Larissa, 22, Christchurch

Larissa learnt to bake from her mum but decided to go solo at a young age, baking muffins while her mum took a nap! Larissa’s talents in the kitchen are now sought-after by her five flatmates, colleagues and boyfriend. The least experienced baker to enter the tent, Larissa is not a stranger to a few kitchen calamities. Will she rise to the challenge or see her dreams of a career in baking fall flat?

Why did you apply for The Great Kiwi Bake Off?

The Great British Bake Off is one of my favourite television shows and lately I had dreamed of moving to Britain and applying for it. When a Kiwi version came along I was so excited – it was an opportunity I couldn’t ignore. I never thought I’d actually get on the show, but I knew I had to try. I would love to turn baking into a part of my career (even though I’m nearly ¾ of the way through a mechanical engineering degree) so I had to jump at a chance to show NZ that I am capable of baking some pretty cool things.

How would you describe your baking style?

At home, I’d say I’m quite tidy and accurate, but as it turns out when I get in front of a camera I’m actually a little disastrous, both at keeping tidy and at avoiding calamity.

What do you think are your strengths in the kitchen?

I think I’m good at recovering from disasters. Which is an important skill to have if you’re also prone to having a lot of disasters. I also think I’m good at not panicking too much if things aren’t going well.

What has been your biggest baking disaster?

I dropped a whole vegan ‘beef wellington’ on the floor last Christmas eve. It slid right off the tray as I was getting it out of the oven. It was meant to be my sister's Christmas lunch and actually still was because we just ate it anyway. It’s funny now but it was not so funny at the time.

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

I’d be the chicken tikka pie I made on the show. Very messy, quite colourful, but nice on the inside.

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

Winning The Great Kiwi Bake Off would be incredible. I love baking so much and to have it confirmed by professionals that I actually know what I’m doing would be unbelievably cool. Winning the show would also give me a confidence boost in terms of trying to pursue a career in baking.