From Masterchef to Great Australian Bake Off: meet Perth “sweetie” Rob Harwood

From Masterchef to Great Australian Bake Off: meet Perth “sweetie” Rob Harwood

PERTH information technology administrator Rob Harwood swapped office life for the kitchen as part of his stint on the third season of The Great Australian Bake Off.

Airing on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel from Thursday at 5.30pm the Swan View resident is among 12 budding bakers doing battle in front of iconic chefs Maggie Beer and Matt Moran.

Harwood, who has previously tried his luck on Masterchef said he loved everything about the 10-part series which included challenges for the best crepe cake, Frasier cakes, waffles, sausage rolls and biscotti.

“The coolest thing about ‘Bakeoff’ is that everybody is there for the experience,” he said.

“When we all finished up we all went back to our day jobs, but when we were there, we were there purely for the competition.

“It’s changed all of our lives in terms of the friendships we made and the skills we learned but unlike other shows, it’s not about personalities – it’s all about whether or not you can cook.”

The 34-year-old said while he was unsure where he sat in the first half of episode, he wanted to stay in the competition as long as he could.

“It was much more work than I expected it to be but I wanted to stay there forever,” he said.

“It all comes down to the cake present on the day.

“The difference with cooking and baking is you have to have a real plan with baking, not like cooking where you can add on the fly.

“With baking what you put in the oven is what you are stuck with but it allows you to flex your creativities and artistic side.”

And while being judged by two of Australia’s most respected chefs was a intimidating for him, it’s an experience he said was invaluable.

“ I was really nervous about meeting the judges – they are food icons but they are really lovely,” he said.

“Maggie and Matt work harder than anyone I’ve ever seen.

“That’s what shocked me, they never stop.

“The amount of work they do is absolutely incredible.

“They’re such impressive people it’s so intimidating to serve them your little cake but they are so nurturing, and wonderful mentors.”

Harwood said viewers would see a higher calibre of bakers this season and fun challenges.

“This year I believe it’s the highest calibre and they are the best bunch of people,” he said.

“I recommend people check it out because it’s great Australian television where the people are collaborative and genuinely care for each other from talent to crew.”

The Great Australian Bake Off starts Thursday at 5.30pm on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel.