Springwood’s Brendan Garlick saved his best for last on the Great Australian Bake Off last Tuesday (August 13) but it wasn’t enough to stop him being eliminated from the Channel 9 cooking show.
The 21-year-old said his proudest moment was the elaborately decorated Scrabble cake he made for his final bake.
“I went out on a high. If I’d gone out on bread week I would have been disappointed because I didn’t do well that week,” he said.
The former Winmalee High School student made it to the final five in the hit show but said his exit almost came as a relief as the atmosphere among the contestants had become tense as the finals loomed.
As the youngest baker in the show, Mr Garlick’s fun approach sometimes grated with his fellow contestants and polarised viewers. Comments on the show’s Facebook page ranged from “he’s the annoying cocky one” to it’s “good to have people who are always positive and have a good time”.
Mr Garlick said his irreverent approach, along with that of fellow contestant Monique Bowley, ruffled some feathers.
“Our fun attitude definitely rubbed them [other bakers] up the wrong way but to me that’s what baking’s about — having fun. It’s not being serious and cut-throat all the time.”
One contestant Mr Garlick memorably clashed with was 35-year-old Jonathan Gurfinkel. The pair exchanged tense words over ownership of a bowl of grated cheese during one challenge, with the Victorian baker accusing Mr Garlick of taking his ingredients.
“I did take the wrong bowl but I didn’t realise which bowl I’d put my cheese in . . . It wasn’t a big deal but he made it a big deal,” he said.
The awkwardness was compounded when the two bakers found themselves sharing living quarters after all the remaining male contestants had been eliminated from the show. It’s safe to say neither man will be on the other’s Christmas card list this year.
But Mr Garlick said the show’s positive approach meant any unpleasantness usually never made it into people’s living rooms.
“Any nastiness, they didn’t really show — not that there was much — but they just cut it out — because I said a lot more nasty things about Jonathan to be honest.”
Queensland baker Bliss Nixon was another story. Although she was eliminated early in the show, she and Mr Garlick clicked instantly and the pair appeared together on Channel 9 show Mornings early in Bake Off’s run.
“Bliss is my favourite. We text almost every day,” he said.
Apart from his morning television appearance, Mr Garlick also visited his old high school while Bake Off was airing. The Year 11 hospitality students made the intricate checkerboard cake featured in the show and asked the former school Dux lots of question (including one he wasn’t allowed to answer: who wins?).
Narelle Brown was his hospitality teacher from Year 9 until his HSC — where he topped the state — and said the staff and students followed his progress with interest.
“We’re really proud of him and how well he has achieved.
“We suspected he’d done very well so I was a bit shocked actually to hear his name announced when he was eliminated. I was really expecting he’d be there to the end,” she said.
Now that his television appearances have finished, Mr Garlick said he would like to work in the food industry as a recipe developer or food stylist — but admits full-time life as a baker probably isn’t for him.
“I like it as a hobby but I know if I did it as a job I wouldn’t like it so much,” he said.
He also started his own blog called The Garlick Press at garlickpress.com.