Gareth Whitton Shares What It Means To Win Dessert Masters — & What He’s Spending The Money On

Before Gareth Whitton walked into the Dessert Masters kitchen, you may not have known him by name. Despite being one of Australia's best pastry chefs, with stints at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Lune Croissanterie, it would be safe to say that the Melbourne-based chef's desserts at Tarts Anon were more famous than the man himself. Now that he's been crowned Australia's first-ever Dessert Master, that's all about to change.
Despite being on a show that platformed some of Australia's best dessert chefs, Whitton's humility was one thing that viewers noticed most. "It means a lot to win, obviously," Whitton tells Refinery29 Australia. "My intentions going into the show were always to be able to benefit my business. I'm not really one for personal glory... [there's] no faux humility."

"I've always wanted to stay out of the limelight and kind of do my own thing."

gareth whitton
Whitton maintains that he's never been one to be drawn to the spotlight. "I've always wanted to stay out of the limelight and kind of do my own thing," he says, explaining that his Instagram is just "pictures of my dog, people drawing in dusty car windows, or my bike".
The chef, who draws attention to the fact that he came onto the show with one of the smallest profiles, admits that this is also what helped him succeed in the Dessert Masters kitchen. "Even though my profile at the beginning might have been slightly smaller, I think it was more about just letting my work do the cooking and trying to bring my own personality into the cooks organically, as opposed to [coming in] with an agenda."
Whitton, who founded the now cult Melbourne tart and coffee joint, Tarts Anon, says that at the end of the day, he went on the show to help boost his business, which he started as an iso side hustle during the Melbourne Covid lockdowns of 2020. "My business is the main focus," he says. "I knew [it] would thrive because of how well-received it was on MasterChef last year. So when I was asked to go on the show, I was thrilled."
But while Whitton set out to increase his business' exposure following his stint as a guest judge on MasterChef last year, he also admits that his personal life has been enriched thanks to the friendships he formed on the show — some of which he says were "surreal" to share the kitchen with. "It was very much a 'happy to be here' moment," he says of his opportunity to cook in the Dessert Masters kitchen. "Especially around Kirsten [Tibballs] and Adriano [Zumbo] — they were actual people I looked up to as a teenager. To get into a competition alongside them was very surreal. And now, to be able to come out the other side and call them mates is really special for me."

"We're going to offset the mortgage and reduce some of those loan repayments, just really treat ourselves... How sobering when [you win] six spans and then you see it really chewed up through a cost of living crisis."

gareth whitton
Along with claiming the title of Australia's first-ever Dessert Master, Whitton also takes home a juicy $100,000 cash prize, which he says will go straight back into the business... mostly.
"The focus always was the exposure the show would give us, regardless of how far I made it — we [said we] would try and just capitalise on that as much as we could: build the business, build my own brand, earn that capital back through that exposure," he explains. "If we're smart about it, $100,000 will be peanuts in a few years if everything goes to plan."
But he also admits that there are a few things he wants to treat himself to, however, these are limited given the current cost of living crisis. "We're gonna do a holiday eventually... I bought myself a new bicycle which is pretty sweet. I'm very excited about that," he laughs. "We're going to offset the mortgage and reduce some of those loan repayments, just really treat ourselves."
"How sobering when [you win] six figures and then you see it really chewed up through a cost of living crisis," he jokes.
As for the future, Whitton spills some of his future plans that are already in the pipeline, including collaborations with many of the women in the Dessert Masters cast. "We've already done some shoots with Kirsten on her own TV show," he explains, before rattling off some Dessert Masters-inspired tarts that will be working their way into the Tarts Anon storefront. "Next month, Kay-Lene [Tan] and I are putting our heads together to try and work some of her more iconic desserts into a tart format. The same with Anna Polyviou, she's keen to get something that's inherently her — maybe not pink and a mohawk, but to work that into one of our tarts."
He also shares with Refinery29 Australia some of the work that's been in the pipeline for a while that's finally ready now that the show has finished, including a brand-new cookbook. "We've got a cookbook that we've pretty much filled and just finished the shooting of," he says excitedly. He also says we should expect a new merch line to drop soon, which is a nod to some of Tart Anon's original fans and customers from Melbourne's lockdown in 2020. "It's very evocative of where the business has grown to."
As much as humility and quiet achievement are built into his personality, Whitton also admits that one of his next steps is to work on his own profile, especially off the back of such a huge accomplishment. "[I need] to put myself out there as a chef and as a personality," he says.
Safe to say, we think this will just be the beginning for Gareth Whitton.
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