Great British Baking Show season 13 episode 4: A catastrophe

Group Photo of Bakers Outside (L to R (back) James, Abdul, Janusz, Carole, Kevin, William, Dawn (front) Maisam, Rebs, Sandro, Maxy, Syabira)
Group Photo of Bakers Outside (L to R (back) James, Abdul, Janusz, Carole, Kevin, William, Dawn (front) Maisam, Rebs, Sandro, Maxy, Syabira) /

Great British Baking Show was back for episode 4 and it was Mexican Week. Sigh. If you remember Japan Week, then yes, this was as bad as you think it was.

The hosts told insensitive and awful jokes, the bakers had no idea what they were doing, there were a bunch of stereotypes in both the food and how it was talked about, and the judges were not qualified to judge the food. It was quite the disaster.

Let’s start at the beginning. For the Signature Challenge, the bakers were tasked with making pan dulce. No one on the show seemed to know what it really was. And with the amount of variety that they could have made, most of the bakers made conchas. On top of that, the final results were not all that great. They were dry, messy, lacking flavor, or underproved.

On to the Technical Challenge. For some reason, Paul Hollywood decided the bakers should make tacos. It’s not exactly baking and it was made even worse by the fact that it was clear most of the bakers had never had or perhaps even seen a taco. It was, at the very least, quite cringeworthy. But there was someone who did better than others and that was Maxy.

This week’s Great British Baking Show was quite a disaster

Finally, the Showstopper Challenge. When it was announced they were going to be making tres leches cake, I became very worried. The episode was already bad enough and now they were making one of my favorite cakes of all time. While the cakes weren’t bad, some of the decorations were. Putting a big mustache on your cake…saying it played into stereotypes would be an understatement

Luckily, the judges picked one of the least problematic cakes to win this week and it was once again Maxy who got Star Baker. She made a chocolate tres leches cake and filled it with strawberries and cream. She then decorated it with colorful flowers.

As for who went home, the judges decided this was the week for two people to go home and it turned out to be Rebs and James.

Beyond the bakes and Noel and Matt’s awful jokes, the judges’ ability to judge this week’s bakes was also highly questionable. Paul and Prue have shied away from spicy flavors in the past so it’s very difficult to know whether the desserts they tried that were “too much” were actually that way or it was just their very British palettes.

Additionally, the fact that we were supposed to think of Paul Hollywood as an expert on Mexican baking just because he was just in Mexico was laughable. As Leslie Tellez, a food journalist and writer of Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets and Fondas, told CNN, the episode could have worked if they had brought in a Mexican chef as a guest judge or even had guest mentors to help the bakers.

The show’s lack of diversity in its hosts and in its judges is never more clear than when they make the misguided decision to have an international week. The show could do better but as it’s clear they learned nothing from “Japan Week,” it doesn’t look like they want to.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode of the Great British Baking Show? Let us know in the comments below!

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