There is no shortage of cooking competitions on TV, but the Great British Baking Show takes the cake. Set in the English countryside, 12 amateur bakers compete for a fancy cake stand – no money, no special opportunity, but a glass cake stand with “Great British Baking Show” on it. Every week, the contestants compete in 3 competitions – the Signature Bake, the Technical and the Showstopper – until ultimately a winner is chosen.
The show is hosted by Mel and Sue, and judged by the fabulous and acclaimed Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Season 1 is available to binge-watch on Netflix, and Season 2 can be found here. Season 3 premieres Friday, July 1 at 9/8c.
1. Mel and Sue.
Mel and Sue act as cruise directors, moral support for the bakers and comic relief. In reality, most of what they do is make dirty jokes and eat. Look out T-Swift, Mel and Sue are the real #squadgoals.
2. Mary Berry is Gordon Ramsay in an adorable old lady body.
Mary Berry is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and has written over 75 cookbooks since 1970. She is a shark. Paul tries to be bad cop, but Mary Berry has that market cornered. If I were a contestant, I would be trembling and bowing down to Mary Berry’s taste buds when she was judging my bake.
3. The bakers are actually nice to each other.
Other than a possible sabotage scandal concerning Baked Alaska in Season 1, these bakers are the most endearing group of people. In a world where petty smack talk fills the interviews of reality TV, the Great British Baking Show is a refreshing change of pace.
4. The contestants don’t make you feel guilty about going to college instead of culinary school.
They are all amateurs who never went to cooking school and have families and completely unrelated professions. But damn – these people can cook. They give us everyday, microwave-using college chefs a glimmer of hope for the culinary dream in case that pre-med track doesn’t work out.
5. The setting is gorgeous.
I’m moving to Berkshire.
6. Those accents though.
As if they weren’t lovable enough already. Even if you’re not an accent-fanatic, you will be in love when they call their pastries “bakes,” and cracker-like cookies “biscuits.”
7. They show that baking is more than desserts
As many frustrated bakers have had to explain, baking is not just pastries. “Baker” is not synonymous with “pastry chef.” Since this is the Great British Baking Show, among the food made are biscuits (aka crackers – see #6), bread and savory pastries. And, boy, do those savory episodes make your mouth water just as much as cake week.
8. Paul is a silver fox.
Yeah, you eat that muffin, Paul. You eat it real slow.
9. It’s educational.
Do you know what the secret to a successful self-saucing pudding is? What about the differences between types of buttercream? There are many useful tips and tricks you can learn from watching the Great British Baking Show. After all, it is essential to know how to prevent a bake from having a “soggy bottom.”
10. Everything they bake is absolutely beautiful.
The Great British Baking Show goes beyond just delicious food its with incredibly high standards for decoration. Anyone who doubts that bakers are artists needs to watch this. Even when Norman was scolded for the simplicity of his biscuits, they were more chic and uniform than any home chef I know could do.
11. After you fall in love with the cast, you can buy their books.
Despite the fact that there is no concrete prize at the end of the show, many of the contestants go on to have successful careers in the culinary industry. Some open bakeries, others write cookbooks that are even more adorable than they are. And, of course, Mary Berry and Paul have plenty of books to indulge in.