(This post contains spoilers about The Great British Baking Show)
Baking shows are probably my favorite thing to watch. When we first saw The American Baking Competition years ago, we fell in love with it, but I wondered would we ever get to see the original version? Thanks to PBS we’re now watching the 3rd season airing in the US of The Great British Baking Show or (Great British Bake Off– GBBO, as I always think of it) and we love it even more! In fact, I can’t believe around pregnancies and things we’ve never written about it before.
If you love competition shows, especially competition food shows, you will love The Great British Baking Show. It’s full of stellar talent, the bread sculptures and biscuit boxes will leave you agape. The judges, dashing Paul Hollywood and legendary cooking and baking expert Mary Berry give out baking wisdom and critique in a constructive and positive way. There’s none of the shrieking profanity of some British “bad boy” chefs, just a genuine appreciation of food crafting and education in baking. Mary Berry is seriously one of my new heroes. The hosts, or friends as they are called, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are simply lovely. They manage to be hilariously funny, endearing and nurturing all while presiding over their hosting duties in the baking tent. I also love that they wear cool, fun work-appropriate outfits, not the kind of scantily clad Barbie-ensembles worn by Padma on Top Chef. Thanks ladies, and Paul, for showing audiences that you can look great for your job and be professional. They always do a delightful segment on baking history at the end of the episode too. So not only do you get to stare at amazing creations of food, you learn a lot too.
But, it wouldn’t really be a competition show without any competitors would it? I love watching The Great British Baking Show because of the bakers. After watching 3 seasons I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a more lovely bunch of bakers on any TV show. The contestants are warm, creative and talented. They also know how to take responsibility for their mistakes, treat each other with respect and comport themselves under extreme stress without excessive profanity. What a wonder! I love how they approach this show with so much focus and grace. It’s always hard to pick my favorites in any season of this show, but in the season 3 (season 6 of GBBO) my favorites are Marie, Sandy, Flora, Tamal, Mat, Nadiya and Ugne. Sadly, 2 of my favorites have already been sent home.
If you aren’t watching The Great British Baking Show, can I ask why not? Get out your remote and set your DVR for PBS this weekend and get caught up! I’ll be watching!
Kari Liked: I love everything about The Great British Baking Show. Now I want to make my own macarons and bread that Paul Hollywood will say is delicious. And I dream of getting an “absolutely scrummy” for Mary Berry for any of my bakes.
Kari Didn’t Like: PBS please show us these seasons more as they occur, don’t keep us waiting so long! And show the back seasons too, please!
Kari and I are big fans of The Great British Baking Show. Our first exposure to the show as actually the short-lived The American Baking Competition, and have written about The Great Holiday Baking Show as well. We’ve also followed this iteration as long as it’s been available for viewing in the states. The original is still the best. The show is so sweet and wonderful that we always look forward to each new episode.
It’s just so nice to see a reality food show that is all about the food. It’s not about the drama between contestants, or last minute twists. It’s all about the baking. The bakers are told in advance 2 out of 3 of the challenges each week and are allowed to practice them for a week between episodes. We’d never be able to do that here, because geographically we’re so much more spread out, and it’s a shame. You’re not getting (okay, rarely getting) finished products that are thought up and never been made before. That’s impressive, but it’s a different skill. On display here are items that bakers were allowed to think on and really figure out how to great the best for that challenge. The challenges are also wide open enough where it never feels like any one was given an easier challenge by chance.
I also think it’s great to see how nicely the people behave on The Great British Baking Show. The best example is at the very end of the episode. The baker that did the best is declared star baker, and the worst performer baker doesn’t get to keep baking in the next episode. They’re not chopped, or told to pack their knives and go, or even eliminated. They’re either asked to leave, or the show is not able to continue on with them. It then concludes with a genuine group hug where everyone is sad to see the person leave. It’s so nice and lacking of the normal stress associated with food reality competitions.
This year’s been a great one so far, but some of my favorites have already been sent home. I’m still rooting for Nadiya, Flora and Tamal, but all of them are great to watch.
RJ Likes: All of it
RJ Doesn’t Like: That we haven’t gotten to see the older seasons yet, or any of the spin-offs featuring kids, professionals, athletes, comedians, and extra content from the main show.
(all images are from pbs.com)