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S01.E02: The Great Holiday Baking Show: Cake Week


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Did Johnny and Mary coordinate their pink outfits? I thought it was cute.

 

I can't figure out if the show is trying to make these bakers seem boring or if the bakers are not giving them any interesting background information to work with. Lauren's two favorite things at the holiday season are baking and hosting her family and friends? Wow, that's so insightful! And unique! Nicole is a teacher, mom, and Girl Scout leader. Ainslie runs. Again, please tell me something that's different so I can tell these people apart! We finally got one interesting tidbit about Tim working at an amusement park but they didn't actually say what he does there.

 

Lauren's chocolate yule log with hazelnut whipped cream and mocha icing. I can relate to her perfectionist attitude. Hers was the most traditional looking yule log (which is not a bad thing!). Loved the meringue mushrooms.

 

Nicole's pumpkin spice campfire yule log with coffee cream cheese filling was a great idea. I loved the toasted marshmallows and the leaves. I liked the fire in theory but it looked a little too fake compared to her other elements. The cream wasn't even inside, but I guess they were more focused on the pumpkin cake to mention that. I loved that step 12 on her list was "rock it out." But she always looks so panicked while she's baking which stresses me out.

 

Tim's almond yule log with rosemary cream looked nice. I liked the way he applied the chocolate shards to create bark. Dude, stop breaking your cream into butter! I can understand accidentally doing it once, but he did it last week and then he did it TWICE during his yule log. He still had 15 minutes left so I don't know why he didn't refrigerate his cream for a few minutes before spreading it on and rolling it up.

 

Ainslie's coffee and cream yule log was a very beachy looking version, which was a nice change. She got the only simultaneous mmmmmmm from Mary and Nia, so it must have tasted pretty good!

 

Eddie's German chocolate yule log with coconut pecan custard looked nice. I really liked the way he made textured the chocolate to look like bark. Bonus: it hid the cracks in his cake.

 

When Nicole said she didn't know what tiramisu is, I thought of Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks says, "What is tiramisu? Some woman is going to want me to do it to her and I'm not going to know what it is!" I love tiramisu, mostly because I could eat sweetened mascarpone with a spoon.

 

Tim finally managed to make a cream without breaking it but then he forgot to set the oven to the correct temperature. Get it together, man!

 

Eddie is on my shit list for saying eXpresso. It's espresso with an S, not an X. That's a pet peeve of mine so I always notice it.

 

Ainslie's cake looked creepy because her ladyfingers actually looked like fingers reaching up around the cake. Did she not have enough to put them closer together? But the cake layers were even and I liked the tree decoration on the top. Glad she got first!

 

Lauren's ladyfingers were so soft that Mary was able to bend them in half, but it looked like she was the only one who had them touching all the way around the outside of the cake so she gets points for that.

 

Nicole's ladyfingers were good (but like Ainslie, she spaced them too far apart), but her mascarpone was really runny and the top of her cake looked like a third grader did it.

 

Tim's ladyfingers were so terrible. They looked like shriveled old lady's fingers. But he had the best mascarpone so he finally broke his mini streak!

 

Eddie made a lot of mistakes with his - the cake was underbaked and it was so hot that the cream melted into the cake. Not surprised he was in last place in the technical challenge.

 

Since Johnny's family background is Italian and this was his recipe, I was surprised that he was so nice when judging the tiramisu cakes.

 

I loathe fruitcake so the show stopper had very little appeal for me. The only soaked fruit I want in a cake is strawberries soaked in balsamic. But I liked that they had to be tiered, which I find more visually interesting for a show stopper (eta: I rewatched and apparently tiers were not required!). And I loved that the Twelve Days of Christmas theme got the bakers to sing!

 

Lauren's three French hens cake with swiss meringue, prunes, and dried apricots was so cute. From the little striped shirts on her hens and the scroll work to the mini Eiffel Towers, she did a great job with presentation. And her frosting was so smooth!

 

Nicole's partridge in a spiced pear tree cake with raisins and pears was interesting in theory but I didn't like the rough frosting. I think that it would have looked better with smooth frosting. I liked the tree on top and the cookie cutter birds were nice (although I can see that in comparison, Lauren showed more skill by not using cookie cutters to decorate her cake - she just shouldn't have said it so loudly).

 

Tim's was bucking all the rules with his candied lemon peel, maraschino cherry, and walnut partridge in a pear tree. Instead of baking a round cake, he baked a sheet cake and then cut out circles for his tiers. Instead of mixing the fruit into the cake batter, he layered the fruit inside. I don't mind the naked cake look in theory because not every cake needs to be frosted within an inch of its life. It worked because the sides of the cake were clean and it allowed you to see the fruit.

 

Ainslie's five golden rings with coconut, pineapple, and pureed carrot was a mess. While I think she was smart to realize she was spending way too much time rolling all those little pearls, I don't know why she abandoned them completely. Why didn't she at least use the ones she already made? She could have just put them on the bottom layer!

 

Eddie's two turtle doves cake with raisins and cranberries was a bit plain looking. Ha, I loved when Ian said Mary was hammered because of all the rum. I also like that Johnny and Mary are not afraid to disagree with each other. I like bread pudding too, Johnny!

 

The first showstopper on the Great South African Bake Off was dismal. It was basically everyone making frosted cookies in the shapes of animals and standing them up on a board. I almost stopped watching the show because it was so bad.

 

 

 

I'm still trying to decipher what exactly that means because as it's written, it's not entirely factual. PBS has not aired four seasons of the GBBO. PBS first aired S5 (which was called S1 on PBS) earlier this year and then S4 (which was called S2). They will be airing S6 (which will be called S3) in early 2016. You can now watch S5 (US S1) on Netflix and Amazon, but not any of the other seasons yet. I think whoever wrote the article might not have had their facts straight.

Right now, my Comcast guide has an episode of The Great British Baking Show on 12/20 @ 7;00 on one of the local PBS stations (but not in HD). The description just says it's amatuer bakers, but doesn't say anything about which season it is, so I have no idea if this is just a repeat of what we've already seen, or something new.

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 Since I hated Mel & Sue the first season...

 

I know comedy is subjective but I still find it shocking that anyone could "hate" Mel & Sue. For me they are my favorite part of the show, the perfectly whipped cream on a tasty piece of pie. I would have loved to see them in this version.

 

Clearly, ABC opted for American semi-celebs that they figured would be more recognizable to us. Oh well, they are trying but fall a bit flat imo. Still, I am enjoying it. Even though it does lack the charm (i.e.: Mel & Sue and all those talented but humble British contestants) and some of the drama of the original.

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We've established that these aren't the most talented bakers, but was anyone else shocked that Tim somehow messed up whipped cream...three times??

 

Yeah, whipping cream is a fundamental technique and not a very hard one at all.  I suspect he's only ever used Cool Whip (one of the most evil products ever made) or RediWhip (am I the only person who finds the whole nozzle thing incredibly unhygenic?)

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I grew up in a Cool Whip and Redi Whip family simply because sometimes it is way too expensive oddly enough to get heavy cream in a large enough container and it also was 'redi' and my sisters loved Cool Whip for some reason.  I hate that stuff and always have.  Cream or oil indeed. But I refuse to eat Redi Whip now after being at a friend's house and pulling her can, bought just two days prior, only used once and no mouth gunning or anything just normal application.  Popped the top off and noticed there was small tiny but dark green mold inside the nozzle.  She said she tried rinising it after use and it only made it worse.  I was appalled.   She said she had told the store she got it afterward and they said that was simply the design and the clerk said most people don't notice because it is inside the nozzle mostly.

 

Mostly.  MOSTLY!  Yeah no Rediwhip for me.  I do keep plenty of cream in the house during the holidays so can whip some in a moment.  Otherwise that is why god invited good rich vanilla ice cream.

 

Tim seems like he knows what basic baking is.  I could see breaking it if you had tons of stuff going on but it looked like he actually was standing right there and watched it happen and then did all his ohnooossss. 

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Ugh I didn't know about the green mould thing.  My problem is the proximity of the fingers to the cream outlet in the nozzle;  I've yet to be able to not get my finger in the cream when pushing the nozzle the couple of times I've been forced to use Redi Whip (or have no cream at all --- probably a wiser decision in retrospect).  I might live with very close friend or family fingers, but knowing that stuff is used extensively in restaurants UGH....

Edited by DHDancer
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We've established that these aren't the most talented bakers, but was anyone else shocked that Tim somehow messed up whipped cream...three times??

Sort of? It struck me as maybe he had the yips. If he'd just done it once it could go either way. Twice I'd think he doesn't know what he's doing it. Three times it sort of turns back around into maybe something like once he made the mistake once he was so focused on not doing that again, even though he knew better, that he kept doing exactly that. In a sort of TV-timed-pressure-discombobulated way. And the main reason I'm giving that much benefit of the doubt is because, I forget which round now, but on one of his latter rounds they did say his cream was the best of the bunch. So even though he botched it repeatedly, he did serve a solid. I still don't know how he left it running long enough to actually be butter because that takes doing, but it did sort of seem like the multitasking with time limit was his main issue.
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I grew up in a pastry family.  My Dad was a pastry chef and we owned a bakery.  So I've heard of a lot of the terms and what not on the show.  I'm still surprised about the people on the show not knowing what a lady finger is.  My only guess is that maybe most of the people are of the brownies ilk rather than ambitious baking strain.  The British show seems to have so many flavors and great combinations. 

 

I remember when this show was on as The Great American Baking Show and Jeff Foxworthy hosted.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a full compliment of contestants and Jeff was so funny and kind to everyone.  Paul was there as well as what's her name from Food Network.  He promptly had an affair with her and the show seemed to not recover from it.  Now we have this watered down version with the really dull hosts.  (Sue and Mel are so much better). 

 

The contestants seem so average to me.  Maybe if there was a brownie or snickerdoodle competition every week then some may feel more in their element?  (This is assuming they don't stand around saying, "I've never had a snickerdoodle in my life" or "What's a Brau-knee?")

Edited by Biosynth
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I grew up in a pastry family.  My Dad was a pastry chef and we owned a bakery.  So I've heard of a lot of the terms and what not on the show.  I'm still surprised about the people on the show not knowing what a lady finger is.

Yeah that was so odd to me it felt like weird editing. I don't really think it was tricky editing, I just mean that's how jarring it was. I can totally buy folks never having made or not knowing how to make ladyfingers from scratch, not knowing what they are is a whole different bucket of "What! Seriously?"
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I can't help but wonder if a stateside version of this show would have been in better hands if PBS had produced it.

I'm sure people have also thought The Food Network might also do a better job too (although most of us probably know why that wouldn't be a good idea). The point is, I think, that it's probably actually a fairly costly show (not in an obvious way, but the outdoor kitchen probably costs a mint), and while that perhaps could be softened with sponsorship, that's something PBS won't do if there's any kind of quid pro quo required ad-wise.

Edited by Kromm
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I'm sure people have also thought The Food Network might also do a better job too (although most of us probably know why that wouldn't be a good idea). The point is, I think, that it's probably actually a fairly costly show (not in an obvious way, but the outdoor kitchen probably costs a mint), and while that perhaps could be softened with sponsorship, that's something PBS won't do if there's any kind of quid pro quo required ad-wise.

Food Network's already doing a kind of "copycat" show, usually around holiday periods. It's running right now, in fact, on Sunday nights; I think at 9PM Eastern.

They're calling theirs the Holiday Baking Championship. It's all-indoors, hosted by Bobby Deen--he's Paula Deen's youngest son; he helps run her original restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in Savannah, GA; he's also hosted/co-hosted various shows on FN & Cooking Channel--some with his older brother, Jamie Deen, & he's been on all-celebrity versions of various FN shows, playing for charity. The Judges are Judy Fuller, who hosts FN's Farmhouse Rules, Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes & Duff 'til Dawn, & a British lady I don't know much about, Lorraine Pascal. I think this is the 2nd year this version of the show's been on.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/holiday-baking-championship.html

Earlier this year, FN also did a Halloween Baking Championship, sort of spinoff show. That was hosted by Chef Richard Blais & judged by Ron Ben Israel from Sweet Genius, Carla Hall from The Chew, & Pastry Chef Sherry Yard.

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We've established that these aren't the most talented bakers, but was anyone else shocked that Tim somehow messed up whipped cream...three times??

We were so baffled, my husband wanted to go set up the Kitchen-aide and see if we could manage to do that. 

 

I am a horrible baker, and even I can whip cream. Because the kitchen-aid does it for you...

For the record; I know what a lady finger is, but have never had a snickerdoodle. Though I have seen them.

 

And I'm very glad this isn't on food network. I don't get food network.

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Food Network's already doing a kind of "copycat" show, usually around holiday periods. It's running right now, in fact, on Sunday nights; I think at 9PM Eastern.

The point was about a version of the actual Bake Off more than a theoretical copycat of this watered down "Holiday" spin-off though. FN didn't make that show with the intent of copying Bake Off, I think.  I think they did it as part of their overall plan of having a whole range of Holiday food competitions.

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Might Tim's problem have something to do with what the standard version of cream is in the UK vs. the US? I'm grasping at straws here... but I know we tend to get the super-pasturized cream in our US supermarkets, and maybe that's harder to over-whip than something less processed? I don't know....

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I'd seen Nia and Ian before but had no particular opinion of them. Now I dislike them both intensely. Maybe they should've split the Mel & Sue roles into an American and Briton like they did with the judges. Or possibly just chosen people who are genuinely and naturally funny and friendly.  Because those two are killing the show for me, even more than the hapless schmoe contestants.

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I didn't care for Mel & Sue originally when PBS aired the first season last winter, but now, 2 seasons later I love them. When the American Baking Competition aired on CBS, it seemed like Jeff Foxworthy, as the host, was pushing himself into the competition itself (the preparation, the baking, the judging), but now I get that he was "our" Mel & Sue. And he rocked it in a way that Nia and Ian do not.

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I doubt Nia and Ian's names were picked out of a hat though. At first I thought they might be co-Producers who brought the idea to ABC, but a search of the show and company credits doesn't support that.  My second guess is that they must be friends of someone and got the job through connections.

 

Foxworthy was never coming back though. They didn't want to connect this directly to the CBS attempt. But really there were so many other possibilities. I actually think Nigella Lawson would have been an unlikely but interesting choice. She likely would have physically already been in the UK when this was filmed.  She's very familiar with the American audience. And she has a pre-existing relationship with ABC. Perhaps she was unavailable shooting another show, 


To be clear, I'm saying Nigella as the host (even though I also suggested her as a possible Mary replacement for a US based recording of the show). 

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I don't know how the production actually differs from the British version, but here are my thoughts: 

  • Ambient temps in England are more suitable to quick baking than Ambient temps in California.  (Average temp in the summer in London: 65degrees.  In LA? 72degrees).  Considering the time needed to cool down cakes or confections to get them to set, this is a significant difference.  
  • Nia seems like she is trying way to hard to be friendly. 
  • The british show seems deliberately paced.  The bakers don't seem rushed.  In this one, the bakers always seem frenzied: as if in the British show they tape each episode over two days, where as in the american one, they tape each episode in one day. There's a 'chopped' rush to each challenge that does not make for pleasant viewing. 
  • In the british show, it seems like the bakers are provided recipes and the bakers can tweak them.  The bakers here seem to be riffing from memory.  It's not a good twist.  There's no need to have the recipe for a sponge cake memorized. Good Bakers reference recipe often.  

 

 

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I don't know how the production actually differs from the British version, but here are my thoughts: 

  • Ambient temps in England are more suitable to quick baking than Ambient temps in California.  (Average temp in the summer in London: 65degrees.  In LA? 72degrees).  Considering the time needed to cool down cakes or confections to get them to set, this is a significant difference.  

 

That might be more relevent if this had been recorded in California (instead of in the exact same place as UK Bake-Off).

Which in fact has had a DIFFERENT knock-on effect.  These people were in a hotel between tapings.  Which means they couldn't go home and practice (and likely the gap between each episode productionwise was zero days, rather than the actual days off the UK contestants certainly get).

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  • The british show seems deliberately paced.  The bakers don't seem rushed.  In this one, the bakers always seem frenzied: as if in the British show they tape each episode over two days, where as in the american one, they tape each episode in one day. There's a 'chopped' rush to each challenge that does not make for pleasant viewing. 
  • In the british show, it seems like the bakers are provided recipes and the bakers can tweak them.  The bakers here seem to be riffing from memory.  It's not a good twist.  There's no need to have the recipe for a sponge cake memorized. Good Bakers reference recipe often.  

Is there any evidence for either of these? Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but the US show seems to take the same two days (2 challenges the first day, one on the second) as in the UK one. We don't (as far as I've read) know how much time the US bakers get off between tapings, as compared to the 5 weekdays the UK bakers get. Maybe just a day? (Which at least is free of other obligations, so they can practice all day if they want.)

 

The second point doesn't fit with my impressions at all. As I understand it, the Signature and Showstopper challenges are known in advance, the bakers can practice them (using whatever recipe they choose -- they aren't provided with one by the show), and they can bring their practiced (and presumably perfected) recipes to the tent with them. That seems to be true of both versions.

 

I think it's just that these US bakers, for the most part, aren't all that good.

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Which in fact has had a DIFFERENT knock-on effect.  These people were in a hotel between tapings.  Which means they couldn't go home and practice (and likely the gap between each episode productionwise was zero days, rather than the actual days off the UK contestants certainly get).

 

 

I think that makes a HUGE difference. The UK crew have often spoken about how they spent time between tapings working on their showstoppers. They also returned to their real lives between episodes which has got to have an effect on their emotional and mental wellbeing. It's a lot easier to relax when you can go home and vent to your family and friends and spend a week rebounding from a bad critique.

 

I love the idea that the UK bakers were just doing this on the weekends. It felt more like they were doing it for the love of baking rather than a cut throat completion thing. It had more of that British village country fair feel to it. IDK, it was just charming as hell. This one lacks any charm at all. It's a typical American competition show. So sad. I'd rather have watched a holiday special of the original UK version.

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We don't (as far as I've read) know how much time the US bakers get off between tapings, as compared to the 5 weekdays the UK bakers get...

 

The second point doesn't fit with my impressions at all. As I understand it, the Signature and Showstopper challenges are known in advance, the bakers can practice them (using whatever recipe they choose -- they aren't provided with one by the show), and they can bring their practiced (and presumably perfected) recipes to the tent with them. That seems to be true of both versions.

 

I think it's just that these US bakers, for the most part, aren't all that good.

 

 You may be right - I think the pacing may be an issue for me because the bakers still seem wrapped up in whatever went wrong in the last episode.  So it just feels stressful.  I can't really pinpoint why, but the stress is what makes it awful in comparison. 

 

That might be more relevent if this had been recorded in California (instead of in the exact same place as UK Bake-Off).

Which in fact has had a DIFFERENT knock-on effect.  These people were in a hotel between tapings.  Which means they couldn't go home and practice (and likely the gap between each episode productionwise was zero days, rather than the actual days off the UK contestants certainly get).

Yes - I'm sure that's part of it.  Being a good baker definitely requires being comfortable with the ingredients and conditions.  The fact that these folks were all uprooted to a foreign country? With different butter, different cream, different humidity, etc.  It's clearly affecting the results. 

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I actually think Nigella Lawson would have been an unlikely but interesting choice.

 

I had a snarky comment planned on how Nigella would screw up the contestants chances with her bad advice, then really looked at the part where you said she'd be good as a HOST, not as a judge.  Her horrible advice to her team on 'The Taste' will be hard to live down.

 

Still, Nigella would be amusing as she had herself carried around the kitchen while she lounged on a couch, and gave advice to the bakers.  

 

"What, you're going to flavor that with vanilla?  You really should be thinking about chili powder.  And add squid ink, too.  Really, if you're going to make a cake, why bother with the ordinary?"

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Although Nia and Ian (is there any other married couple whose first names are anagrams of each other?) aren't working out well as hosts, I think it was an honest mistake; I too might have thought in advance that they seemed like a good idea. His acting career has been mostly in sitcoms (and I've often found him very funny on them); on her personal appearances on talk shows and game shows, I've found her to have an enjoyably snarky sense of humor and a feeling for a well-timed comedic dig. Add in the challenge of finding a team willing and available at short notice to spend a few weeks in the UK, and they probably seemed heaven-sent.

 

But in fact, they didn't work out well for the needs of this particular job. That's show biz.

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Although Nia and Ian (is there any other married couple whose first names are anagrams of each other?) aren't working out well as hosts, I think it was an honest mistake; I too might have thought in advance that they seemed like a good idea.

 

Apropos of nothing, NIa's husband in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was named Ian.

 

I don't really have a problem with them.  I don't have any strong feeling about Sue and the other one either.  The hosts are just a necessary evil and don't play much of a part in my mind.

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I never heard of Ian before because I never watched the shows he's done. I only know Nia from Big Fat Greek Wedding, and thought it was a good movie. So I had no real opinion when I heard they'd be hosting this show, other than "huh? Are either one of these people involved in or interested in baking?" But after watching GHBS, I have definitely formed an opinion. I do not like either one of them. He is not funny or witty. She is trying WAY too hard and comes off as very insincere. I am also vey distracted by her eyes. It is very shallow of me and people cannot change their facial features, but her eyes are just wonky. I can't decide what it is that's off... are they crossed? Too close together? Wall eyed?

As for the lack of talent, yeesh. Maybe the excuse was they needed bakers who could drop everything to travel to the UK, so the field of competent talent was narrowed. I hope if the producers plan to do another series of this show they can either skip the US contestant angle or film in the States and vet a better batch of bakers. You know, find people who can actually bake? Or decorate a cake that doesn't look like a class of preschoolers got a hold of a tub of Betty Crocker frosting? I think the 8-10 year olds on Master Chef Jr. & Chopped Jr. blow these yahoos out of the water.

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I never heard of Ian before because I never watched the shows he's done. I only know Nia from Big Fat Greek Wedding, and thought it was a good movie. So I had no real opinion when I heard they'd be hosting this show, other than "huh? Are either one of these people involved in or interested in baking?" But after watching GHBS, I have definitely formed an opinion. I do not like either one of them. He is not funny or witty. She is trying WAY too hard and comes off as very insincere. I am also vey distracted by her eyes. It is very shallow of me and people cannot change their facial features, but her eyes are just wonky. I can't decide what it is that's off... are they crossed? Too close together? Wall eyed?

As for the lack of talent, yeesh. Maybe the excuse was they needed bakers who could drop everything to travel to the UK, so the field of competent talent was narrowed. I hope if the producers plan to do another series of this show they can either skip the US contestant angle or film in the States and vet a better batch of bakers. You know, find people who can actually bake? Or decorate a cake that doesn't look like a class of preschoolers got a hold of a tub of Betty Crocker frosting? I think the 8-10 year olds on Master Chef Jr. & Chopped Jr. blow these yahoos out of the water.

The kids on Chopped Junior, at least (but probably also MasterChef Junior), are closer to their teens than the 8-10 years old you cited. I watched a repeat on FN a couple hours ago & at least 3, if not all 4, of the junior chefs were 12 years old.

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I actually just saw a few episodes of Chopped Jr with 9yo's and there have been 8yo's on every season of Master Chef Jr.

My point was really that there have been many other more talented amateur cooks and bakers on many other shows. The contestants on GHBS are in over their heads IMO. Even the worst bakers on the Great British Bakeoff were more talented the majority of the folks on this US version.

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I've never had a stand mixer (but wish I had room for one). I wonder if Tim just isn't used to being able to walk away and kept being distracted while his cream whipped.

My experience with stand mixers, which whip more intensely than hand mixers, is that they have to be watched closely once the cream starts to get whipped since they can turn it to butter pretty quickly. So maybe the problem was that he assumed he could walk away when he really should have been watching.

As someone else pointed out, it could have been thicker higher fat cream in the UK too.

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I think it was the mixer and the difference in UK cream but, geez, THREE times?  Slow learner.

 

I watched a rerun of the British show last night and it's embarrassing to compare the US bakers with them.  I'm not that much of a baker but I know I could do at least as well.  And learn from my "churning butter" mistakes.

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The contestants had to know they were going to be on this, so they should have taken a few minutes to watch GBBO episodes and find out about differences in ingredients. Watching just one episode would clue you in that flour and sugar have different names and different qualities. There's a whole translation thread in the GBBO forum because of that.

Edited by ABay
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I'm not so sure that the British bakers would do all that much better if you flew them to California, dumped them in a hotel, and gave them no chance to go home and decompress between episodes, much less their own kitchens to practice in--and that's not even considering jetlag, which is worse when traveling from west to east than the other way around.

Edited by rereader2
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The British equivalent of US whipping cream is "double cream". It is thicker and much more delicious. The closest I've found here (not that I've spent much time looking!) is the Trader Joe's cream in the milk churn-style bottle.

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Nia and Ian still grate on my nerves but happily I watch On Demand and fast forward after hearing them at the beginning.  They are just too forced.  I love Mary and think she makes Johnny a better host.  I like how Mary critiques and just her overall appearance on the show.  Lauren's decorating is far better than the other contestants but I guess the taste isn't on par.  I hope she wins because I think she's been the most consistent.  If there are more I hope it's with Mary (and Johnny if it's him available) but please new hosts.

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I think I must have lost all critical faculties, but I'm enjoying this version so much. I do think there is a certain charm to it, the contestants aren't making snark about each other, and Johnny is a surprise fit for Mary. He's got that Italian type of chivalry that I think Mary quite enjoys. I think I might even prefer him to Hollywood. 

 

I just wish there had been a larger group of people flown over. 

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I just started watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. It that the same as the GBBO which has a thread here? I'm confused because the show I'm watching says season one but doesn't match up to the thread in the forum.

As for the US version, it's a bit different and the people don't have the charming British accents, but I'm enjoying it so far.

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Nia and Ian still grate on my nerves but happily I watch On Demand and fast forward after hearing them at the beginning. They are just too forced. I love Mary and think she makes Johnny a better host. I like how Mary critiques and just her overall appearance on the show. Lauren's decorating is far better than the other contestants but I guess the taste isn't on par. I hope she wins because I think she's been the most consistent. If there are more I hope it's with Mary (and Johnny if it's him available) but please new hosts.

Small point: Johnny's a Judge with Mary, not a Host.

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I'll take "Nia Vardalos Trivia for $600."

Apropos of nothing, NIa's husband in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was named Ian.

It's not really apropos of nothing.  Nia wrote MBFGW based on her own experiences of her Greek family reacting to her marrying a half-Puerto Rican/half-Jewish actor from New York.  He also converted to Greek Orthodox.

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I'll take "Nia Vardalos Trivia for $600."

It's not really apropos of nothing. Nia wrote MBFGW based on her own experiences of her Greek family reacting to her marrying a half-Puerto Rican/half-Jewish actor from New York. He also converted to Greek Orthodox.

The movie was also Produced/Co-Produced by actress Rita Wilson, wife of 2-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks (I don't think he was a Producer on the movie, but I could be wrong). She's also part Greek.

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