If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching Nailed It, Netflix’s new reality TV phenomenon inspired by hilarious baking fails, it’s this: baking isn’t always a piece of cake.
“If you’re just starting out, stick with something simple – something within your comfort level,” she suggests to newbies, who may feel overwhelmed by what they’re seeing on Pinterest. “Be sure to gather all your ingredients and read the recipe really well before you start. And remember not to take it too seriously – it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
Perfection may be a noble pursuit, but (and here’s where Nailed It reveals another core lesson) it’s not always the most fun, or the most meaningful. Rather than following a recipe to achieve a picture-perfect result, Scott far prefers sourcing ingredients from her abundant garden at her home in Canberra, spending quality time with loved ones in the kitchen, and ‘feeling’ her way through a strawberry pie.
Of course, Scott’s baked goods seem pretty close to perfection anyway.
Simple done well
“I definitely go for simple things done well over complicated ventures,” she tells SBS Food. “I don’t attempt the croquembouche. My favourite type of baking is the type where I don’t have to go out and buy ingredients. I’ll always have eggs, butter, flour and water on hand, and something I’ve picked up from the farmers’ market.”
In part, it’s this particularly rustic approach to creating in the kitchen that won her the top spot in this year’s Make Me A Baker competition. As part of her prize, Scott received a full scholarship to the Make Me A Baker program – a series of hands-on classes, workshops, online forums, and at-home projects lead by Anneka Manning.
“I’m looking forward to getting a bit more precise,” she says after her first day at the course, where she made oat and honey biscuits, lemon syrup cake and vanilla cupcakes from scratch. “I’m probably more of a cook than a baker because I’m all about using what’s in the cupboard. Sometimes that works well, but other times you end up with not-so-great results. From a technical point of view, I can certainly improve.”
The food storyteller
When she’s not in the kitchen with her family, hosting dinner parties or foraging in her garden, Scott works full time in a media and communications role. What might seem like a far cry from baking has actually turned out to be quite harmonious. Her Instagram handle, @thefoodstoryteller, reveals as much.
"I love bringing people together.”
Over the past 12 months, Scott has spent time refining her food photography skills, and she hopes to intergrate her hobby and career even further in the future.
“I'm not looking for a career change at the moment, but it’s not off the cards,” she says. “I really enjoy my work, and being a communicator I would love to see where it takes me. My dream is to be a food writer. I want to write recipes and do a write up about where the ingredients came from.”
Until she starts her food media empire (watch this space), baking remains a happy pastime.
“Baking is my mindfulness,” she says. “It means removing myself from what is usually a busy life during the week. I love being in the kitchen – not just baking – and the whole experience of finding produce, preparing food and enjoying it with others. I love bringing people together.”
Nanna the 'grammer
Scott has a particularly close relationship with her Nanna, who she referenced in her Make Me a Baker competition entry. One of Scott’s goals is to totally nail her Nanna’s favourite cake – a classic Victorian sponge – which is no mean feat.
“She’s just such a beautiful person,” she says of her Nana. “She’s also the trendiest nanna ever – she’s on Instagram now and she’s always liking and commenting on my pictures. I would love to be able to bake her a sponge and have her around for afternoon tea. But it’s the hardest cake to make!”
In the spirit of Nailed It fever, Scott tells SBS Food that even she isn’t immune to epic baking fails.
“I tried to make buckwheat pancakes with roasted rhubarb and orange syrup last Mother’s Day – it’s really simple and I make it regularly,” she says. “It was barely even baking, but it was not working for me. My brother in law had to step in and save the day because I was just not feeling it that day.”
She’s only human after all.
Keep up with Hannah’s #MakeMeaBakerSBS journey on Instagram.