Rachel Khoo always admired Australian pastry superstar Adriano Zumbo from afar. “I had been to [his] patisseries and stuffed my face with as many macrons as I possibly could,” the London-based cook and author tells WHO.
But when it came time to meet Zumbo, who co-hosts Channel Seven’s new cooking competition Just Desserts with her, “I was a bit daunted. I was just waiting for some kind of interrogation about patisserie techniques.”
In the end, says Khoo, she was the one asking all the questions during the series’ shoot in Sydney. “We spent six weeks together—and a lot of early mornings. And I asked all these questions: why are you doing this? Why are you doing that? And no matter how long we’d been filming”—Zumbo says most days stretched to 12 hours and beyond—“Adriano would always answer them.”
Replies Zumbo: “Never too many questions. I was happy to share. The worst thing you can do in this industry is keep all [your secrets and tricks] to yourself. Because once you’re gone, who will push that on?” Zumbo adds that “going to the set every day was pretty joyful. Rachel’s elegant, she’s beautiful, talented and considerate. And she’s got that cool accent.”
Khoo recalls that “we had some good giggles” on the set, whose design recalls Willy Wonka’s factory of sugary delights and features rows of lolly jars. “We got some telling off from the studio for messing around. The set guys kept saying we couldn’t eat the lollies, that they were set decoration. Every day, we were sneaking a handful. We ate our way through that set.”
Zumbo says that “they kept trying to tell us they were spraying them with hair spray so we wouldn’t eat them … but that didn’t work.” And miraculously enough, the pair finished the shoot without putting on extra weight. “After eating all those desserts,” Zumbo says, “the last thing I wanted was another dessert.”
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