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the great australian bake off

[INTERVIEW] Sian Redgrave

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[INTERVIEW] Sian Redgrave


Describe yourself as a dish.

Oooh this is a tricky one to get started on! I would have to say something simple like a bowl of pasta with a rich homemade tomato and chilli sauce. Probably a pasta shape that is tricky to roll like strozzapreti and the sauce would have something like anchovies and chilli for a little salty/hot kick. I guess what I'm trying to convey is that I'm simple yet complex at the same time! Sounds like most people right?

You won The Great Australian Bake Off in 2015. What has been the most rewarding part of claiming that title?

Bake Off was such a rewarding experience in so many ways. I think going on a journey like that and proving to yourself that you're capable of anything you set your mind to is so empowering and absolutely priceless. The second I was on the Bake Off set cooking everyday I became aware that it was what I was supposed to do with my life, so I was given a lot of clarity. I think life becomes a lot more simple when you are on your path and you have found your purpose.

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You've been pretty open about your enjoyment of cooking savoury dishes more so than sweet. What is it that you love most about cooking on the savoury side?

I think cooking has my heart as it's this beautiful balance between understanding structure and discipline and just surrendering and going with the flow. Cooking has guide lines however there is also a freedom to be spontaneous and creative, adding in a little of whatever may take your fancy. Almost a metaphor for life really! I also don't possess a sweet tooth. I was born with a bread, salt, butter and cheese tooth, so making something savoury also satisfies my cravings. 

What’s your opinion on avocado brownies?

Depends who's making them because word has it that yours aren't great, haha! But in all honesty, a brownie is no place for an avocado. If you're going to eat a brownie please ensure it's made of excessive amounts of chocolate and butter, preferably warm and topped with ice-cream. Clearly I'm the all or nothing type.

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Word on the street it that you have a little book project in the making. Can you tell us anymore about what's to come?

Word on the street is correct. I was finally mad enough to write a cookbook, which has been a dream of mine for some time. Put simply the book will showcase seasonal produce and hopefully inspire people to cook through colour, texture and tone. Georges Antoni, one the most creative and incredible souls I have met, who also happens to be a genius with a camera (and a great cook), is shooting all of the imagery. The book has organically become this great project to connect with friends, share a meal and ideas and fulfil a lot of artistic dreams, I'm so grateful! Release is aimed for September next year, so get your stovetops and appetites ready!

If you could cook a meal for anyone who would it be and what would you cook them?

There are so many people in the world (dead and alive!) I would be so honoured to meet who have impacted my life, from Oprah Winfrey to Picasso to David Bowie. But my favourite person to share a meal with and cook for is my mum. Since I moved from Perth to Sydney I don't get to see her a great deal and it's very hard for me. So dinner with mum, sharing a bowl of homemade gnocchi, her favourite, would have to be my dream.

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Food like fashion comes in and out of style but what food trend do you think will stand the test of time?

I think seasonal, sustainable and locally grown food will become the next big thing, not only out of trend but also necessity. As consumers I think it's so important that we take time to discover where out food was grown, the way it was farmed and what's going into our bodies and its impact on our planet. Conscious eating can benefit so many areas,  from our health to our farmers, so I truly hope there is momentum building in that area.

Top 5 restaurants in Sydney. GO!

1. 10 William Street (I go alone and eat the pretzel with their amazing whipped bottarga and a glass of orange wine.)
2. Society Pizzeria (best pizza in Sydney!)
3. Ester
4. St Peter
5, Hubert (I love the vibe! Feels like a night out in Paris.)

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Other than a knock out, best selling cook book, where would you like to see yourself in the next 5 years?

I think my greatest goal is to find a way to reach and inspire people to eat well and to enjoy the art of cooking. Food is not about perfection, I think it's actually far from it. For me, cooking encompasses self care, creativity, the act of sharing and love as well as pure enjoyment. So I hope to be cooking, creating and sharing with an audience who loves to eat as much as I do and cares about the origin and quality of their food, in whichever format that takes shape (hopefully in a series and through another book!).

If you could go anywhere in the world, at anytime of the year and eat anything you wanted. Where, when and what would it be?

I would be off to Tuscany in the spring, to eat Pici (a thick hand rolled spaghetti) with cacio e pepe. Washed down with a beautiful bottle of red and concluded with a big piece of ricotta crostata or cannoli. Right I'm off, need to book flights, Tuscany is calling!

 

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Something your fans may not know about you is your equally great passion for music. Why does music have your heart and how does it tie in with your love of food?

Music for me is so powerful and evoking. I can be in any state of thinking or feeling and listen to a great song and just be so encapsulated by it. I grew up with parents who are really into music and played instruments at school. My biggest passion is deep house and hip hop and I love listening to it while I’m cooking. I think music is so alike to food, it has the ability to transport you to another place and nourish you.

"NIGELLA who?"

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Food Vs Fashion Quick Fire Round

1. Online shopping or Online ordering?
To be honest I'm not much of a online kind of gal, technology and I haven't really bonded. I really love to dine in restaurants and I love to shop in store so I can try things on. But in this case online shopping wins, I'm a sucker for a sale on Farfetch or Net-a-Porter.

2. The Orient Express or Sushi Train?
Sushi train hands down. What's better than a conveyor belt of food?!

3. Gucci or Gnocchi?
You have gone for my weaknesses here and stumped me! Gucci is just so creative in their art direction, styling and photography. They are a true source of inspiration to me,  I especially love their creations for the met Gala every year. And then gnocchi, pillowy soft and even more delicious when it's pan fried. Might have to be a tie on this one P!

4. Catwalk or Pub Crawl?
Pub crawl takes the cake on this one. Must be my English blood but I adore old pubs and equally adore Guinness.  

5. Peach Colour or Peach Flavour?
Stone fruit season is one of the most bountiful and beautiful times in my opinion. I love baked peaches with amaretto or a delicious frangipane tart with peaches and mascarpone. No to peach colour, it washes me out! 

6. Celebrity Model or Celebrity Chef?
Celebrity Chef all the way, although I'm a little obsessed with 90's supermodels like Cindy Crawford. They are my beauty icons!

7. Chanel or Champagne?
Chanel wins this one. Coco was such a strong willed and resilient woman who I think has inspired so many young girls. And who can say no to a perfectly tailored suit?

8. Blow Dry or Dry Martini?
I'm sadly really slack when it comes to my hair. I just jump out of the shower, brush it and hope for the best. So a blowdry is always very welcome (people usually say "wow you look so different, what have you done (sigh)", however martinis are close to my heart and just so happen to be one of my favourite drinks.

Follow @sianredgrave for food inspiration, recipes and drool worthy images such as the ones pictures above.

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Follow me @model_appetite on Instagram to keep updated on my blog posts or subscribe below.

Sian portraits taken by photographer Georges Antoni

 
 
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[LIFE BEHIND THE SCENES] Great Australian Bake Off Final

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[LIFE BEHIND THE SCENES] Great Australian Bake Off Final


When a party consists of baking, balloons, burgers and babies you know you're in for a good time. When the baking has been done by Sian Redgrave, the balloons are the size of a small house, the burgers are the best you've ever eaten and the babies are as cute as a button then you're good time just turned into a little slice of paradise. 

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I was in my element. The big kid inside me squealed and clapped at the donut wall, gazed in awe at the magical carousel, grinned like a Cheshire cat at the balloon arches and drooled like a dog at the colourful lolly buffet. Of course, not forgetting that the reason we were there was to film the final episode of the Great Australian Bake Off and not just stuff our faces. 

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Friends, family and guests were all lined up outside the picnic area ready for our grand entrance. As they called action you could feel the buzz and excitement as we edged closer to the picnic party and of course the Bake Off shed in which the three finalists were finishing off their showstoppers. 

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It was that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment as we stepped through the balloon archway and were faced with an explosion of colour, sound and smell. First things first we located the perfect picnic position (aka prime photo taking backdrop) before Sian made a beeline for the coffee van. While she was doing that I ran around the party like a mad man taking photos before the donut wall and lolly buffet were demolished by all the sugar hungry children. 

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"Cake is for LIFE, not just for BIRTHDAYS."

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While most people would consider a picnic to be a couple of crustless sandwiches, a bag of Twisties and a few carrot sticks thrown in for good measure, you've clearly never attended a Sian Redgrave picnic. So we chowed down on an Isreali couscous, lentil, cauliflower, green bean, tomato and broccoli salad, a quinoa, radish, spinach, pomegranate and almond salad, a cheese board with all the trimmings (provided by yours truely) and of course a couple of baked treats because...........bake off. 

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Living up to her title of season one's Bake Off winner Sian's coconut and raspberry slice was heavenly. Beautiful and crumbly and finished off with a dusting of pistachios and rose petals. Her lemon meringue pie with a twist was incredible. The twist? Passionfruit! Perfectly short pastry and creamy, tart lemon curd with pops of passionfruit seeds and the stickiest, marshmallowy meringue.

You'd think after bringing enough food to fill 40 people we'd have no room left even for oxygen. You'd be wrong.........Bring on the burger! 

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If I'm honest I wasn't expecting much from this burger, I assumed it was just a filler for all the kids. Something easy and fuss free to keep them quiet. Never did I think I would claim one of the best burgers I'd eaten to be at staged picnic in the middle of a field from a food tent. Oh how wrong I was. And of course you can't have a burger without fries. Thin and crispy, just how I like em. 

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It wasn't all about the food (although that did play a very important part) it was also the experience of watching the epic grand final of three homemade bakers for one of Australias greatest reality shows. Sometimes watching them play out in real life can taint the tension and excitement that the TV brings to the living room but there was no doubt that the sweat on each of the contestants brows was as real as my sugar high and the tension just as raw. We arrived for the last two hours of their bake and the shed doors were left open for the guests to come and watch as they pleased. 

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Now we couldn't leave the party without taking a ride on the carousel. For Valentinas sake of course. However judging by the look on her face and ours it's not hard to see who were the real kids in this situation. It really is true what they say about children bringing out the child in you. You begin to see the world through their eyes and your wish is for them to see and experience as many beautiful things that the world has to offer. Candy floss and carousels included. 

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Sadly V and I couldn't stay to witness the announcement of the Bake Off winner. My motherly duties called and it was waaaaay past V's bedtime. We did get to watch the finalists bring out their masterpieces and serve them at their table of family and friends. And I can tell you that they looooook goooood.

But before we headed home there was one thing left to do........

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"GOOD things come to those who BAKE."

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FAN GIRL MOMENT! Seeing as Sian and Maggie go way back (2015 to be precise) I was able to nab myself a quick piccie with the Queen of cake herself. She is as adorable in real life as she is on the box. Courteous, graceful and humble as ever, the perfect example of celebrity. 

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I'm sure by now it's no surprise that Bake Off gets me a wee bit excited. Not only for the food porn but for the people it has brought into my life. Firstly, it is because of Mrs Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig and Caramel Ice Cream that I am married to the man of my dreams. What started out as an ice cream flavour debate soon became a dinner invitation and eventually a marriage. It is also because of Bake Off that Sian up and moved to Sydney and is now one of my best friends.

Food, family and friendship. Three of life's greatest pleasures. Thank you Great Australian Bake Off!

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What I'm Wearing
Trousers: Zara (old) // Tshirt: Uniqlo // Jacket: Zara (old) // Watch: The Horse


 
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