Fire up your ovens for BGF Bake Off 2014
New venue, new hosts, new talent – bold changes to the recipe are injecting fresh energy into the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation’s long-running fundraiser, Bake Off. Reg Domingo reports.
Sydney’s campest baking competition has arrived and it’s bigger and better than ever. Now in its 27th year, Bake Off, to be held this Sunday, August 3, will raise much needed funds for Australia’s oldest HIV charity, the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.
Bake Off 2014 will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Erksineville, and will carry a fairytale theme as suggested by the tagline, ‘Once Upon A ... Bake Off’. According to Bake Off event producer Laurence Stark, the festivities will take place over two levels at the iconic gay venue.
“All cakes and treats from entrants for the various categories will be on display in the Cabaret Room,” Stark tells SX. “The Basement will be turned into a fairytale wonderland with fabulous entertainment and a live auction with our professional auctioneer and BGF board member, Romany Brooks.”
Budding bakes and connoisseur chefs can vie for a ribbon in one of eight categories, including Best Professional Cake, Best Tart, Best Preserve, and Best Decorated Cake, among others. Punters will also get to have their say with the inaugural People’s Choice Award.
GALLERY: Check out creations entered at Bake Off 2013. Photos: Vivid Images
Providing entertainment are a host of legendary performers including Cindy Pastel, Dawn Service, Campanosity and ‘Queen of Bake Off’, Miss 3D, who has won more categories at Bake Off than any other entrant in its 27-year history.
Hosting proceedings are comic icon Aunty Mavis and Patrick Abboud from SBS2’s The Feed. It will be Abboud’s first Bake Off and he is more than excited to see – and taste – people’s creations.
“Every year Bake Off has been on I have not been in Sydney and I miss out on it so I’m super excited to be there this time around,” Abboud tells SX. “All the cake I can eat! How can I not be excited?!”
But the critiquing is, of course, done by the professionals and this year’s judging panel features some of the biggest names in Australia’s food and restaurant industry, including restaurateur Claire de Lune, macaron king Adriano Zumbo, chef Martin Boetz and Christina Batista.
Many will know Batista for her culinary creations on Masterchef, where she placed fifth. After being critiqued on national TV, the out chef says she is excited to be wearing the judge’s hat this time around.
“I am completely honoured to be a judge for this year’s Bake Off,” Batista tells SX. “It such an iconic event in Sydney and to be a part of it is a dream come true.”
BELOW: BGF Bake Off judges Claire de Lune and Christina Batista. Photo: Cec Busby
For budding bakers, she offers two pieces of advice: “One, get as much flavour into your cake as possible – remember to use a syrup to keep it moist and flavoursome. And two, if you’re not happy with an element, don’t add it! Sometimes the difference between good and great can be the element that you weren’t happy with but added it anyway.”
They are sage advice echoed by head judge Claire de Lune, who has been judging Bake Off since 1998. She adds that quality ingredients and a fun attitude go a long way.
“Good ingredients are so important. I always tell my cooking class students, ‘If you put cheap shit in the dish, cooking it won’t make it better’,” de Lune says.
“But this year, I want the chefs to have fun. You can tell when a dish is created with a smile.”
And that’s what BGF Bake Off is all about.
GALLERY: More photos from BGF Bake Off 2013. Photos: Vivid Images. Full gallery here
“Everybody loves a bit of cake and it’s a fun afternoon that not only brings people together to support people living with HIV, it’s also just a bit bonkers in that special Sydney way,” BGF CEO David Riddell tells SX.
Riddell says support generated from Bake Off goes a long way to helping the work of BGF.
“We can only distribute what we fundraise so money raised will really help people living with HIV who struggle with health and finances to manage that much better.”
BGF’s Stark says whether you’re a baker or a punter, there’s something for everyone at Bake Off.
“It’s going to such a fun afternoon and something so different and we encourage everyone to bake a cake with our fairy tale theme in mind or make a jam, a pie, a tart, or just come along and buy one and have fun with your friends.
“There will be great prizes to be won, a fabulous line-up of entertainment all afternoon and you can go home knowing you made a difference to people’s lives.”
BGF Bake Off 2014 ‘Once Upon A ... Bake Off’ is on Sunday, August 3, at the Imperial Hotel. See the Facebook event page here
Doors open and cake viewing from 2pm. Live auction from 4pm.
Cakes must be registered by Thursday, July 31. For more information, visit the BGF Bake Off page here