Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull talk becoming friends and feeding their faces on the set of the new Kiwi reality show that puts home chefs through their paces.
You're fronting the first New Zealand version of The Great British Bake Off. Do you feel any pressure following in the footsteps of Mel and Sue, the now-famous UK hosts?
Madeleine Sami: We didn't know each other before the shoot. We were thrust into it and we shot it very fast. We didn't think about what our style would be. More than any other reality show this lends itself to bringing your own personal flair to it. It's fun, it's light. We don't have to be serious, we don't have to convey any messages. We can be quite playful. We were cast probably because we are quite playful people individually. Together, it's a riot.
Hayley Sproull: We're quite dissimilar from them. With Mel and Sue one of them is more wild, the other one's pulling them back. With us it's, "Be more mad."
The Great Kiwi Bake Off takes home cooks out of their normal environment. Is there as much drama as MasterChef or My Kitchen Rules?
Madeleine: It's a really sweet reason why people are there. This isn't a show that has a massive cash money prize at the end of it. You have to love baking. Not only did they love baking, they really loved each other, it was a really infectious, nice environment to be in.
Hayley: It's a very sweet show. It's very friendly, it's very loving, but still there was so much drama. It was so hard, because something horrible would happen, like someone's cake would collapse or something would fall on the floor, something would get burnt or someone's oven would turn off. You're genuinely devastated for these people. They're putting everything into these bakes. They really don't have a lot of time. It was horrible sometimes, but you're going, "This is great TV."
How much of the drama is manipulated by you, the hosts, or by the show's producers?
Madeleine: It's one of the funnest formats for a TV show so there isn't much that can be manipulated in it. I really buy into these people and the reason that they bake. You really get into them and root for them ... I don't watch a lot of reality television myself because I hate the constructed drama of it. As a writer, I see right through it. I can smell the fakeness of it. With Bake Off, it just feels like what's on the packet
What are the contestants like? Who wants to be on a show like The Great Kiwi Bake Off?
Hayley: We have this great guy, Jeff, who's a dad. He could speak a lot of languages, but he was part of this amateur musical society, and you'd hear him in the background, just singing. There was another guy who wouldn't stop talking, so they put him on a talking ban. He wanted to be a show host, I think. One of the bakers is a mum and her main thing was getting veges hidden into everything. Her cakes would have beetroot and zucchini in them. Her pies would be stockpiled with veges. They were so good though.
Madeleine: There's a woman who's like, "I'm really shit at this," and she'd have the worst confidence and we'd have to go around being like, "No, you're not." There's a bodybuilder and a mum, she made amazing things, normal sugary cakes. She still lifts. She's between seasons. She looked amazing. Everyone downplays their talent in a very Kiwi way. There's a classic Kiwi bloke, a tradie, a laid-back dude, "Oh well, see how we go". His rugby team mates don't know he bakes. It's like, "How could you just wing this?"
Have you picked up any tips from the show? Are you baking at home more often now?
Madeleine: I'm not much of a baker but it really inspired me to be more brave and bake. It is just a matter of being organised. It makes me so happy to eat the food. I want to make other people happy to eat the food.
Hayley: the problem with me and baking is, I don't want to get into it too much because I'll just eat the food. I eat so much food.
Madeleine: You're a tall woman. You need a lot of food. You're twice the height of me. So you should eat twice the food of me.
It's a show about baking. You were around a lot of food. Be honest: how much sampling did you do?
Hayley: You have little tries, yum yum yum. But as the cameras went off, it was like, "This food is all delicious. It's all going to go to waste." Off-cuts of cake and stuff [were everywhere, so I'd just eat some, and [cameramen] would always find me. There is a supercut somewhere.
Madeleine: I started fasting. I was like, "I can't eat breakfast because I'm going to be eating all day." I'm fasting in the morning, in the afternoon I'm stuffing my face with cake.
Hayley: I won't eat sugar for a while.
Now that filming has finished, are you still friends?
Madeleine: We became really close mates in a really short amount of time. We couldn't be apart from one another.
Hayley: Mads would follow me to the bathroom.
• The Great Kiwi Bake Off begins screening on Tuesday at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2.