What Are You Watching? ‘The Great British Bake Off’


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

There is only one thing I don’t like about “The Great British Bake Off,” which streams on Netflix. When I watch it, I get cravings, and it’s impossible for me to make it through an episode without snacking.

And I never have anything quite as good as what’s being created on the telly. (That’s what they call it across the pond.)

I love to cook, as many of you readers already know from my occasional writing at the back of this section. I like to watch shows about cooking. And I like competition. But in recent years, the competitive cooking shows on the Food Network, it seems, have all gone mean. Apparently that sells with some folks, but for me, I don’t want to see someone insulted or humiliated for their kitchen mistakes.

That doesn’t happen on “The Great British Bake Off.”

The show is a competition, but by the end the competitors become like family. On a recent episode, several of the contestants rallied to help their opponent as she struggled to get her piece done in the allotted time. Who does that? And the show’s judges, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, obviously know what they’re talking about, but when they don’t like something, they don’t go all Gordon Ramsay on the contestant. You might see someone cry, but it’s because they’re sad about leaving their new collection of friends.

I guess it’s true that everything sounds better with a British accent, including that your crust is “underbaked” or that your “sponge is a bit rubbery,” as Paul has often told contestants.

We’re watching the 10th collection of shows, and just like every other collection before it, my wife and I have favorites. I actually find myself getting a little emotional at the end of a show when they tell one of the bakers he or she is going home. And we have a little fun trying to figure out whom Paul and Prue will pick as star bakers. 

The show is getting some deserved backlash for “Mexican Week,” which was racially insensitive. Hopefully they’ll learn from the mistake.

This season is winding down, and my money is on Syabira to win it all. Sandro or Janusz could also make a run. It will be fun to watch.