A latest episode of “The Nice British Bake Off” is drawing criticism from some viewers for its depictions of Mexican tradition.
Within 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.
Within 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. Different 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 means.
Lesley Tellez, a meals journalist and writer of the cookbook “Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico Metropolis’s Streets, Markets and Fondas,” mentioned that whereas she hadn’t seen the complete episode, she discovered the snippets that have been circulating on social media unimaginative.
Regardless of 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 believe they need to have been much more considerate about it,” Tellez informed CNN. “It reduces Mexican meals to stereotypes – to being this two-dimensional delicacies.”
Although it could have veered from the present’s typical format, Tellez mentioned she would have preferred to see “The Nice British Bake Off” herald a Mexican chef as a visitor, versus having two White, British judges function authorities.
Alejandra Ramos, host of “The Nice American Recipe” on PBS and a chef of Puerto Rican descent, mentioned the episode mirrored a scarcity of range behind and in entrance of the digital camera.
“This may have been an ideal second to usher in a Mexican visitor decide or host to guide the discussions on digital camera and to information the contestants,” she wrote in an electronic mail to CNN. “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 and marketing.”
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, muffins, breads, and even baked savory dishes that they might have made as a substitute,” she mentioned. “However that might have referred to as for extra precise data about Mexican tradition and delicacies which is clearly missing right here.”
CNN has reached out to “The Nice British Bake Off” for remark.
Throughout a “Japanese Week” episode in 2020, some contestants devised concoctions that as a substitute relied on Chinese language and Indian flavors, which some critics mentioned amounted to conflating distinct Asian cuisines. That very same episode noticed Lucas consult with katsu curry as “cat poo curry.”
For the reason that first episode aired in 2010, “The Nice British Bake Off” – which streams stateside as “The Nice British Baking Present” – has grow to be a cultural phenomenon, soothing viewers with its spirit of camaraderie and providing them an escape. Nonetheless, it’s garnered complaints of cultural insensitivity earlier than.
In an interview with Insider final 12 months, Rav Bansal referred to as for brand new hosts and judges who have been higher versed in non-English substances 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 style, implicitly white Britishness.”
“Anybody 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 superb 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.