Taking Our Hats Off To The Great British Bake-Off!
As the ratings from the best amateur cooking show in years continue to rise, its competition lies buried under a casing of Gateau St Honore and Lemon Rhubarb tartlets – Welcome to The Great British Bake-Off. BBC2’s Bafta-winning cooking show has become the most sought-after television baking experience, and with more than 4.5 million budding enthusiasts tuning in to see which of the latest kitchen recipes hit the fan, The Great British Bake-Off has become an essential viewing experience for would-be chefs.
From men looking to bake all the breads in the world, to women with children and full time jobs, the nation has been amazed at the amateur talent thrust onto our television screens. This year’s contestants have been pulling out all the stops to make sure their tarts, puddings, bagels and cakes are the best the judges have ever seen, but like every amateur cooking show on the market, the list of participants is getting smaller by the week.
Two years after its pilot season, and The Great British Bake-Off has reached its pinnacle in popularity. From the street parties celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the Olympic-themed sponge sold by supermarkets all over the country, this wonderful show has inspired adults and youngsters alike to turn on their ovens, get out their baking trays and start experimenting. There are already plans in the works for two spin-off shows once this season’s Great British Bake-Off champion has been knighted, including comedian Comic Relief and Christmas specials. However with weeks of scrumptious challenges yet to come, viewers have been flocking to online forums to give support and backing to their favourite part-time baker.
According to BBC2’s Controller Janice Hadlow, The Great British Bake-Off has become so popular due to the appeal of casual cooking. Previously, baking has only been celebrated by professionals looking to teach their audience, and viewers have been given the complete and perfect process on how to make their favourite cakes and bread. However the bake-off has allowed viewers to watch participants go through the same ups and downs and trials and tribulations that they go though in their own kitchen – it’s audience participation at its best. The show has proven to viewers that even the busiest of part-time bakers can make a success from their wildest recipe creations.
Furthermore, Janice Hadlow also believes that the show’s appeal to the nation reflects the current austerity, and people are resorting to less expensive and more homely hobbies. Many people are intimidated by cooking, especially when it’s a well-known celebrity chef like Jamie Oliver who manages to produce amazing, effortless meals in less than 30 minutes. The Great British Bake-Off allows viewers to learn from the experiences of the contestants.
The best part is, the show’s expert judges don’t hold back on their criticism when it comes to tasting the end product – if it’s not up to scratch, the contestants better be ready for a tirade of verbal scrutiny. Furthermore, contestants whose food stands the test of time are judged throughout the course of the series. Cooking is a progressive process, and we all know that sometimes you get it right, and other times you get it wrong. The show has applied this reasoning to the judging process, and the part-time bakers are assessed on their cooking abilities across a whole range of styles and techniques, and not just their end product.
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