The Great Kiwi Bake Off final 3 face off

Pinny promise! The trio is set on dishing up the best bakes the series has seen

The fourth season of The Great Kiwi Bake Off has seen some of the best bakers in the show’s history walk into the famed shed.

Before Thursday night’s show-stopping finale, the Weekly caught up with the last bakers standing – Brooke, Victoria and Jonathan – to reflect on their Bake Off journey before one of them is crowned the champion.

The contestants are hope to impress the Bake Off team (from left) Pax Assadi, Peter Gordon, Jordan Rondel and Hayley Sproull.

Jonathan Willows, 53

How did you feel when you made it into the final three?

Really? No way! I never thought that far ahead. I just wanted to face each day with 100 percent effort.

Which creation are you most proud of in the competition?

My trifle terrine. I did not reference any cookbooks. I just walked around my garden, enjoying the wonderful things growing like juicy lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. I also took flavour inspiration from Vietnam, Thailand, Fiji and India’s cuisines. I knew it was a risky dessert, but lucky for me, the risk paid off. Since the episode was broadcast, I’ve had lots of orders to make it for friends for Christmas.

What has been the hardest part of the show?

I never knew I’d grow so attached to a bunch of bakers! Every single one of them is fantastic inside and out. I learned so much from them, not only as bakers but as human beings. When anyone of them left, I felt truly sad. I have nine new awesome friends. We’ve met up a few times for some dodgy karaoke, nice meals, cocktails and ice cream. I also work close to Brooke, so we’ve met up quite few times to put the world to rights as good mates do.

What has been the most unexpected part of the show?

I now have some credibility with my 16-year-old daughter Mollie!

Brooke Walker, 28

How did you feel when you made it into the final three?

If I’m being honest, I was terrified! I was so tired and disappointed in myself after the semi-final bake, I felt I didn’t deserve a spot in the final. During judging, I wasn’t sure what would be harder – finding out I was going home or finding out I had to bake in the final.

What was the highlight of your time on Bake Off?

Aside from the special friendships, it was having the iconic Jordan Rondel and Peter Gordon as judges. They are so passionate about what they do – they are the most amazing people and we could tell they truly cared about all the bakers. I’m a longtime fan of Jordan, so I pinch myself that I had the opportunity to bake for The Caker.

What do you admire most about your fellow top three competitors?

Victoria’s creativity and fearlessness when it comes to trialling new flavours and combinations. She gave me the confidence

to push the boat out. Also, her kindness. She is the sweetest, most humble person. Jonathan is easily the most driven and determined person in the competition. The way he pushes himself and how much he can achieve in each bake is absolutely wild.

Victoria Hume, 27

How did you feel when you made it into the final three?

I was gobsmacked! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could achieve that. I wanted to do my loved ones proud but also bake my heart out for the contestants who couldn’t be there. I was the substitute who replaced a baker that pulled out. I never saw myself baking in the final, so I hadn’t really practiced my final bake.

What has it been like watching the show back with your whānau?

I’ve never been showered in so much aroha and support in my life, it’s truly overwhelming. I appreciate them all so much and couldn’t have done it without their encouragement.

What is your favourite memory with Brooke and Jonathan?

Jonathan and Brooke were my housemates from the very beginning, so we shared the entire rollercoaster together. I’ll never forget the behind-the-scenes moments like making dinner together, Jonathan pouring Brooke and I a much-needed wine, building each other back up after a hard day and truly becoming friends for life!

What’s the biggest lesson you will take away from your time on the show?

Explore things that make your eyes light up and your soul happy. I was a very average baker two years ago, but I fell in love with it. When you’re passionate about something, all the hours honing your skills don’t feel like work at all because you’re totally in a flow state. It can also lead to the most astonishing opportunities, so say yes when they come along!

Watch The Great Kiwi Bake Off finale Thursday at 7.30pm on TVNZ 1.

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