‘The Great British Baking Show’ 2021: Are the right people coming home this season?
There is one thing that I have always hated The Great British Pastry Fair and is that the judges have to send one of my sweet baker buddies home every week. I understand that’s how a contest works, but it’s always cruel for a show otherwise known for their cuteness. And so, week after week, lovely human beings (on whom I have projected intense imaginary friendships) leave the tent and return to their perfectly quirky British lives. It sucks! I hate that! But these are the rules of The great British pastry fair.
The only thing worse than saying goodbye to bakers on The Great British Pastry Fair says goodbye when it’s clear the baker deserved more time in the tent. In the past, judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith have done their fair share of controversial choices: justice for Hermine! – but so far they’ve made the right choices this season. Instead of penalizing a baker for a bizarre mistake, the judges seem to be deliberately eliminating the contestants who struggled for all three challenges. They value flavor over design, champion consistency, and give most would-be bakers a (short) grace period to put their deeds away. Overall I think so far good bakers are coming home The Great British Pastry Fair, and it’s a relief for me Pastry shop loving heart.
Only two new episodes of The Great British Pastry Fair have stumbled across Netflix so far this year and I’m already madly in love with this season of the show. There is a sweet rivalry between two immigrant dads in the tent – double star Baker Jürgen and Italian stallion Giuseppe – as well as a vegan rider, superb Showtoppers and a host of fabulous accents. The competition is tough this year and it makes perfect sense that poor Tom and dear Jairzeno were the first two to go. They were both consistently shaky in their signings, poor in technique, and flopped during their Showstopper. What interests me, however, is how their eliminations highlight what Paul and Prue are looking for this season: great flavor, great imagination and respect for the rules.
If last week’s episode of The Great British Pastry Fair promised tough competition for Star Baker, this week showed us a number of stumbling bakers. Jairzeno failed to impress with his barely prepared Ginger Snaps and disappointed Prue with his gingerbread “barge”. However, Maggie also struggled with her execution as Amanda’s sugar cookie horse collapsed. Elsewhere, Lizzie drew cheeky comments from Paul for her “paint the van yourself” concept. And yet it was obvious for me that Jairzeno would go home. Why? He failed to inspire the judges with his flavors or concepts of them weeks in a row. Plus, as other bakers added engines or playable parts to their Showstoppers – something that was in the brief – Jairzeno failed to make his boat anything more than a square full of cookies.
So, yeah, I think Jairzeno was the right one to come home. Amanda tried something really hard and managed to make it taste great. Maggie was on the edge, but she impressed last week. Lizzie has to stop looking Harry potter in the training tent. But Jairzeno had not yet managed to catch up. So it made sense that the show saw him go. I’m sad to see this charming, laid back man leave who enjoys jogging with his dog, but it was his time.
Going back, though, it’s worth noting that so far neither the signing nor the technical challenges have weighed too heavily on the judges’ decision. On the contrary, trying to keep up with the Showstopper briefing seems like the most important thing for Paul and Prue this season. Emphasize the word “attempt”. Last week Tom misinterpreted the “gravity defying” part of his cake and just gave the judges a slightly slanted level. He was out. This week Amanda may have experienced a disaster, but her idea of a rocking horse was obvious. Jairzeno’s concept, on the other hand, was extremely confusing.
So if we’re looking for more clues in the coming weeks as to who will enter and who will be at risk of being kicked out of the Bake Off bubble, check out the Showstopper Challenge. See whose flavors are disappointing, the ideas lack dazzling and, most importantly, don’t follow the brief.
To concern The Great British Pastry Fair on Netflix