Everyone’s favorite baking show is feeling the heat after an ill-advised “Mexican Week” episode that insensitively portrayed Mexican culture. The Great British Bake Off is a comfort show for many because of its quaint, feel-good nature. For 13 seasons, there have been more wins than losses for viewers of the baking competition, but the Oct. 7 episode took a huge L. Even before the actual airing of the episode, promos featuring hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas wearing sombreros and serapes tipped viewers off that the episode would probably be offensive — and it was. Once the episode aired, social media exploded with memes dragging The Great British Bake Off’s “Mexican “Week” as cringey, offensive, and almost unwatchable. Elite Daily reached out to representatives for GBBO for comment on the backlash, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The unusual episode tasked British bakers with cooking a few Mexican dishes. Throughout the show, hosts Fielding and Lucas make jokes in poor taste. “I don't feel like we should make Mexican jokes because people will get upset," Fielding said, though nothing in his tone suggested the conversation was serious. Lucas’ response was not well-received: “What, not even Juan?”
The bad joke set the show up to fail, and it did just that. The contestants were challenged to make tacos... on a baking show. Making tacos also gave the hosts and contestants the opportunity to mispronounce everything, like “glakeemolo” (guacamole) and “pico de callow” (pico de gallo). The episode was just as offensive as it was cringe, and the internet had a lot to say about it.
The controversial episode also rubbed many food professionals the wrong way. In interviews with CNN, cookbook author Lesley Tellez decried that the portrayal reduced Mexican food to a “two dimensional cuisine,” and chef Alejandra Ramos pointed out that the episode was a clear example of the lack of diversity on set. “This would have been a perfect moment to bring in a Mexican guest judge,” Ramos said. “There should have also been consultants with actual Mexican cultural and food background.”
As noted by several fans on Twitter, Mexico has a wealth of baked goods that could have been featured on the show, but those went entirely overlooked. There has yet to be an official response from the Great British Bake Off team, but fans have been putting the heat on them since the episode aired, calling for meaningful change in how the show portrays different cultures. Even if the jokes were made in jest, they feed into harmful stereotypes about minorities.
Hopefully, the fan backlack will be loud enough to warrant an apology and a reflection on how the series can celebrate other cuisines without resorting to stereotypes in the future.