Great British Baking Show - Can we discuss Mexican' week?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
Staff member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
4,306
Location
Pacific NW
I am the only person who was stunned to see Mexican culture and cuisine butchered in last weeks episode?
The 3 challenges were: pan dulce, steak tacos and a multi-layer tres leches cake.
I hardly know where to start...

Pan dulce: Contestants did pretty well in the limited time available but judges consistently called the results dry. In it's native form pan dulce is IS dry! It's dry for good reason; it stays fresher in humid climates.

Tacos: I don't know where to start. They were to make tacos with refries (in the taco) pico de gallo (which they mispronounced - over and over), guacamole and sliced, cooked steak. They had to make all from scratch including the tortilla.
  1. Making a tortilla is not baking
  2. Refried beans are rarely in tacos but instead are a side dish. They started with canned whole beans... disaster.
  3. They were instructed to use pie plates to form tortillas - no press provided
  4. Tacos were overloaded
Tres leches cake - 3 layers.
  1. Tres Leches is almost always a single layer cake soaked after baking in dairy and refrigerated.
  2. It's a sloppy mess. No Mexican baker would willingly stack this cake - It can't hold it's form and milk oozes out. When you see these in Mexican bakeries they are usually sitting in a pool of milk, yet judges harshly judged any leakage.
Am I the only one who watched? I was embarrassed for the judges and felt entirely sorry for the bakers...
 
Last edited:

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,097
Location
Southeastern Virginia
I just started watching the new season and haven't seen that episode yet. I'll skip #3 and watch it tomorrow. I've heard a lot about it already, but I won't say more until I've seen it.
 

JohnDB

Cook
Joined
Oct 12, 2022
Messages
76
Location
Nashville tn
I am the only person who was stunned to see Mexican culture and cuisine butchered in last weeks episode?
The 3 challenges were: pan dulce, steak tacos and a multi-layer tres leches cake.
I hardly know where to start...

Pan dulce: Contestants did pretty well in the limited time available but judges consistently called the results dry. In it's native form is IS dry! It's dry for good reason; it stays fresher in humid climates.

Tacos: I don't know where to start. They were to make tacos with refries (in the taco) pico de gallo (which they mispronounced - over and over), guacamole and sliced cooked steak. They had to make all from scratch including the tortilla.
  1. Making a tortilla is not baking
  2. Refried beans are rarely in tacos but instead are a side dish. They started with canned whole beans... disaster.
  3. They were instructed to use pie plates to form tortillas - no press provided
  4. Tacos were overloaded
Tres leches cake - 3 layers.
  1. Tres Leches is almost always a single layer cake soaked after baking in dairy and refrigerated.
  2. It's a sloppy mess. No Mexican baker would willingly stack this cake - It can't hold it's form and milk oozes out. When you see these in Mexican bakeries they are usually sitting in a pool of milk, yet judges harshly judged any leakage.
Am I the only one who watched? I was embarrassed for the judges and felt entirely sorry for the bakers...
North and Central American ingredients are often not the same as European ingredients and perform very differently.

Add to this that this is a show and the contestants are trying to "wow" the judges with their "nouveau" take on classic dishes and often it's a recipe for disastrous results.

No one does cultural food the same in another country as if you were in that country. They did British versions of Mexican Cuisine...just like American Chinese food is nothing like you experience in China. Pizza is an American food but claims to be Italian...yeah whatever! The worst to date in my experience was Honduran Pizza. The Brazilian pizza was unique but still not the worst.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
What started out as a great show about baking, has slowly turned into a show about creating "constructions". Whether constructing new versions of traditional recipes, or actual edifices that barely look edible. In the quest for something "new", this is what we are left with. It's a shame.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,974
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Katy, I agree with you sooo much! I've pretty much stopped watching cooking shows, especially baking. I bake when I want some sort of treat. Not to be criticized for using a square pan instead of rectangular. Taste is a singular thing and not everyone is going to have the same choices. Baking is YOUR choice, not theirs... end of rant.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,097
Location
Southeastern Virginia
Katy, I agree with you sooo much! I've pretty much stopped watching cooking shows, especially baking. I bake when I want some sort of treat. Not to be criticized for using a square pan instead of rectangular. Taste is a singular thing and not everyone is going to have the same choices. Baking is YOUR choice, not theirs... end of rant.
Well, it is a competition TV show, after all. It's not designed to reflect real life or teach baking skills. It's entertainment, but it's not for everyone, obviously.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
Yes GG, but it is still supposed to be about baking. And that aspect seems to be reducing each season. More often than not now, they are being judged on their cooking and construction skills - not on their baking skills.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,097
Location
Southeastern Virginia
Yes GG, but it is still supposed to be about baking. And that aspect seems to be reducing each season. More often than not now, they are being judged on their cooking and construction skills - not on their baking skills.
Yes, the showstoppers have become more and more elaborate. Maybe with the backlash from this episode, they'll realize they're going too far and move back towards the fundamentals of baking.

I still haven't seen this episode yet (DH wants to watch it with me), but I'm not surprised that a group of British people isn't familiar with Mexican cuisine. They could have tried harder on the pronunciation, though - don't British people like to take holidays in Spain?

Also, I think making tortillas on a comal, or modern equivalent, is considered to be baking. Breads from lots of countries are cooked using heated rocks and other hot, flat surfaces. It's the original flatbread baking technique from prehistoric times.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
Spanish cuisine and Mexican may have some parallels, but really they are quite different. I am definitely no expert in this field, but apart from anything else, the most traditional recipes from each country will have been based on locally available produce "back in the day".

As for the contestants this year (and most years), they are a very diverse group culturally - but not one is from anywhere near Mexico for sure! But it goes back to what I was saying - why would you have a "Mexican" theme in a baking show? It just smacks of desperation to keep the show going. Personally, I would be happy if they repeated proper baking challenges. Seeing amateur bakers growing in confidence on the screen and seeing their baking improving as they get used to the pressure and the "tent" and ovens is what makes it interesting for me.
 

JohnDB

Cook
Joined
Oct 12, 2022
Messages
76
Location
Nashville tn
I'm watching this season now and by comparison with other seasons this season's contestants are not as talented as other seasons.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
I don't really know if they are talented or not - I just think they are getting so hung up on the ridiculous showstoppers and daft themes that it is difficult to tell.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,097
Location
Southeastern Virginia
Spanish cuisine and Mexican may have some parallels, but really they are quite different. I am definitely no expert in this field, but apart from anything else, the most traditional recipes from each country will have been based on locally available produce "back in the day".
I was only referring to the pronunciation of the words, like tortilla, not the cuisine.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
Apologies GG. I misinterpreted! Very much my mistake. Please forgive me.

However, you said that "British people" should know how to pronounce Mexican names because they "like to go to Spain". Which was an interesting comment. I am a Brit and I have never been to mainland Spain. I have never been to Mexico either. Should I know how to pronounce things from either country?

As it happens, several of the people on this year's episode are not born in the UK but are now resident here and they may pronounce things differently to the way they would be pronounced in Mexico. (Or indeed the US.)

It's a baking show. How people speak shouldn't be the issue. Only how they bake.
 
Last edited:

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,097
Location
Southeastern Virginia
Apologies GG. I misinterpreted! Very much my mistake. Please forgive me.
Of course! Not a problem at all.
However, you said that "British people" should know how to pronounce Mexican names because they "like to go to Spain". Which was an interesting comment. I am a Brit and I have never been to mainland Spain. I have never been to Mexico either. Should I know how to pronounce things from either country?
It was a generalization that won't apply to everyone. I thought Spain was a popular vacation destination for British people; it's entirely possible that I'm wrong about that :)
As it happens, several of the people on this year's episode are not born in the UK but are now resident here and they may pronounce things differently to the way they would be pronounced in Mexico. (Or indeed the US.)

It's a baking show. How people speak shouldn't be the issue. Only how they bake.
I agree. I was responding to other people commenting in this thread about how people on the show pronounced some words.

I've read a lot of comments about the episode in other forums and it's interesting that most of the people complaining about it are white Americans offended on behalf of Mexicans. The Mexicans I've seen talk about it by and large think it's funny, aren't surprised or offended by the stereotypes and are glad their cuisine is getting some attention.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
GG - agreed on all counts.

I have just seen this week's episode and I won't spoil, but I am AGOG to hear what Americans and possibly Canadians (?) think about something!
 

obillo

Assistant Cook
Joined
Oct 2, 2022
Messages
42
Location
Manhattan
I am the only person who was stunned to see Mexican culture and cuisine butchered in last weeks episode?
The 3 challenges were: pan dulce, steak tacos and a multi-layer tres leches cake.
I hardly know where to start...

Pan dulce: Contestants did pretty well in the limited time available but judges consistently called the results dry. In it's native form pan dulce is IS dry! It's dry for good reason; it stays fresher in humid climates.

Tacos: I don't know where to start. They were to make tacos with refries (in the taco) pico de gallo (which they mispronounced - over and over), guacamole and sliced, cooked steak. They had to make all from scratch including the tortilla.
  1. Making a tortilla is not baking
  2. Refried beans are rarely in tacos but instead are a side dish. They started with canned whole beans... disaster.
  3. They were instructed to use pie plates to form tortillas - no press provided
  4. Tacos were overloaded
Tres leches cake - 3 layers.
  1. Tres Leches is almost always a single layer cake soaked after baking in dairy and refrigerated.
  2. It's a sloppy mess. No Mexican baker would willingly stack this cake - It can't hold it's form and milk oozes out. When you see these in Mexican bakeries they are usually sitting in a pool of milk, yet judges harshly judged any leakage.
Am I the only one who watched? I was embarrassed for the judges and felt entirely sorry for the bakers...
I'm not surprised at the butchery, though I didn't(and won't) see it. I stopped watching a season or two after Mary Berry left and the series went to Channel 4. It also began going downhill, with creepy, cringe-making co-hosts and lots of sleazy sex jokes and innuendos. As for the bakers, real skill was less important that personality appealing to young viewers and the likelihood of producing at least one on-air catastrophe for 'excitement.' Truth be told, this series came to its natural end long ago and is not kept alive by television's version of "heroic measures."
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom