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Cream of the crop on Zumbo dessert show

AAP logoAAP 19/08/2016 Sarah McPhee

Celebrity Chef Adriano Zumbo © Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/WireImage Celebrity Chef Adriano Zumbo If a rose by any name would smell as sweet, it would be called dessert.

The much-loved and sugar-filled course has jumped from the back pages of menus to the forefront of professional cooking in recent years, propelling patissier Adriano Zumbo from the kitchen to the small screen.

The Australian pastry chef says the "power drive" to an industry full of colour, fun and flavours has been fuelled by a global "food boom".

After wowing audiences with his towering croquembouche on Network Ten's reality show MasterChef, Zumbo has since reserved himself a timeslot of his very own on the Seven Network.

Twelve amateur pastry chefs will compete on Zumbo's Just Desserts from August 22 for $100,000 and the chance to sell a sweet treat of their own alongside tarts and fondant cakes in Zumbo's stores.

British pastry chef Rachel Khoo has joined the judging panel, while Brazil-born Gigi Falanga is set to provide words of encouragement and advice in the candy-coloured Dessert Factory.

"The contestants have the freedom to do what they want and use their imagination to impress us," Zumbo said.

"Even though they're amateurs, they're the ones who think on a different note to you because it's not their regular job."

A bricklayer and a bouncer are among those heading into the baking battle, with the bottom two contestants in each round forced to replicate the creation under the elimination Dessert Dome.

"Adriano has such a creative mind when it comes to desserts, there are no boundaries," Khoo said.

"Even if you don't make desserts yourself you can enjoy the show for the factor of watching somebody willing to take a challenge on and fight tooth and nail for this amazing prize."

Despite each living a life of pie, the two judges said they had learned a lot from the contestants.

"They have different strengths and weaknesses but they are really talented and they really surprise you," Zumbo said.

"We need people who are sort of hidden, pastry people.

"You just need to have the rest of it to back it up, like being able to work long hours."

The British chef, who taught at a French culinary school and was a surprise judge on Seven's My Kitchen Rules, is a seasoned professional when it comes to dishing up criticism.

"You have to be very diplomatic," she said.

"You don't want to make your student cry - well I didn't - and you start off with something positive, then tell them what didn't work out and give points as to how they can improve."

Both judges pointed to childhood as the starting point for a worldwide obsession with desserts.

"It's always been noted as that sort of really special treat that's indulgent and a bit naughty in a way," Zumbo said.

"Whether it be soft serve, pancakes or macarons."

* Zumbo's Just Desserts, Seven Network, August 22

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