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"Great British Bake Off" Did A "Mexican Week" Episode, And Fans Are Frustrated With How It Was Handled

The episode seemingly boiled Mexican culture down to sombreros, maracas, tacos, and "Juan" jokes.

Earlier this week, Prue Leith took to Twitter to announce that the Great British Bake Off's theme for their next episode would be "Mexican week." Yeah, yikes.

Join us for Mexican week on @BritishBakeOff at 8pm on @Channel4 #GBBO

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @PrueLeith

As a Latine person whose spent a lot of time binge-watching Bake Off as my emotional support pandemic show, I was more than a little disappointed by the choice. Not because I don't think it's possible to do an episode like this with appreciation and respect to the culture, but because I was fairly certain that wasn't the direction this would be going. Remember "Japanese week"???

Me: Remember that time #GBBO did "Japanese week" and people did minimal/no cultural or historical research and made cheeseburger and panda bao, there was not an adzuki bean/taiyaki in sight, and someone made a geisha cake? I wonder if they've learned anything from that 🤔 GBBO:

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @drjclau

The episode isn't available to watch in the US on Netflix just yet, but I was really hoping to give them the benefit of the doubt here. Then, I saw the cold open that the show's official Twitter account posted. Yeah, it's not looking good, folks.

The juan and only Matt & Noel welcome you to Mexico Week! 🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽 #GBBO

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @BritishBakeOff

Clips from the episode itself made their way online, and the stereotypes and racist humor don't stop there. It's more than a little disappointing to see a week that's supposed to be appreciating Mexican culture boiled down to maracas, sombreros, and "Juan" jokes.

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @andyheriaud

Another clip from the episode revealed that the episode's technical challenge was tacos. Once again...why???

Attention USA #GreatBritishBakeOff fans: Mexican week really is THAT bad

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @andyheriaud

I have a lot of questions about the choices they made here. There are tons of delicious Mexican baked treats they could've included on their baking show! Like, panaderias full of them! Why are they making tacos? And why is Paul Hollywood talking about tacos like he's an expert when that is, at best, an unseasoned taco you'd see on the menu at a bougie place in the city for like $10??

What they think is a taco

"Why would you put sweetcorn in a cake?" WHY WOULD YOU PUT TACOS IN A BAKING SHOW?! #GBBO

Twitter: @Nathan_Dru

It's not surprising to see that fans of the show aren't exactly happy with the episode. Many Latine folks took to Twitter to share their frustration with how the week was handled, as well as how Latin American culture is viewed:

Mexico Week on the Great British Bake-off is concretely reminding me of how flat and static white people view food from Latin American countries. Not only have they oversimplified Mexican food, but they’ve applied that revisionist view of it to all Latin American countries.

Twitter: @megataros

@BritishBakeOff Coming from a Mexican this was a very offensive episode. All the jokes and stereotypes. You guys haven’t done jokes or stereotypes for any other past episodes where you have had the bakers do foreign bakes.

Twitter: @KaibaLordYGO

I had a moment where I wanted to watch this episode just to see how bad it was. That moment has passed. I'm so incensed that they don't realize how vile and racist this crap is. #GBBO

Channel 4 / Via Twitter: @TVasquez

I wish they still did the wee educational sections in Bake Off, like they still do on Sewing Bee. I’d really like to learn more about Mexican baking - surely there’s more they could showcase here than chilli-chocolate and tacos? #GBBO

Twitter: @DrevieWonder

While I'll save the rest of my thoughts on the specifics of the episode until I've seen it tomorrow, I hope we — and the folks over at Bake Off — can take this as a learning opportunity. Slapping on some stereotypical Mexican things like sombreros and maracas and eating tacos doesn't mean representation or appreciation. You're telling me they can learn how to pronounce and make hundreds of French dishes, but not three Mexican ones? Really?

Bringing in a Latine chef or, frankly, making the effort to learn about the culture outside of racist stereotypes and butchering its food evidently would've made a world of difference. Perhaps the most frustrating part of this all is how little effort seemingly went into it. If you're self-aware enough to joke about how you probably shouldn't make a Mexican joke, don't! If you aren't willing to research and learn about Mexican culture enough to make an episode about it, don't do that either! Really, folks, it's not that hard.

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