‘British Bake Off’ episode is getting warmth for stereotyping Mexican tradition
USA Prime Time
A current episode of “The Great British Bake Off” is drawing criticism from some viewers for its depictions of Mexican tradition.
In the “Mexican Week” episode of the truth competitors sequence, which aired within the UK on Tuesday and was launched within the US on Friday, contestants are tasked with making pan dulce, tacos and tres leches cake – dishes that critics noticed as cliché and uninspired. The hosts, in the meantime, pepper in makes an attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor that not all viewers discovered humorous.
In the opening scene, hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas put on sombreros and serapes whereas quipping about whether or not folks would possibly discover such jokes offensive. At one other level, Fielding muses, “So, is Mexico an actual place?” whereas Lucas, in flip, likens the nation to Xanadu. Other scenes embrace Lucas shaking maracas and contestants butchering pronunciations for guacamole and pico de gallo.
The episode’s flippant tone and use of stereotypes rubbed many viewers the flawed approach.
Lesley Tellez, a meals journalist and writer of the cookbook “Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets and Fondas,” stated that whereas she hadn’t seen the complete episode, she discovered the snippets that have been circulating on social media unimaginative.
Despite its range, Mexican delicacies will get overshadowed within the culinary world by European cuisines, she added, and the present’s therapy of it perpetuates misconceptions.
“I feel they need to have been much more considerate about it,” Tellez instructed USA Prime Time. “It reduces Mexican meals to stereotypes – to being this two-dimensional delicacies.”
Though it might have veered from the present’s typical format, Tellez stated she would have favored to see “The Great British Bake Off” herald a Mexican chef as a visitor, versus having two White, British judges function authorities.
Alejandra Ramos, host of “The Great American Recipe” on PBS and a chef of Puerto Rican descent, stated the episode mirrored a scarcity of range behind and in entrance of the digital camera.
“This would have been an ideal second to herald a Mexican visitor choose or host to guide the discussions on digital camera and to information the contestants,” she wrote in an e mail to USA Prime Time. “There ought to have additionally been consultants with precise Mexican cultural and meals background and experience introduced in to seek the advice of on the story, scripting, meals styling and challenges – in addition to the post-production and advertising.”
Ramos additionally questioned why a baking competitors would problem contestants to make tacos – a degree viewers of the show have additionally referred to as out on social media.
“Mexico has unimaginable pastries, truffles, breads, and even baked savory dishes that they might have made as a substitute,” she stated. “But that will have referred to as for extra precise data about Mexican tradition and delicacies which is clearly missing right here.”
USA Prime Time has reached out to “The Great British Bake Off” for remark.
Since the primary episode aired in 2010, “The Great British Bake Off” – which streams stateside as “The Great British Baking Show” – has turn out to be a cultural phenomenon, soothing viewers with its spirit of camaraderie and providing them an escape. Still, it’s garnered complaints of cultural insensitivity earlier than.
During a “Japanese Week” episode in 2020, some contestants devised concoctions that as a substitute relied on Chinese and Indian flavors, which some critics stated amounted to conflating distinct Asian cuisines. That similar episode noticed Lucas check with katsu curry as “cat poo curry.”
“Anyone who’s watched GBBO additionally is aware of how prickly the judges get after they suppose one thing has an excessive amount of spice, how simply they exoticize non-British meals, and the way the usual marker of a very good baker is their potential to make a Victoria Sponge,” Jaya Saxena wrote in a 2020 article for Eater.
Former contestants have additionally spoken out on the present’s diversity issues.
In an interview with Insider final 12 months, Rav Bansal referred to as for brand spanking new hosts and judges who have been higher versed in non-English elements and recipes, and who may higher replicate the present’s various solid of contestants. Ali Imdad expressed shock that manufacturing workers had allowed sure missteps to happen. Ruby Tandoh referred to the present as a “unusual car for change,” writing in an essay for the meals publication Heated that it had launched the careers of a number of Black and brown cooks whereas being “steeped within the symbolism of an old school, implicitly white Britishness.”
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