The Great Australian Bake Off’s Darren Purchese on why the new season feels like ‘a hug from your nan’

Bake Off

“The show is something that stands out as being positive and sort of affirming, encouraging people to just do what they love.”

In a TV climate dominated by sad rich kids fronting as adults, fighting over their assumed birthright in Succession and doom and dread plaguing a post-apocalyptic America in The Last of Us, the brand new season of The Great Australian Bake Off aims to cook up some more positive feels. 

Premiering June 13 on Foxtel, the iconic baking shed will host a brand new cast of not only amateur bakers but iconic judges and hilarious hosts. 

World-renowned culinary icon Rachel Khoo and king of the pastry world Darren Purchese will judge all of the delicious desserts alongside the show’s new hosts, comedians Natalie Tran and Cal Wilson who are set to keep spirits lifted and bakers encouraged. 

Bake Off

Darren, Rachel, Cal and Natalie

Rachel and Darren will welcome twelve home-baking enthusiasts who they will mentor through a series of baking challenges that will test their skills and creativity. Each episode will see the bakers tasked with three themed challenges – Signature, Technical, and Showstopper covering everything from desserts, cakes, biscuits, breads, and pastries in a bid to discover Australia’s best amateur baker.  

Mediaweek spoke to brand new judge Darren Purchese about the new season and why the show, in what he describes as his dream job, feels like a hug from your nan. 

“It is certainly a dream job for me, but I guess I wanted to set my own personality on it. I wanted to be a fair judge, I love to see people really achieving and doing things that I love while providing my own professional opinion,” he said. 

“It is a competition though, so I am aware that I have to pick out some faults.”

It’s no secret that Australia is known as a food-loving nation and Purchese believes that the new lineup of contestants reflects that love, and also showcases different parts of the country and cultural backgrounds. 

“This crop of bakers that we’ve got who I believe are the absolute stars of the show, are really talented. They have created some things that I’ve obviously seen before, but there were a few flavour combinations and a few bakes I wasn’t quite familiar with, so I was learning along the way as well.”

Bake Off

Natalie, Rachel, Darren and Baker Reem

Purchese explained that the new season of The Great Australian Bake Off is like a hug from your nan – warm, sweet and full of love. He also expressed that the show is a good response to everything that’s going on in the world. 

“The show is something that stands out as being positive and sort of affirming, encouraging people to just do what they love,” he said. 

“I think everyone loves the idea of getting in the kitchen and creating something for a loved one and that’s magnified on the TV screen. I think that’s why people tune in.”

After being a fan of the show for so long, Purchese was over the moon to be able to set his own technical challenge which sees the bakers follow a recipe created by Purchese himself. 

“It was a privilege to come up with something in my own kitchen and then take that on to the iconic Australian Bake Off shed and then see the guys recreate it. Let me tell you, they smashed it out of the park. That was a big milestone for me.”

See also: Foxtel Media & Smeg rise to the occasion with The Great Australian Bake Off partnership

When asked what viewers can expect from the new season, Purchese said that camaraderie is the true crux of the show and that is seen not only with the bakers but the judges and hosts as well. 

“You will see a camaraderie between the bakers and a willingness to help each other out while learning as they go. I don’t want to speak on behalf of the contestants, but I’m pretty sure that they’ll come out of this experience as better bakers,” he said. 

“My co-judge Rachel Khoo with Nat and Cal all got on really well from day one. We kind of formed a really tight bond and hopefully, people at home can see how well we get on, and how that fits into giving encouragement to the bakers.” 

The Great Australian Bake Off premieres on Tuesdays at 8:30 pm from June 13 on Foxtel.

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