The Great Australian Bake-Off

2013-06-22_0149Cooking shows are everywhere these days so the challenge for any newcomer is to offer a point of difference.

Nine’s The Great Australian Bake-Off, based on a break-out UK hit series, is filmed in the historic grounds of Werribee Park Mansion has a country fair feel to it.

There’s a 1950s-style kitchen in a marquee with pastel colours, classic old fridges, mixmasters, Australiana, and a string of fete flags. This gives it a bright and relaxed feel, compared to the urban, contemporary kitchen of Masterchef.

The colours are laid on thick. There are tempting cake toppings, creamy cupcakes and gooey fondant all of which makes this very eye-catching.

But the real test for any Reality show is in the casting and I’m encouraged by this mix of unlikely Aussies who turn extravagant when they are unleashed on ripple cakes, lamingtons and pies.

There’s the boxer, the Greek mum, the architect, the lesbian synchronised swimmer and the chartered accountant who makes spreadsheets of all his recipes down to the final grams.

They have to face up to two judges, baker Dan Lepard and cake queen Kerry Vincent, whose Cruella deVil-like comments will surely polarise viewers. She will emerge as this show’s talking point, which is most surely good for business.

When the show kicks off it begins with a seemingly-endless sizzle reel of what’s to come in the series (do we even need to watch the series after this?). It teases yummy dishes, contestant drama, and tough-love judges.

Host Anna Gare is joined by Shane Jacobson -there to debunk the fancy bits for blokes, presumably.

The cooks are tested through a range of freestyle and mandatory challenges, blind-tasted by the judges with one eliminated each week.

Yet in a cloying effort to keep the show buoyant, Bake-off can’t resist overdoing things on the soundtrack, like Nine’s other series, The Block. In depending on this it makes the mistake of using vocal pop underneath dialogue, rather than instrumental music. This results in competing interests, a mistake made by many producers.

But while MasterChef: The Professionals was too elitist in its recipes and My Kitchen Rules focusses on rivalry rather than cuisine, Bake-Off produces dishes that may be achievable by the audience (even if many sugar-soaked dishes wouldn’t get the Heart Foundation’s tick of approval).

As long as it gets a tick from the audience that’s all that really matters.

The Great Australian Bake-Off starts 8pm Tuesday July 9 on Nine.


  1. The idea of this show was brilliant. However, Nine has focused on personality clashes rather than the actual baking. Most of the “contestants”, aren’t very good bakers. They were chosen for their demographic.

    There must be at least three males. Preferably one gay, but we can work around that. Because there are not many indigenous bakers, and we can’t rope in an African American, we must make sure there is at least one Asian. Check. You can work out the rest.

    On to the judges. Dan Lepard is a darling, but, really! Do you have to have the “sensitive, gay stereotype who cannot say a bad thing about anyone”? As for Kerry Vincent, yes, she knows her cake “decorating”. But, nine has signed her up for a “you are the weakest link, good bye”, vibe, and it doesn’t work. No one can top the divine Ms Cornelia Francis.

    Seriously, some of the contestants made it through the audition process without ever having even baked a loaf of bread in their lives. Keep Baking pure.

  2. I predict this will flop. It’s been too long coming and viewers don’t have an appetite for waiting so long. Every time I here a ‘coming soon’ promo coming from Nine I know not to hold my breath as they take to long to air most of them.

  3. Nine should be very careful with GABO. It could well be their equivalent of Celebrity Splash. I correctly called that Splash would be a dud for Seven (although I admit it caused far more trouble than just viewer turn-off), and I predict GABO will be a dud for Nine. Am calling it now!

  4. hoping its great. i’m not sick of reality tv at all but so over chefs and wannabe chefs and all the hating. it looks like its a fun show and if theres enough detail in it showing how things are made i’ll be hooked. that baker dan is interesting …the woman is a bit predictable but who knows

    Will definately watch the first three then decide…

  5. Um I agree, channel 9 has gone downhill over the years with all this reality shows. Why not bring back some variety shows like Hey Hey its Saturday and some game shows to bring some light entertainment to us? I feel this is sadly lacking on all free to air channels atm. Lack of quality Australian Game shows and the days of Variety TV.

  6. sharonarona

    Have been following Dan Lepard on twitter, he could be fantastic as he knows his stuff and is sooooo helpful. Kerry Vincent could be a wind up, didn’t like her in the ads but she might be misrepresented in the show. But god, pleeeeaase !!!!! stop showing the ads and just put it on.

  7. muscledude_oz

    I saw Nine’s trailer for their second half of the year lineup and I found it rather sad. All they have to offer is this show (deferred from earlier this year because they chickened out putting it up against My Kitchen Rules), Big Brother and Kyle Sandilands as a judge on AGT. If I was running a network I would be ashamed of such a lineup, not promoting it on-air with hyper music and fast editing. Nine is not wearing near-bankruptcy well at all.

  8. @bettestreep2008 – Except of Saturday nights when there’s a Rugby match on. But do agree, 7, 9 & 10 have generally turned into crap-tv, with endless, overlapping cooking/renovation/”talent”/”reality” shows.

  9. The Heart Foundation doesn’t care about sugar because it doesn’t directly affect heart disease. And their tick system is relative. For occasional treats they tick the relative least bad in the class, not healthy foods. (And they make money from selling ticks).

    Bur expect a press release complaining from Diabetes Australia though.

  10. The awful promotions the awful kitchen and. Shane Jacobson have put me off this show I would be very surprised. If This wasn’t the excess baggage of cooking shows it just looks bad

  11. bettestreep2008

    I am betting that this show will rate higher than MCA.

    Seems the majority of people signed up with Oztam have their meters permanently locked to either Seven or Nine.

    These people will watch just about any crap on these two networks eg. Block and House Rules.

  12. I’m not a great baker myself but I watched the great british bakeoff and loved it. I think it’s because many of the dishes you could bake yourself at home. Mary Berry was sweet as candy so not looking forward to cruela de ville

  13. Another cooking show, why do 9 follow in the footsteps of other channels can’t they think of anything for themselves, wonder how long this will last, had my fill of these shows

  14. Let me guess, this show was supposed to be on ahead of The Block, but Nine rushed The Block on to spoil House Rules.
    I think I will stick to MasterChef instead of this one.

  15. “the challenge for any newcomer is to offer a point of difference”

    How about this for something different, a cooking show that focuses on cooking rather than the interplay between Bob and Marissa, or whether Judy’s baby will be born before Mandy elopes with Reginald… not that Reginald cares as he is having a secret affair with Jeff.

    In other words, cut the contestant personalities out and cook.

  16. Never watched any of these cooking shows but for some reason I’m drawn to this one….might be my love for cakes and desserts!! I’ll be watching….

  17. TasTVcameraman

    Yet another cooking show !. These must be really cheap to produce, a cast of wannabes.

    Another show that I probably will not watch. I may be in the minority.

    I hate contrived reality.

  18. carolemorrissey

    Every time I see an article on this show I get excited and think finally we have a date, but still no date. I assume it will start when The Block or Celebrity Apprentice finishes.

    Well, they will get my tick of approval, I love cakes & desserts and all things sweet, which is why I will love this show. I read somewhere, it may have been here, that it was filmed during that dreadful heatwave they had last year, which would have been hideous conditions to be cooking in. So that would have added to the intensity of the competition.

  19. When I saw this article I thought there was finally an air-date!…But no. Still “Coming soon”…Couldn’t care less anymore. Not watching.

  20. Have been watching Last Cake Standing on Foxtel and Kerry Vincent is a judge on there and she certainly tells it like it is ! But she keeps it real and that makes the difference, none of this PC, namby pamby stuff from her…she’s great, look forward to her on the bake-off !

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