Mel Buttle right recipe for The Great Australian Bake Off

Mel Buttle.
Mel Buttle.

MEL Buttle has two addictions in her life, stand-up comedy and baked goods, so co-hosting The Great Australian Bake Off is her ideal recipe.

“I was a fan of the British version of the show but I thought I had no chance when my agent asked if I wanted to audition in Sydney,” Buttle, of Brisbane, said.

“So I just mucked around and kept getting through. The juicy bit is that the final audition was held at Manu Feildel’s kitchen studio in Sydney so I went through all his stuff.

“I found his Dancing With The Stars trophy and had a very good rummage around in his pantry. There was a lot of Campbell soup and Campbell stock.”

Buttle, who studied at WAAPA and Curtin University, is back hosting the fourth season of the Foxtel series alongside Perth comedian Claire Hooper with judges Maggie Beer and Matt Moran also returning.

She said they all loved the liberty they were given to say whatever they wanted on the program.

“They’re not feeding us lines and that’s a real freedom you don’t often get in TV which is so monitored,” Buttle said.

“I also like that the contestants are purely there to bake.

“They’re average people not trying to get a book deal, there’s no prize money, they don’t win anything and are just there because they love baking.”

Despite her dad being a chef, Buttle said her own baking skills were appalling, but she had picked up some tips from Beer and Moran.

They included tossing fruit in flour before adding it to fruit cake batter to stop it from sinking to the bottom and always cooking meat with the fat on to stop it from drying out.

She said this season would see some artistic baking where the 12 amateur bakers reflected today’s food world.

“There’s three vegans on the show and they are making food that’s a bit different; they’re not your classic butter-filled cakes,” she said.

“Some of the vegans did bake with butter and others said ‘this is my chocolate cake and there are no animal products in it’.

“It’s also a little more diverse with different cultures including someone from South Africa and another from Italy.

“Pastry week wasn’t just sausage rolls. There was a special Italian pastry used that none of us had heard of and is now my favourite thing ever.”

The Great Australian Bake Off is streaming on demand or watch on Lifestyle.

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