A love of cooking saw Dr Marcus Matear of Palm Square Dental Care in Bendigo, Victoria, become a contestant on The Great Australian Bake Off.
“When I was growing up, my mum cooked a lot. She loved baking and was always making custards and cakes. Initially I was more interested in eating than cooking but then I did a cooking class at the Spirit House restaurant and cooking school in Yandina, Queensland. They serve amazing contemporary Asian food and the cooking school is an exploration of smells, tastes and sounds. It’s quite an overwhelming experience.
“I began to really enjoy cooking and I spent a lot of time baking sweets and cakes. I was a little obsessed with macaroons and made thousands of them over the years. As a dentist, I was concerned creating so many sweet things and gradually became more interested in savoury cooking.
“While I was studying dentistry, I applied to The Great Australian Bake Off and was chosen as a contestant in 2017. It was during my final year of dental school and I wasn’t able to take six weeks off to appear on the show. However, I applied again in 2018, was accepted as a contestant and it was a really amazing experience. A real highlight was meeting Maggie Beer. She’s very passionate about cooking and a very caring, enthusiastic person.
“The best dish I made on the show was a three-tier cake with chocolate sponge, roasted black sesame and peanut buttercream. I created a tempered chocolate combustion chamber in the centre of the cake that I filled with dry ice and blood orange curd. It erupted like a volcano and Maggie Beer had no idea what was going on.
“The dish that sent me home was a crepe cake. I had to make about 60 crepes and pile them up into a cake formation. I was experimenting with flavours and used star anise with chocolate and orange. Unfortunately, it didn’t come together how I hoped. For my last episode we had a group hug and all danced the Nut Bush for the send-off.
“Recently, I’ve started a Facebook and Instagram page called Dentally Cooked that focuses on getting people to eat healthier food. I provide recipes that are delicious and good for the teeth. Someday, I hope to open a dental practice restaurant that would combine my two passions in life.
“Cooking is a constant process of learning, making mistakes and improvement. I love the creativity it offers. I like to cook for friends and share the experience with them. It certainly brings people together.”