Adriaan Roets
10 minute read
22 Sep 2015
9:00 am

Meet the Great South African Bake Off’s 12 contestants

Adriaan Roets

Meet the 12 finalist that will compete in the very first The Great South African Bake Off.

The list of contestants has been a guarded secret since production for the show started early August. The contestants were allowed a weekend to get to know each other before they started their baking journey at the Great Bake Off tent near Maropeng.

The Great South African Bake Off builds on the success of the popular BBC series The Great British Bake Off, and will see amateur bakers compete to be named South Africa’s best home baker.

The programme’s compelling mix of dreams and passion, competition and drama has made it a huge hit with South African viewers, who will now have the chance to enter the Bake Off kitchen for themselves.

The presenters: comedians Anne Hirsch and Donovan Goliath, will provide witty insights on the competition. The judges are established chef, baker and food stylist Shirley Guy and Chef Tjaart Walraven, an alumini of Raymond Blanc’s famous Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons restaurant.

Here is a sneak peek at the 12 contestants who will try to bake their way in South Africa’s hearts from October 6.

Alice Toich

Alice Toich
Hometown: Cape Town
Occupation: Painter and Creative Consultant
Age: 24

When did you get into baking?

I guess the very first time must have been while I was propped up on kitchen table as an 8 year old, learning to separate eggs as delicately as I could for my mom’s chiffon cake and meringues before big family functions. I come from a massive family; I have 54 first cousins, so we often have a lot of reasons to get together at weddings, 21sts, baptisms, birthdays and Sunday Razans (a Croatian lamb spit). The kitchen was the nucleus of the family home I grew up in. As a teen I began to enjoy baking during exam time, as a break from studying. I also loved baking my friends a special cake based on their “personalities” and taking it to school for them.But my twin moms have been the biggest reason I started baking (and my big family which always ensured not even a scrap of a flopped sponge would go a-begging).

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I don’t know the others yet but I guess I am an artist, maker and avid crafter. So I like to think that my obsessive making and experimenting tactics would help set me apart by helping me construct baked goods in a new way. I am also very preoccupied with the sensuality of cooking. Texture and colour play a big role to me just like in painting. In art-making you have to lose the fear of being wrong or having a lot of ideas that fail, in order for one good one to prevail. I like to think this has kept me playing around in the kitchen. I see this as a good thing.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A Luxurious German Chocolate Cake because I once did this Facebook quiz “What type of cake are you?” and that’s what it said. I don’t know what that tastes like but it sounds “Sehr Gut”. But honestly I would probably be a Pavlova: Classic, a little sweet but also very dry.

Andrew Dore

Andrew Dore

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Actuary
Age: 25

When did you get into baking?

I started baking as a child. I grew up watching James Martin on the TV and trying everything I could with the ingredients I found in the kitchen.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My persistence. I think I will keep working on something (however frustrated) until it is something I’m happy and proud to present.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

It would be a mixture of chocolate and hazelnut (love my nuts). It will be decorated with clean lines, and interesting patterns, representing my creative yet my meticulous and exacting nature.

Dot Dicks

Dot Dore

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Administration manager at an equestrian estate
Age: 55

When did you get into baking?

I have always loved cooking but only got into baking about 2 years ago when my sister-in-law asked me to bake a fruit cake for my nephew’s birthday. I went into a baking shop and paid R25 each for some fondant “minions” and decided I could make them better. From then, I have been making celebration cakes for friends and family.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My attention to detail from start to finish.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A quirky celebration cake full of color and decorations.

Gavin Ronald Huxley Boyd

Gavin Ronald Huxley Boyd

Hometown: Sandton
Occupation: Transition lead
Age: 52

When did you get into baking?

Through my love of preparing and cooking food, but really more of the French patisserie side of cakes and desserts.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I am very fortunate to have travelled a great deal and experienced a wide variety of foods from all over the world. I have spent time at some of the cookery schools in Paris to understand the unique relationship that the French have with ingredients and food.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

This would have to be French, probably something quite complex with many textures and the outside appearance is important, let’s say a Fraisier!

Johan Botes

Johan Botes

Hometown: Sandton
Occupation: Attorney
Age: 44

When did you get into baking?

Through my mother who used to bake for friends, family and later for profit when we were kids.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

My enthusiasm, willingness to experiment and enjoyment of the trade. I bake because I enjoy it – it is not a grudge event and I don’t have to earn a living doing it. I thus have the license to experiment, fail and have fun.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

Probably a chocolate cake with sour cherries. I can be a bit of an acquired taste at the best of times. Not everyone will find me to their taste but I can linger on the palate of those who resonate with me.

Lauren Morrison

Lauren Morrison

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Veterinarian
Age: 32

When did you get into baking?

I have been baking for about 5 years, and have become more serious about it in the last 2 years. I started becoming more serious to try and develop the skills to create beautiful baked goods!

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I can perform really well under pressure and I have a great memory for remembering detail.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I would be a chocolate mousse cake with ganache, because it looks good and has many different layers.

Michaela Tsuen

Michaela Tsuen

Hometown: Cape Town
Occupation: Professional dancer
Age: 22

When did you get into baking?

I started helping my aunt bake when I was about 4 years old, basically just cutting cookies and decorating, and then I gradually became more involved in the process as I grew up.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think my Chinese heritage sets me apart from the other contestants. Of course everyone has their own unique cultural background so we’ll all have something that makes our dishes special. I’m going to bring as much of my Chinese background into my dishes as possible, but combine them with a western flair.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

If I could describe myself as a type of cake, I would describe myself as a chocolate lava fondant cake. I often come across as being hard on the outside, but I’m actually really soft and mushy on the inside.

Mmala Motsepe

Mmala Motsepe

Hometown: Pretoria
Occupation: Psychology student
Age: 20

When did you get into baking?

I started baking when I was really young- around 7. My mom and grandmother were always whipping up something yummy, and I’ve lived with them both so it sort of rubbed off on me.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

The other bakers probably know what they are doing, and I don’t. Just kidding. I think I’m on the same skill level as the other bakers. I hope what makes me different is that I think I’m very good at thinking on my feet. I’m quite sharp.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I think I’d be a pineapple upside down cake. Sometimes I make sense, sometimes I don’t. It’s like, I’m fun and nice to be around but nobody really knows why.

Raeesa Manjoo

Raeesa Manjoo

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Student at Wits
Age: 23

When did you get into baking?

I have been baking ever since I was a kid. My mom used to bake quite a bit, and it started out by me helping her out in the kitchen.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think I am quite unique. I love my things to taste good and be “Instagrammable”. I always try new things and it works out well most of the time.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

Hmm, an Angel cake because I am so angelic? Just kidding. I think I would be a multi-layered sponge cake with many different fillings and sponges. I think that would describe my dynamic personality best. The frosting would look all rustic and laid back, it would taste good though, but not everyone is going to love me.

Shainaaz Kariem

Shainaz Kariem

Hometown: Cape Town
Occupation: Client care representative
Age: 41

When did you get into baking?

Through watching and helping my mom and grandfather bake.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think we are all unique in our own way but I think that I attempt to take pride in the goods I bake.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A chocolate éclair. I’m all round, comfy, sweet and soft gooey inside.

Shawn Govender

Shawn Govender

Hometown: Benoni
Occupation: Design and Production manager
Age: 39

When did you get into baking?

I started baking as a child at home. Saturday afternoon would be spent in the kitchen with my sister baking for Sunday tea. There were lots of oopsies but eventually we managed to get it down. It was tougher watching family members pretending to enjoy everything just to keep our confidence levels up.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I think I am quite inventive with flavors and combinations. I also try getting the technicality of the bakes correct.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

I would be an unfussy easy-going cheesecake with not too many frills just good depth of flavor and delicious to the last morsel. (And as you can see, lots of cheese).

Teddy Zaki

Teddy Zaki

Hometown: Johannesburg
Occupation: Property Manager
Age: 42

When did you get into baking?

From an early age I’ve always loved baking. I would fake being sick in order to not go to school, so that I could stay at home and bake with my sister.

What sets you apart from the other bakers?

I’ve got the strength of a South African and the passion of a Lebanese. With that being said, I’m not going down without a fight.

If you could describe yourself as a type of cake, what would it be and why?

A croquembouche: The strong silent type that is easy on the eyes.