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And then there were 8…

From 16 contestants we are down to our top 8 bakers that will be treating us to their best baking over the coming weeks. Only one can ultimately claim the title of Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker 2013…

TRACY HANSEN

HASTINGS
MOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN (9, 7, 7 and 2)

Tracys’s Biography

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.

What is the best thing about baking?

Food is universal. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, people love food. I love being able to make something from scratch that results in something tasty and delicious. To watch people enjoy my baking is the best part. It brings joy to others and I love that!

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

My late mother inspired me to bake. She was a very social, beautiful lady and would always be baking for others, however, I didn’t really get into baking until I became a mother. Four children later, I’m always baking lol!

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

I love my cake mixer and plastic spatula.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

The Food Channel, YouTube, Google and everyday things and people. I might walk past a garden and see some beautiful roses, then go home and make cupcakes with rose piped icing

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Crème caramel because I’m soft, sweet and delicious.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

A couple of years I think? Lol mummy brain.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

I haven’t got a favourite yet, there’s too many to choose from.

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Give silicon cake bakeware tins a go. I’ve only recently started using silicon and it is fabulous. Works fantastic and is super easy to clean.

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SEAN MCGARRY

Wellington
Design & Advertising Agency Partner, Creative Director and father of two

Sean’s Biography

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.

What is the best thing about baking?

The challenge to create something delicious that looks great and that people (friends & family) really enjoy.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

I would say my Granny and Great Granny – I loved eating all the goodies they baked when I was growing up.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

My trustee wooden spoon/spatula if I had to choose.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

My foodie friends, the Food Channel, Pinterest and my steadily growing book collection – how many book cases should one have?

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Triple choc – complex, fun, creative with a soft centre & smooth texture with heaps of versatility!

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

About 3-4 weeks

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

I am still discovering but I would say the relishes are going to inspire me.

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Timing is everything so make sure you have an awesome timer. Fan-bake rocks when you are in a hurry!

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KIRIANA MARSHALL

Upper Hutt
Ministry of Social Development Manager – Regional Relationship Manager

Kiriana’s Biography

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.

What is the best thing about baking?

The finished product. I love standing back and looking at what I’ve just made and then giving it away.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

Mother, remember mum baking for our school lunches and also my nana always baking. It runs in my family. All my sisters are good at cooking and baking.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

My mixer can’t live without it!

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

My brain (lol), normally comes to me while lying in bed then try them out to see if it works.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Banana – like my name Kiriana had a mashed banana.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

Sorry, not a current member but I do refer to it.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

Scones.

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Always wash your hands before you start (hehe), but most of all have fun and don’t be afraid to try new things.

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SARAH ASHER

Taupo
Mother of three and Business Consultant

Sarah’s Biography

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.

What is the best thing about baking?

Sugar, butter and chocolate.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

My mum and my Aunty Annette. Mum can bake anything and taught me the basics. My Aunty showed me the ‘flair’ things… amazing.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

My cake mixer. I know you can use it for other things, but you shove in some ingredients and out pops cake batter. Magic!

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

Google and YouTube are my friend! I just love surfing the net and learning new things.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Salted caramel – because it sounds like it might be an absolute disaster but tastes awesome.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

A few months.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

Anzac oaty caramel slice – yum!

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Spray trays with oil then line them with baking paper so the paper doesn’t slip and slide everywhere.

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GEMMA BOUCHER

Auckland
Secondary School Teacher

Gemma’s Biography

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”.

What is the best thing about baking?

The best thing about baking is the process from start to finish. Seeing it develop then serving it. The coming together and sharing the meal.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

My mum and mother-in-law. Both are inspirational people in the kitchen providing for their families and always serving amazing food.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

I am not a gadget person. I find using my hands and a spoon good enough. But sometimes I use an electric mixture.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

I love surfing the internet and blogs. I enjoy reading about other peoples successful baking experiences.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Bubble gum – because I am sweet, fun & bubbly.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

I refer to the website and Facebook page – not a member of the recipe club yet.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Always bake with a smile and joy in your heart.

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CLAIRE HAHN

Takapuna
Stay at home mother of two (5 and 17 months)

Claire’s Biography

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”.

What is the best thing about baking?

The art of giving and feeding people and wowing them with something that looks gorgeous and tastes even better! I love baking for my sons lunchbox and knowing he gets to eat something nutritious and delicious.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

I grew up baking at my mother’s knee in the kitchen - she has always been inspiring, as adults we share baking as a hobby. I hope she finds inspiration from me too!

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

My most important gadget is my wooden spoon! Keeping things humble and hands on is always satisfying.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

Some of my best ‘tricks and tips’ come from people I know. I also love to keep up-to-date with fresh baking ideas by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs and using Pinterest.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Mocha – smooth, well rounded with a bit of kick.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

I can’t wait to join – definitely on my to-do list!

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

n/a

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Don’t get caught up in baking trends – set your own, bake what you love and stay true to your personal baking style.

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ALEX THOMSON

Glendowie, Auckland
Administrator at Telecom

Alex’s Biography

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”.

What is the best thing about baking?

The best thing about baking is the pleasure it brings, not only to me while baking but for all who eat it.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

My mum inspired me to bake. From a young age I baked with her in the kitchen at home, so when she died in the Christchurch Earthquake I found it to be a way I could feel close to her and remember her.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

I cannot do without my Kitchen Mixer, it allows me to multi-task and bake up a storm.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

I love to browse the internet and follow the blogs of bakers. I then like to take those ideas and adapt them to suit my style.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Raspberry – because I’m petite, elegant and lovely & sweet.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

I am not a current member but plan to be. I do use the website all the time.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

Lemonade Scones.

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

When creating meringues, age your separated egg whites for at least a day prior to use in order to produce a more stable meringue.

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KURT COLE

Inglewood, Taranaki
Landscape Architecture student at Victoria University

Kurt’s Biography

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?

What is the best thing about baking?

The best thing about baking is the finished product, the wow factor when it is viewed, then the taste explosion.

Who inspired you to bake? Was it a famous person perhaps? Or a family member?

Jo Seagar. My childhood has been filled with her recipe books and TV shows and of course, the “clean finger” getting a sample.

What is THE most important kitchen gadget you can’t do without?

Two things, my icing tips and my Tupperware spatula.

Where do you get new ideas, tips and techniques from?

Online blogs and videos are where I turn to for ideas & tips always.

If you were a flavour, what would you be? E.g. Nutty Caramel because I am a bit crazy but am a big softy inside.

Meringue – can be soft, can be hard, but always light & sweet.

How long have you been a member of the Chelsea Recipe club (if an existing member)?

Not a current member yet.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ recipe on the Chelsea website?

Chocolate Mud Cake.

Do you have a favourite baking tip/trick to share with other Recipe Club members?

Always pre-heat your oven. ALWAYS.

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