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Mzuzu baker bakes best

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Azmatha Fathima Maharoof from Mzuzu on Saturday shrugged off competition from two other finalists to be crowned the best in the Bake-Off Challenge grand finale held at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.

It was the first time for the Bake-Off Challenge to take place in Blantyre, having debuted last year in Lilongwe where Adam Antoine came out the victor.

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The final warmed up the stage for Ovation Advertising Agency as it looks ahead to hosting the Ovation Fusion Festival to be held from November 24 to 25 at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Azmatha was the first baker to go all the way to the final.

The final, which was spiced up by a performance from Patience Namadingo and DJ Flame, failed to attract a huge audience but the few that came had fun throughout.

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The battle started with a preliminary round before it came to the final with three making it to the last round.

The final had one male baker and two female bakers competing for the top prize of K500,000.

The three finalists were given one hour and 30 minutes to partake in a task that saw them being given a mystery basket that hat in it among others ginger, macadamia nuts and bit root.

Azmatha proved her mettle in the challenge as she was composed throughout, visibly enjoying the art of baking as she won the hearts of the judges Ipyana Mwagomba, Veronica Curtis and Dyson Chikoleka.

The judges were stunned with the way Azmatha used the items provided including green chilli in a cake.

“I am stunned with the way you have used the bit root, green chilli and macadamia nuts. This is the best cake of this round,” Mwagomba said, during Azmatha’s cake presentation.

Mwagomba said it is high time the country took seriously the art of baking and hailed the organisers for introducing the contest.

“Through this platform bakers can share ideas, learn from each other. The platform also gives a chance to bakers to try out new things and show creativity,” he said.

Mwagomba said the contest in the final was all about pressure test.

Azmatha pocketed K500,000 while Indhika Wickramasinghe was second while Uzma Mussa was third. Indhika and Uzma received K250,000 and K100,000 respectively.

Azmatha, who is passionate about baking, said she did not see herself coming top in the battle.

“I am so happy to have come out top. I am excited,” she said.

A very shy baker and of few words, Azmatha, who was the first to finish her assignment of the three, said she had not yet decided on how to use the K500,000.

Ovation Advertising Agency Managing Partner, Chimwemwe Matonga, said they were impressed with the contest, adding that they would continue holding the Bake-Off Challenge.

“As Ovation we would like to change the landscape of food in Malawi and also promote the art of baking. Next year we are back,” Matonga said.

During the event, some bakers were given special recognition by the judges and they were 16-year-old Hanifa Bakali, who was recognised as the youngest baker in the contest while Anna Mkandawire was recognised as the oldest member of the contestants.

Agness Khonje was recognised as a passionate baker and got some incentives.

Meanwhile, Matonga has said all is set for the Ovation Fusion Festival which this year wears the She Leads Malawi theme.

“We are ready. This year we would like to give the achievements of women leaders in various sectors a different narrative,” he said.

Having brought acts such as South African rapper Cassper Nyovest last year, Matonga said they are also courting a top artist this year.

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