teacher
Age: 26

Gemma is an ex-cheerleader for The Warriors and currently teaches dance at KingsWay School. She’s newly married, but Gemma and her husband didn’t get to go on a honeymoon so she’s hoping Singapore will be it!

She’s extremely bubbly, likes to bring joy to other people and loves to dance – especially while she’s baking. Gemma loves to see the look on people’s faces when they eat her baking. She loves the joy that it can bring. Gemma used to have a “cake day” with her drama class every fortnight because she describes dance and drama like making a cake.

Her specialty is cupcakes. She loves them so much and calls them a “little pieces of joy”.

kurtHometown: New Plymouth
Occupation: Landscape Architecture student at Victoria University
Age: 20

Kurt is originally from Taranaki but during the year studies at Victoria University. He’s an under-21 netball rep and not your typical baker. He was raised on a farm and his grandma lived down the drive from him when he was growing up so he spent a lot of time there. She taught him to bake and he’s been baking ever since he could hold himself up.

He hopes that his design background will be his secret weapon. He puts a big emphasis on making things look beautiful as he believes that you eat with your eyes as well.

Kurt describes himself as a happy, outgoing person who struggles to wipe the smile from his face. He’s really confident – but will be enough to see him take out the competition?

sarahHometown: Taupo
Occupation: Mother of three and Business Consultant
Age: 31

Sarah lives in Taupo with her partner Nick, their 19 month old baby, seven year old daughter and her 13 year old stepdaughter. She works with her Mum, Dad and partner.

Her first memory is baking flat bread with her Mum and she’s grown up with Marae cooks. Her Mum taught her all the basics and she’s well versed in baking large quantities of food quickly – but is also an absolute perfectionist!

The kitchen is where she goes to zone out after a stressful day. It’s her zen place and she loves to bake. She would love to turn her baking into a career – that would be her dream-come-true. She’s outgoing, fun, and extremely competitive.

seanHometown: Wellington
Occupation: Design & Advertising Agency Partner, Creative Director and father of two
Age: 44

Sean lives in Wellington with his two kids Liam and Grace and wife Ngaree. He loves going to the gym and running with his greyhound Basil. Someone once described him as the Martha Stewart of Maungaraki (which disturbs him just a wee bit) and he’s determined to be the first male Hottest Home Baker winner.

His great grandmother and grandmother have handed down their cookbooks which he says are “a treasure trove of yumminess”. He reckons that his steadily growing cook book collection weighs about 40kgs and rates ‘Pie’ by Dean Brettschneider as one of his familys all-time favourites.

He’s been baking for about 12 years and often tries new recipes to extend his repertoire. His secret is that if anything goes wrong then you can always cover it in chocolate – ‘”ganache it” so that nobody will notice. Hopefully.

TraceyHometown: Hawkes Bay
Occupation: Mother of four children (9, 7, 4 and 2)
Age: 34

Tracy is a stay at home mum and creative director at Addition Nappy Cakes. Nappy Cakes are a special occasion gift filled with new products and useful baby gear.

Tracy is self-taught and her motto is ‘practice makes perfect’. If it doesn’t look right or doesn’t taste right she doesn’t serve it.

She’s a fast learner and an enthusiastic baker. Tracy gets “a buzz” out of baking and loves giving her culinary delights to other people to enjoy. She loves a challenge and will give anything a go.

FOOD TELEVISION – Saturdays from 28 July, 3.30pm

This home-grown show features amateur home bakers from across New Zealand competing against each other and putting their baking skills to the ultimate test. Each episode holds a fresh and delicious challenge for the contestants, testing their versatility and inventiveness, baking against the clock in an effort to please discerning judges, Global Baker Dean Brettschneider and The Dollop Queen, Julia Crownshaw. Who will avoid being sent home and instead be crowned Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker?