The “queen of catering” joins Dean Brettschneider in the tent in the coveted role of judge, bringing with her an eye for quality and presentation and a desire to nurture the bakers into something great!
Sue can’t wait to sample the culinary delights the bakers will whip up in the weeks to come.
An acclaimed chef, Sue trained at the Savoy hotel in London when she was just 17 years old. She has a passion for food and a flair for business with more than 20 years’ experience heading up The Great Catering Company in Auckland, a company she founded in 1995. With her hands-on attitude, you’re just as likely to find her in the kitchen as the boardroom. Sue’s stellar kitchen talents have brought tremendous success, her company being the leader in the private and corporate catering world
In 2016, Sue was inducted into the New Zealand Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution and leadership in the hospitality sector.
How would you describe your judging dynamic alongside Dean?
Dean and I have known each other for a few years and this made everything so much easier when we first entered the tent. We both have very similar views on what we are looking for. Luckily, we also have a certain cheekiness that we both bounced off when the judging got tough. Filming together was lots of fun!
How would you describe your own judging style?
I probably take a softly-softly approach to judging. I do try to be caring and kind but can also be to the point.
What can viewers expect from the first ever series of The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
Viewers will be in for all sorts of surprises, twists and turns. There is some truly magnificent baking produced on the show and I am sure many people will learn a few tips too. Some of the creations and skills shown in such limited time frames were breath-taking.
Do you ever want to roll your sleeves up and help the bakers?
Oh, indeed yes! But the contestants were very good at helping each other out if they were running out of time. There was great comradery in the tent every day.
How do you balance taste versus appearance when you’re judging?
Taste and appearance are both very important. We have come across some average looking baking that tastes amazing and some Showstoppers that look spectacular but are dry and lack flavour. Neither will win the Star Baker award.
How have you found working with Madeleine and Hayley?
Madeleine and Hayley are simply bundles of joy! They always made us laugh on set and were just so fun to be around. I often wondered what on earth they ate for breakfast!
What have you most enjoyed about working on Bake Off?
I’ve loved everything! I have loved working with Dean, Madeleine and Hayley, we all got on so well. I also loved getting to know the bakers, we felt as though they were part of our family by the time we finished filming. We saw their highs and lows, the smiles, the anxious looks and even photos of their children. It was a great experience, every day brought unexpected surprises and delights.
Do you expect the show to inspire other Kiwis to get their bake on?
I do hope so! I am looking forward to doing more baking myself.
What’s the most under-rated ingredient in the kitchen?
I want to say, “baking with a smile” - it results in a better bake!
What is your favourite baked item to bake yourself?
I love syrup cakes with yoghurt cream. The cakes last for days and are great when you have a crowd staying in the holidays.