Ana, 28, Auckland

Ana’s family emigrated from Serbia when she was five years old and her baking is heavily influenced by her Serbian roots. She credits learning everything she knows from her mother and grandmother, calling them “bloody good bakers” and hopes to do them proud in the Bake Off tent by mixing her Serbian heritage with her modern baking. Ana is a huge fan of The Great Kiwi Bake Off and hopes appearing on the show will take her a step closer to one day opening her own bakery.

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?

I absolutely love watching the show and really enjoy the supportive vibe associated with it. I love to bake and wanted to meet likeminded people and experience something new, while pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?

Usually, it’s being methodical and somewhat tidy. My strengths are definitely breads and dough-based creations but I also love to utilise simple but effective decorations.

What home-made baking dish are you most proud of?

A dish called ‘burek’ – a traditional Yugoslavian pie.

What has been your biggest baking disaster?

The great love-heart blob disaster of Valentine’s day 2018. When shortbread isn’t cold, love hearts turn into love blobs.

How would you describe your baking style?

You know I’m in the zone when there’s flour all over my apron and butter all over my fingers. My bakes start of methodically with the best intentions.

If you were a baked item, what would you be and why?

I would be a crusty loaf of bread – because I am reliable, great first thing in the morning and most people like me (and those that don’t avoid me like the plague!) haha.

What would your ‘death row’ sweet treat be?

A cinnamon bun – soft bread and sugary icing and a nice kick with the cinnamon – so good!

What would winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off mean to you?

Winning would be such an amazing experience. It would open up a world of opportunities and help towards the dream of making baking my profession. It would also be so great to win the first Bake Off in NZ!