The Great Australian Bake Off 2022: meet the cast
Meet 12 new cooks looking to become Australia’s next best amateur baker.
The Great Australian Bake Off returns to LifeStyle channel next week.
Maggie Beer and Matt Moran are back to judge, with Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper hosting once more.
12 new bakers face 30 challenges across a 10 week season, produced by BBC Studios Australia.
Matt Moran said: “I am really excited about this season’s batch of bakers….certainly some of the best bakes we’ve ever seen. The techniques they were learning through the technical bakes were being put back into the showstoppers, and I know Maggie and I were very excited and humbled by that.”
Each week the bakers start with the Signature challenge, where the bakers put their personal spin on a familiar recipe. The tricky Technical bake is next where the bakers must tackle a previously unseen recipe set by either Maggie Beer or Matt Moran. Once complete, the bakes are blind-tasted and ranked in order of their success. Finally, the all-important Showstopper, where bakers are challenged to make the most spectacular, mouth-watering creation they can possibly manage. At the end of each week, one will be crowned Star Baker, and one will leave the shed. The baker who has demonstrated the most artistry and creativity after all 30 challenges will be crowned Australia’s Best Amateur Baker!
Age: 31 Occupation: High School Teacher
Aaron took up baking seriously when he was a bored teenager, and he soon developed a passion for it. As a baking risk-taker, Aaron loves to experiment with new techniques and unusual flavours. Aaron teaches English and Drama to high school students and loves to bring out their creative flair. Witty and always friendly, Aaron’s been with his partner for seven years and plays rugby for the Melbourne Chargers.
Age: 30 Occupation: Retired Navy Veteran
Ashley joined the Navy aged 17 and completed two tours of Afghanistan before she retired. She now spends her time with her daughter, Willow, and loves to bake. Finding cooking to be relaxing and rewarding, the former electronic weapons specialist uses baking as a creative outlet and loves finding artistic ways to decorate her cakes, especially with the showstoppers. Thoughtful and creative, Ashley’s a member of a cake decorating network and has won awards for her talent.
Age: 19 Occupation: Disability Support Worker. Born in Zimbabwe
She might be the shed’s youngest baker, but bubbly Blessing has been cooking since she was four, thanks to her mum. Her family is from Zimbabwe and Blessing uses those influences in her cake creations. Caring and generous, the university business student loves creating cakes because it’s a way to show how much she cares for her friends and family, and develop her creative side.
Age: 48 Occupation: Document Controller. Italian heritage.
Italian Carmel has been married for 22 years and has been passionate about baking since she was taught by her mother as a child. Known to her friends as ‘crazy bunny lady” because of her love for her two pet rabbits, Koko and Ponchi, Carmel also collects anything to do with the animals and even has rabbits on her apron! Fun, chatty and very helpful to the other contestants (they call her ‘Mama Carmel’), the mum-of-one loves to test her skills in the kitchen while retaining a sense of her Italian tradition.
Age: 35 Occupation: Creative Copywriter
As a mum to three very young children, Ella is used to working under pressure in the kitchen! Thoughtful and creative, Ella loves to think of new and clever ways to make her bakes stand out from the crowd. She loves following a recipe to the letter and as a self-confessed perfectionist, she isn’t happy if her bakes aren’t exactly what she had in mind. Taking part in Bake Off is Ella’s dream, and as her life is mostly caring about for her young family, this is a well-earned opportunity to do something for herself.
Age: 28 Occupation: Publishing Sales. Born in Iran
Iranian-born Hoda fled her home country when she was young and arrived in Australia, aged eight. As the youngest of four sisters, Hoda is very close to her family but also admits she is very competitive! Friendly and open, Hoda only decided to take up baking a few years ago but quickly fell in love with the creative process and spends hours mastering her skills. She always looks immaculate in the shed and is quick to crack a joke and have fun. Her favourite bakes are ones which use her family recipes but she always adds a new twist.
Age: 46 Occupation: Scientist and Stay-At-Home Dad
Married with a young son, this former lecturer was made redundant during the pandemic and has been developing his baking skills since then. Musical Haydn loves playing with the chemical reactions of cooking ingredients and brings a scientific mind to many of his creations, earning him the nickname ‘The Mad Scientist’. As a keen singer, Haydn entertains the other bakers and he is passionate about making bread and showing off his technical skills.
Age: 27 Occupation: Public Servant. Laos heritage
Jawin’s parents are from Laos and his family background heavily influences his baking style, meaning his creations are always unique. A lovable larrikin in the shed, Jawin is always ready with a pun and loves to bring a sense of fun to his cooking. Working in mediation for a small business, Jawin adores cooking for his family and his partner and is never happier than when he finds an unusual ingredient to surprise Matt and Maggie during a challenge.
Age: 62 Occupation: Retail Sales. Italian heritage.
Lidia is an Italian nonna who shows love for her family through her cooking – her grandkids are especially fond of her cakes and biscuits! Caring and kind, Lidia loves to help the other bakers in the shed if they’re feeling the pressure and she can always be guaranteed to race to the assistance of another competitor. Lidia is an award-winning apple pie maker and after a recent bad fall, she lost her sense of smell and taste, but magically, she’s found this accident has improved her baking skills.
Naveid ‘Nav’ Zarshoy
Age: 32 Occupation: Recruitment Consultant. Born in Afghanistan.
Originally from Afghanistan, Nav lived in the UK for 28 years before moving to Australia four years ago. Married with two young daughters, Nav enjoys cooking for kids and he is inspired to create bakes he knows they will love. Baking is a real passion for Nav, who even baked his own engagement cake! Warm and bubbly, Nav’s infectious smile brightens up the shed and he’s famous for his big, deep and booming laugh.
Age: 35 Occupation: GP. Born in Indonesia.
Nurman grew up in four different countries; Indonesia, Hong King, USA and Australia. This means he brings a mix of styles and influences that are totally unique. Nurman started baking aged just eight – making puddings, cakes, tarts and pastries and finds cooking a release from the stresses of being a GP in his home state of Tasmania. Funny, and always up for a dance to ease any tension in the shed, Nurman is never without his trademark hat during Season 5. He’s a committed member of his local LGBTIQ+ community and loves to add personal touches to his bakes.
Age: 52 Occupation: CEO. Grew up on Thursday Island.
Torres Strait Islander Tom grew up on Thursday Island but later moved to Cairns. With a dual degree in Law and the Conservation of Cultural Material, he is passionate about his heritage. He now works as a CEO for a not-for-profit First Nations-owned and managed arts and cultural centre in Melbourne, and Tom finds baking a good stress reliever. Calm and steady, he loves the discipline of following a recipe and enjoys creating beautiful bakes which are cleverly thought out.Tom and his partner of 29 years are planning to get married this year and he will be making his own showstopper wedding cake!
The Great Bake Off Pop-Up channel includes The Great British Bake Off, The Great Canadian Bake Off, The Great Kiwi Bake Off and The Great Kenyan Bake Off. January 19 to January 27 on Channel 128.
The Great Australian Bake Off 8:30pm Thursday January 27 on LifeStyle.