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Monday 10 April 2017

Bake it 'till you make it

Posted in: Television
By Matt Akersten - 11th February 2010

New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker is the ultimate test of Kiwi baking as eight contestants have just two hours to whip up their best pavlovas, brownies, biscuits, scones or signature dishes... with different challenges every week.

Sure to rise: Grayson Coutts
Gay 21-year-old make-up artist Grayson Coutts is the only male contestant on the show. Does he have what it takes to win the title and grand prize of $20,000? We cooked up some questions for him. How long have you been interested in baking, and what are your favourite goodies to bake?

Grayson: I've been a fan of baking ever since I was yay high. My mum and my gran would stand with me in the kitchen - I stood on a stool - and show me how to beat eggs, whip cream and all that. I guess I've carried it on because it reminds me of those times in a way and always manages to bring with it a certain amount of relaxation.

My favourites are triple chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate and hazelnut cheesecake and caramel brulee slice.

Where do you get your kitchen inspiration from?

I get a lot of my ideas from cafes around Auckland – we have some amazing bistros and restaurants out there and when I see something fantastic I just have to try and recreate it. That's the easy part; the hard part is coming up with the recipe!

What's it like being on the show?

I had such an amazing time. Everyone was in such a good mood; there were no dramas at all. I have such respect for the other contestants – they are truly fabulous bakers. It's funny because when we were given time limits like two hours we all kind of thought "Oh yeah, that's just for the cameras, they'll let us chill things for sure." No. Two hours was two hours. You had to have everything done in that time, no exceptions.

What's cooking? Grayson explains his mixing method
Did that make it difficult to decide what to bake?

I definitely had trouble with the time limits. Almost everything I bake needs to chill and to have to have something innovative prepared, baked and served within the time limit was definitely a challenge. It meant I had to strike out about 75% of my recipes, including my signature cheesecake.

Are people now recognising you from the show?

I've had a few stares and side-way smiles since the first episode. It's all been really positive though and people are so supportive. It's strange because I never thought when I started the show that it would be such a hit but people are really enjoying it. It's fantastic and I hope it gets us all baking again!

Do people on the show treat you differently because you're the only male contestant?

Not at all. We got along really well from the word go. I think we all respected each other and our own styles of baking. It was really interesting to see what other people came up with and how they did things in a different way to me. I've definitely made some great friends through the show.

If you were a baking ingredient what would you be?

Cinnamon. It's the most versatile spice. It goes with everything from chocolate to chicken and it adds warmth to most dishes that instantly makes you feel right at home. It's also said to be an aphrodisiac…

New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker is on TV3 each Thursday evening at 8:30pm.

Matt Akersten - 11th February 2010

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