I normally don’t consider myself a cooking show person. Nor do I really enjoy reality shows. So, imagine my surprise when I fell in love with the Great British Baking Show (titled the Great British Bake Off in the UK) and ended up binging an entire season in a single night.
Let me fill you in on a not-so-secret discovery: The Great British Baking Show is worth your time. Upon watching it, you’ll find the series deserving of your emotions—sincere love, as well as empathy, sadness, and hope—the whole gambit, wrapped up in a tidy and bright Netflix package.
If you live in the US, the series starts a bit abruptly. There’s no real introduction or explanation, because you are thrown in mid-series. They’d been making the show for years in the UK, and started the US showing somewhere in the middle, maybe 4 or 5 seasons in. Most watchers have known about the show and what its about for quite some time.
It doesn’t take long, however, to figure things out. There is a tent of bakers, all there competing for the title of “Best Amateur Baker.” They bake over the weekend, spending Saturday with a “signature” challenge and a “technical” challenge, then conclude on Sunday with a “showstopper” challenge.
For the signature and showstopper challenges, they prepare their own recipes within the challenge parameters, and they have the week prior to practice at home. For the technical, they are given a recipe at the time of the challenge, and expected to make it to perfection, usually with vague or unhelpful instructions and a tough time limit.
You’re there with the bakers through it all, cheering them on, lamenting with their stresses, and hoping they can pull off their amazing designs. They often shock and awe, impress, and bring out the food critic within us all.
The Great British Baking Show is wonderful, and I highly recommend watching. You’ll fall in love with everything about it: the tent, the contestants, the judges, and the hosts. The bakers grow each week, and you’ll find yourself invested in their success. It doesn’t take long to get attached, and feel overwhelmed whenever someone has to go home.
You’ll also notice a shift in regulars, when the GBBS changes networks, but fear not. Whether it’s Paul and Mary or Paul and Prue, you’ll appreciate the expert judging and their many years of experience. And whether it’s Mel and Sue or Noel and Sandy, you’ll giggle, swoon, and appreciate the pair that give the show an extra flair of flavor.
After watching all of the available episodes and mourning the loss of a current series, new episodes recently popped up on Netflix.
Chad and I were visiting some good friends in Denver when we got the alert. Apparently, Netflix released a single season to the US, from one of the earlier years. As soon as we arrived home, Chad and I turned on GBBS and settled into the show, feeling very much at home. The best part? The season was excellent and did not disappoint.
Grab a friend while you watch. Whether it’s a spouse, best friend, parent, sibling, or the only British person you know, grab them. Invite them over, settle into the couch, and watch together. This show—with all its endearing energy—is meant to be shared.
Now that’s a good bake.