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Darren Purchese - Portsea Polo 2016
Darren James Purchese
3 February 1975
|Years active||1995 – present|
Darren Purchese (born 3 February 1975) is a British pastry chef and creator of the popular dessert and cake business, Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, in Melbourne, Australia. Purchese has written three cookbooks and is a regular on television.
In 1997, Purchese joined the pastry department at the Savoy Hotel and worked under pastry chef William Curley in the main pastry department, the bakery and in the River Restaurant. He worked his way to the position of senior pastry chef before moving to the Goring Hotel in 2000 as head pastry chef. In 2002, he moved to Raffles Brown's Hotel in Mayfair as pastry chef of '1837' restaurant where he stayed until 2003. He then moved to the Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge as executive pastry chef. It was during his time at the Bentley Hotel that he received an Acorn Award from the magazine, Caterer and Hotelkeeper awarded to the most promising persons under the age of 30 in the UK hospitality industry.
In 2004 while working in London, Purchese was invited to present as a guest chef at The Brisbane Masterclass Weekend in Queensland, Australia. It was here that Purchese met his future wife Cath Claringbold, a Melbourne chef and restaurateur. Purchese returned to Australia, this time to Melbourne, in 2005 and began working for Shannon Bennett at his Vue de monde restaurant as head pastry chef. During Purchese's time at Vue de monde, the restaurant received '3 Chef's Hats' in The Age Good Food Guide and Best Restaurant in the Gourmet Traveller Magazine. Purchese also oversaw the pastry department in the newly opened Cafe Vue  and Bistro Vue businesses.
Since being in Australia Purchese has also worked as pastry chef for Gary Mehigan at his then restaurant Fenix, as pastry chef at Bennelong Restaurant situated in the iconic Sydney Opera House. Purchese has also acted as pastry chef consultant to many high end restaurants and food businesses most notably for George Calombaris at his The Press Club restaurant.
Purchese regularly appears as a guest chef at many Australian food events and festivals, he has presented two Masterclasses at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in 2010 and 2012. Purchese presented a Masterclass at the World Chef Showcase at the 2012 Crave Sydney food festival alongside illustrious chefs such as Antonio Carluccio, Jordi Roca, Christina Tosi, Massimo Bottura and Jason Atherton.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
In April 2011 Purchese opened his first business, Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Melbourne's shopping, dining and entertainment precinct Chapel Street. Sweet Studio is primarily a retail space producing cakes and desserts of various flavours and sizes.
B&P also serves coffee and has outdoor seating, on Chapel Street. The business is owned and operated solely by Darren and his wife Cat. Cooking demonstrations, dining and tastings have also taken place in the studio.
Darren regularly appears on Australian television most notably on Network Ten's Masterchef Australia where he has presented a Masterclass in series 2, participated in an immunity challenge against eventual winner Kate Bracks in series 3, as a guest judge on an episode in season 4 and as guest chef on a Pressure Test episode in series 5. Purchese has also appeared in episodes of MasterChef Australia All-Stars and Masterchef Australia: The Professionals. Recently he has set a pressure test in series 7, where the contestants had to make his Passion flower. Series 9 saw him set a huge off site challenge where the two teams had to create edible art inspired by Darren's work.
Darren was also a regular chef presenter on Network Ten's The Circle and Scope. He has appeared on numerous travel and lifestyle programs on SBS, Nine Network Seven and the ABC. Darren also appeared in a cameo role in the television series Neighbours in 2015. 
(5 Metro Cities)
|Friday 11 June 2010||2||Masterclass 8||Darren demonstrated his 'Fruit Carnival' dessert.||1,208,000||2nd|
|Sunday 25 July 2010||2||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||5,743,000||1st|
|Tuesday 14 June 2011||3||Immunity Challenge 6||Darren beat eventual winner Kate Bracks (26-24).||1,559,000||2nd|
|Sunday 7 August 2011||3||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||2,740,000||1st|
|Wednesday 18 July 2012||4||Offsite Challenge 9||Guest judge at the 'Careme' Challenge at Sydney's Curzon House.||1,426,000||1st|
|Wednesday 25 July 2012||4||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||2,911,000||1st|
|Sunday 5 August 2012||All Stars||Immunity Challenge||Rematch of Darren vs Kate from season 3 - Kate won and Darren donated $1000 to her chosen charity.||787,000||7th|
|Sunday 19 August 2012||All Stars||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement||1,050,000||7th|
|Wednesday 21 August 2013||5||Pressure Test||Elimination challenge 14 - Darren's Chocolate, Rhubarb & Ginger dish.||807,000||9th|
|Sunday 1 September 2013||5||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||1,057,000||5th|
|Wednesday 28 May 2014||6||Offsite Challenge 3||Four Course Dessert Degustation Challenge.||779,000||11th|
|Thursday 5 June 2014||6||Masterclass||Darren's Tarte Tatin at Staples Apples Orchard & Farm, Victoria.||688,000||17th|
|Sunday 20 July 2014||6||Pressure Test||Darren working alongside Christy Tania and Nick Palumbo set a tricky 'Banana Split' challenge in an elimination challenge.||1,076,000||7th|
|Monday 28 July 2014||6||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||1,654,000||2nd|
|Wednesday 24 June 2015||7||Offsite Challenge 7||Guest judge in the afternoon tea challenge at the Hotel Windsor in Melbourne, Victoria||1,221,000||1st|
|Monday 6 July 2015||7||Pressure Test||Darren's 'Passion Flower' dessert for an elimination.||1,012,000||4th|
|Monday 27 July 2015||7||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||1,840,000||2nd|
|Wednesday 24 May 2017||9||Offsite Challenge||Edible dessert 'Greenhouse' challenge as part of sweet week||845,000||7th|
|Monday 24 July 2017||9||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||1,303,000||2nd|
|Monday 4 June 2018||10||Pressure Test||Darren's 'Peach Melba' dessert for an elimination||850,000||6th|
|Tuesday 31 July 2018||10||Finale||Appearance at the winner announcement.||1,309,000||1st|
Purchese has written the following books:
- Sweet Studio - The Art of Divine Desserts (2012) ISBN 978-1-742663-37-1
- Lamingtons & Lemon Tart (2016) ISBN 978-1-743791-86-8
- Chefs Eat Toasties Too - A Pro's Guide To Reinventing Your Sandwich Game (2017) ISBN 978-1-743793-05-3
In 2012 Purchese collaborated with Connoisseur, an Australian brand of ice cream, to design a new flavour to promote their "Uniquely Australian" range. Murray River Salted Caramel Swirl with Chocolate Coated Toasted Hazlenuts was offered on the Australian market in 2012/2013.
- "The Acorns 2004".
- Preston, Matt (7 November 2006). "Cafe Vue-Restaurant Review". The Age. Melbourne.
- "Bistro Vue-Melbourne Restaurant Review". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- "Espresso Mar 20 2007". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- "Espresso-20100217". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- "Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Stars". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- "WCSPROGRAM" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
- "Masterchef Australia Official Site Guest Chefs".
- "Sydney Morning Herald 3 July 2010". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Masterchef Recap Canberra Times August 22, 2013".
- "Visit Victoria Episode 1". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- "ABC Arts".
- Darren Purchese [@DarrenPurchese] (10 September 2015). "It's on! @neighbours @NeighboursTV @burchpurchese #neighbours #bucketlist" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Introducing The New Connoisseur". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.