Post by Mark T. Locker.
We have a great deal of cooking competitions here in the United States, full of weird editing to make the judges look super mad and the contestants look super dopey. Lots of drama; the more, the better. Catty female cooks and cocky male ones. Most of those shows are just too much for me. I like “Chopped” and the ones where they make awesome giant jack-o’-lanterns. But you know what I like even better? “The Great British Bake-Off”. The title pretty much says it all. It’s British! It’s all about baking!
Twelve amateur bakers face off in three daily challenges: first round is the signature challenge, in which the contestants bake a tried and true recipe they make regularly. Next is the technical challenge, wherein they are given a recipe with only general directions and must rely on savvy and know-how to succeed. Third is the show-stopper. Given a general theme, they are to make something that not only tastes great but looks amazing.
The contestants are a wide range, from an older Scottish Navy man to an adorable girl of seventeen named Martha, who always has a smile on her face. It’s fascinating from a cultural perspective as well, with Bakewell tarts and savoury biscuits and all manner of supremely British concoctions. The hosts are charming and funny and the two judges, who are top-tier bakers in their own rights (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood) are honest but kind.
PBS is currently airing season five and it’s quickly become my favorite show to watch to unwind at the end of the evening. If you love baking, or competition, or are and Anglophile, definitely give this show a watch.