BBC Lifestyle today announced its judge and presenter line-up for new local commission The Great South African Bake Off. The series, which will search for the nation’s best amateur baker, will be judged by chefs Shirley Guyand Tjaart Walraven and presented by comedians Anne Hirsch and Donovan Goliath. The ten-part series is produced by Rapid Blue and will air on BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174, this October.

Shirley Guy is an established chef, baker, food stylist and cookery author with more than thirty years’ experience. Writer of twelve cookbooks, including The Barbeque Kettle Cookbook, she also set up her own South African cookery school, the Dough Hook. Over the course of her career she has run baking classes for pastry work, breads, grand desserts and chocolate. Shirley was trained at the esteemed Cordon Bleu School in London and La Varenne in Paris.


Chef Tjaart Walraven’s extensive baking experience includes working with Raymond Blanc in the pastry kitchen at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, and at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School under the directorship of Michelin-trained chef Stephen Bulmer. Tjaart has worked as a personal chef to celebrities and has a strong command in Showstopper desserts. Tjaart is now the Director of Food Template, a consultancy business offering a range of restaurant, hospitality and training services.


Comedian and stand-up performer Anne Hirsch has three one-woman shows under her belt and in 2013 won Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year award in the ‘Next Big Thing’ category. Host of a popular YouTube programme, The Anne Hirsch Show, she is currently based in Cape Town.


Comic Donovan Goliath has performed at festivals all over the country including the Soweto Comedy Festival, 99% Zulu, Jou Ma Se Comedy and the Mzansi Fela Festival. He’s received two nominations at the Comedy Choice Awards for ‘Newcomer of the Year’ (2012) and ‘Blackberry Breakthrough Act’ (2013). Born in the Eastern Cape, Donovan left his job in advertising for a full time career in comedy.


The Great South African Bake Off is sure to provide inspiration and delicious fun as twelve amateur bakers go all out to impress Tjaart and Shirley with their originality and skill. As well as putting the contestants through their paces, each week the judges will showcase some of their favourite bakes and the series will culminate with two very special masterclasses.


Kully Kaur-Bains, Head of Programming for Africa, BBC Worldwide, commented: “We’re thrilled to announce such a dynamic and engaging group of local talent for The Great South African Bake Off. Shirley and Tjaart’s skill, knowledge and expertise make them the perfect fit to judge our twelve talented bakers and Anne and Donovan’s witty and cheeky approach will tie the programme together wonderfully.”


Julie Swanston, VP of Commissioning at BBC Worldwide and executive producer for the series, agrees: “It was a difficult task choosing just twelve contestants from such a strong pool of local talent. But we’re confident we’ve selected the very best and I can’t wait for our South African viewers to be inspired by the show.”


The Great South African Bake Off is locally sponsored by Snowflake and Mugg and Bean.


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