A current 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 fact 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 individuals 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 embody 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 mistaken means.
Lesley Tellez, a meals journalist and creator of the cookbook “Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico Metropolis’s Streets, Markets and Fondas,” mentioned that whereas she hadn’t seen the total episode, she discovered the snippets that have been circulating on social media unimaginative.
Regardless of its variety, Mexican delicacies will get overshadowed within the culinary world by European cuisines, she added, and the present’s remedy of it perpetuates misconceptions.
“I believe they need to have been much more considerate about it,” Tellez instructed CNN. “It reduces Mexican meals to stereotypes – to being this two-dimensional delicacies.”
Although it will have veered from the present’s typical format, Tellez mentioned she would have preferred to see “The Nice British Bake Off” usher in 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 variety behind and in entrance of the digicam.
“This is able to have been an ideal second to herald a Mexican visitor decide or host to guide the discussions on digicam and to information the contestants,” she wrote in an e 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.”
Ramos additionally questioned why a baking competitors would problem contestants to make tacos – some extent viewers of the show have additionally referred to as out on social media.
“Mexico has unimaginable pastries, desserts, breads, and even baked savory dishes that they may have made as an alternative,” she mentioned. “However that will 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.
Because the first episode aired in 2010, “The Nice British Bake Off” – which streams stateside as “The Nice British Baking Present” – has change into 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.
Throughout a “Japanese Week” episode in 2020, some contestants devised concoctions that as an alternative 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.”
“Anybody who’s watched GBBO additionally is aware of how prickly the judges get once they suppose one thing has an excessive amount of spice, how simply they exoticize non-British meals, and the way the usual marker of 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 yr, Rav Bansal referred to as for brand spanking new hosts and judges who have been higher versed in non-English components and recipes, and who might higher replicate the present’s numerous forged of contestants. Ali Imdad expressed shock that manufacturing employees had allowed sure missteps to happen. Ruby Tandoh referred to the present as a “unusual automobile 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.”