Mexico’s week on ‘Great British Bake off’ sparked major backlash

“Great British Bake Off” is like a TV glass of hot, honeyed chamomile tea. Usually, the program is a calming force among the sea of ​​blood-soaked medical dramas, reality shows featuring well-dressed wealthy people squabbling over trivialities, and fiercely atmospheric Nordic murder mysteries. The key word here is usuallybecause on this week’s episode, there’s something to be offended about, according to critics on social media.

On October 4, in the final episode of the 14th season of “Bake Off,” judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood hosted the bakers in the tent for what they called “Mexican Week,” where contestants tackled Mexican dishes like pan dulce, tacos and a tres leches cake.

Even though the episode hasn’t aired in the US yet – as Netflix releases new episodes of “Bake Off” on Fridays – those on social media were already skeptical when promos for the episode hit Twitter. .

Suspicious of what Leith advertised as a “Mexican week”, fans on social media expressed concern under the tweet that the episode could be insensitive, especially since there is no guest judges on “Bake Off” with specific expertise in Mexican baking who could judge the week.

“I have never been so nervous for a cooking episode,” said a user on Twitter.

“As a Californian, I can’t wait to watch in horror and wonder,” another user said on Twitter.

“They better give them conchas and empanadas properly…” remarked another user. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t.)

For its part, Hollywood had the most knowledge of Mexican cuisine from presenters that day and as host of Channel 4’s “Paul Hollywood Eats Mexico,” a three-part special where “he explores the character, Mexico’s culture and history through its food”. .” It was during this special, which was shot in 2022, that he said he had “never heard of pan dulce” and learned to make it… which he then judged in this episode.

When the show aired, Twitter user @andyheriaud shared various clips key moments in the episode that people took issue with, especially where puns and other moments deemed problematic aired between mispronunciations of Spanish terms that the presenters couldn’t blame on accents British.

Stereotypes, both visual and verbal, were sprinkled throughout the episode like sugar should have been sprinkled in a flan mexicano or the presenters pastel del elote didn’t make the bakers this week, for a any reason.

“Attention USA fans #GreatBritishBakeOff: Mexican week is really SO bad,” @andyheriaud announced on Twitter, showing a clip of Leith and Hollywood discussing the taco’s technical challenge for the week, mispronouncing the pico de gallo and more.

Among the clips is host Noel Fielding pronounce “besos” as “Bezos” (as in Jeff’s last name), a contestant call guacamole “glocky-molo” and Leith saying “mexican look” pastriesbecause “they have a lot of bright colors”.

Additionally, some people took issue with a contestant’s “party cake”, which featured a large black mustache and the use of sombreros, ponchos, and maracas throughout the competition.

A Facebook and Twitter post from “Bake Off” outlining the cold-open features of the episode, with hosts Fielding and Matt Lucas turning a Spanish name into a pun with the caption, “The juan and only Matt & Noel wish you welcome to Mexico Week!”

Reviewers seeing this cavalcade of cringe took to the comments section on the internet to share their distaste for what was on the menu.

“Now who the hell thought of spending a Mexican week on great British food omfg?” said a user on Twitter.

“Sombrero? Oh good? You had a chance to explore great Mexican baked goods instead, took stereotypes and made tacos,” one Instagram commenter said. “In 2022. It really shouldn’t be that hard to do better.”

“Honestly the most British thing the Great British Bake Off has done is butcher things from other cultures for their own enjoyment,” tweeted another person.

“Some of the jokes were borderline offensive this week, which normally isn’t the case,” one reviewer posted on Facebook. “Paul was also very quick to correct people on things that weren’t specific to their cooking.”

“Have you considered not having a racism themed week,” another added. Twitter user.

“’Is Mexico a real place?’ is a joke The Great British Bake Off thought was cute during “Mexican Week”” tweeted yet another person.

“Coming from a Mexican, it was a very offensive episode. All the jokes and stereotypes,” wrote another person on Twitter. “You didn’t make any jokes or stereotypes for other past episodes where you asked the bakers to bake foreign pastries.”

Unfortunately, that last sentence is slightly incorrect, because “Bake Off” aired another episode that got quite a bit of backlash: Japanese Week. Critics of the season 11 episode took offense that even though the theme was supposedly Japanese food-focused, the contestants used foods from other Asian countries interchangeably in a way that many reviewers found offensive.

Additionally, “Bake Off” viewers in the past have taken issue with the Jewish recipes contestants have been instructed to make on the program with debates over chocolate babka, calling challah “braided bread” and failing to mention that bagels are of Jewish origin.

TODAY Food has reached out to Netflix and Channel 4 – both of which air ‘Bake Off’ – for comment, but has not heard back as of this writing.

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