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Bake Off: The Professionals

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Two articles on this GBBO Pros spinoff: One from the BBC and the other from the Guardian.



Kerridge, who has appeared on BBC2’s Great British Menu as well as other shows including Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, will oversee proceedings as 15 teams, each made up of three professionals, try to impress three of the top patissiers in the industry.

The three are Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham; and Claire Clark MBE, who has twice been named Britain’s best pastry chef.


The 45 contestants come from a range of backgrounds, from kitchens in a supermarket to the armed forces, as well as hotels.


The additional drama mentioned in most of these articles probably means the increased intensity from competition among peers and professionals. It's how Masterchef: The Professionals is when compared to normal Masterchef (UK). When you have professional chefs competing, they are putting their reputations and livihoods on the line. They are also competitive by nature. It makes more drama when things go wrong, but it does seem friendly overall.

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Not sure about three judges.  I know that might sound odd, but I am enjoying two true professionals as judges in the bakeoff shows (Britain, Australia and even the recent US holiday effort) as well as Masterchef the professionals.  I know Wallace serves as a third judge but I never felt he really drove who was going through to the next round over the opinions of the two actual chefs.


Yeah I think Paul Hollywood pretty much rode, I mean overrode, Marcela in the first US effort for a Bakeoff show.  And that can happen.  But there is just something about paring down the opinions and making it clear cut with just two.  When it works it works perfectly even when there is clearly give and take and different tastes pushing against each other. 


I'm also not sure what they mean by teams.  Teams who go in to compete against each other like they do on Masterchef or teams as in three people who compete together to knock off the other teams?  For me, a US citizen, I would say the later but I know sometimes certain words elude even my slight but persistent efforts to figure what the heck they are saying!  I would rather see one person compete for one single title.  Teams of three that compete together to the end bring dynamics I just have found to be too onerous in terms of 'reality' to enjoy.  It also might not lend to the friendly and appreciative nature that the baking and MC-UK-Pros do.  I love how much most of the competitors on those shows really enjoy others' success and are humbled by the ones that do really well.


I am hoping to be proven wrong with my slight pessimism.  It is just that everything I keep reading about it seems to suggest they might be trying to mine the same vein for success but are trying too hard to also be 'different'.  We don't need an outright copy of course.  Derivative can actually work well.  But if they also work too hard at being a baking show 'Yet Different!" it could work against them as well. 


But hey.  The Australian version of the Bakeoff was absolutely dreadful first season and a little time and a new channel and some new judges and hosts and in some ways they have equaled the British version in terms of charm and enjoyable watching for me.

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  • 2 months later...

The search for the creme de la creme of British pastry begins with Tom Kerridge welcoming three teams of expert chefs to the competition. Ahead of them lies a truly intense day of cooking in front of three of the biggest names in British pastry.


Battling it out in the first heat of this intense bake off are three young chefs from a five-star hotel, a team which invents desserts for a leading supermarket and a trio of chefs who work in secret restaurants hidden away in the city of London.


Judging and scoring their efforts are Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant, and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.

In the first challenge, the teams must produce three different mouthwatering patisserie items - framboisier - a classic layered slice, paris-brest - a handcrafted miniature, and a cylindrical petit gateau invented by the teams themselves. They must make 36 perfect and identical items of each pastry and with just three hours to do it, the pressure is almost too much for some.

In the second challenge, the team must transform an ordinary dessert into an incredible fine-dining experience with their showpiece. For this heat, it's apple crumble and custard which gets the five-star treatment, complete with towering edible showpiece sculptures that are simply unbelievable.

With heart-stopping moments, frank and uncompromising judging and cooking techniques we've never seen before, which team will score the most points and earn themselves a place in the semi-finals?

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The search for the crème de la crème of British pastry continues with Tom Kerridge welcoming three more teams of expert chefs to the competition.


In the second heat of this incredible bake off, a team from the British Armed Forces meet the only all-women team in the competition and a team from a world-famous London hotel.


To secure a place in the semi-finals, the teams must impress the formidable judging panel of Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant, and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.


In the Miniatures Challenge, the teams are asked to produce 36 opera slices, 36 babka knots - a handcrafted breakfast pastry - and 36 petits gateaux in the shape of a sphere, invented by the teams themselves. Each item in each batch must be uniform in appearance, finished to the very highest professional standards and of course utterly delicious. They have just three hours to make all 108 pastries.


In the Showpiece Challenge, the team are asked to reinvent a popular British dessert as a fine-dining experience and present it as a dazzling showpiece display. The humble dessert getting the five-star makeover this week is trifle. Two teams take gardens as their theme, one English, the other Japanese, while the third team performs a feat of chocolate engineering. The results are simply jaw-dropping but which team will please the judges?

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I enjoyed that they kept some of the true bake off elements: the grand locale, the sweeping flora/fauna shots, the music, and the wonderful sketches.


I am not sure if I am warming to the judges yet. I think Benoit has the most personality so far actually. I like Tom Kerridge as a TV chef and personality, but they need to cut more of him interacting with the contestants and the judges. He is not a comedian, but he really is friendly and charming which can help the flow of this more competitive show.


I found myself really liking Reece's young team. Reece must be easily 6'5" because Tom Kerridge is about 6'3"/1.91cm. He towered over everyone and he does look older than his years which probably helped as he went through the ranks. I really liked their teams frambosier and paris brest, but their cyclinder was a let down. Their showpiece was iffy too. 


One big problem with teams is that there will be members that you like more or less than their co-members. I adore Mikiko (sp?), but I was less enthused with James and Graham seemed a bit of a jerk. I'm only glad she went through because she saved their butts with her paris brest (which was by far the best one) and she is a talented decorator.


There is definitely less camaraderie with this format which is a same, but it's still fascinating to watch. The stuff was very fancy, but I still really wanted to eat it.

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I'm not sure about this.  As a visual it is very pleasing.  I love pastry and the first challenge with all the little pastries with the intricate detail was wonderful. 


But the intricacy of the items also played against it since despite only three teams and a total of nine pastries to judge (though again really only three types with team variations) I still felt the process of making them was rushed.  It felt odd because in other shows you get more of the making process that lets you figure out what they are doing.  And not just on more simple shows like the Great British Bake Off but also Masterchef the Professionals. 


I'm also not sure of the judges.  I'm definitely not sure of the judging process since I think it lets the judges use the scoring to weigh a team that as a whole they do not care for over the other two.  For instance, in the first challenge the one team got a much higher score for an item that the judges dinged rather harshly.  SO it had me wondering if it was just editing or whether the judges were shifting scores to give one team a greater edge.  Not so much in an "unfair" way but rather that a team that did better as a whole might get higher scores on individual items by a judge to make sure their whole score reflects the status of that 'whole' performance.


I think blind judging for the first round is needed and each of the three different pastries award first, second and third and assign a value score to each placing.


The judging for the second challenge seems also to be slanted.  I was surprised at the scores the winning team got.  I thought that the display was actually rather messy and totally disjointed even with the elements they tried to incorporate.  Except for the one intricate apple that was mere decoration, the serving apples were a bit odd and you could have told me that they were some kind of other fruit or vegetable and I would have been 'well okay, if you say so'.  I also felt the all white with the type of dessert was a mismatch.  And completely off putting.  Dessert should not look like the centerpiece at Cruella Deville's table no matter how highly elevated. 


I think part of my problem is that in pastry competitions it always seems a huge part of style over substance is always going to play a part.  Sugar work and chocolate work and pastes and glues and gunks no matter how edible at some point hold little charm for me.  I would rather watch the Great Glassmaker's Blowoff for stuff like that.


But another problem for me is that I just find the show cluttered without really getting to see some of the intricate work that I do find fascinating in the first round.  It just stands that all the knock out rounds will be the same and even though the number of teams will be winnowed, the challenges will also be just as intricate and detailed if not more so.  Plus will it go down to two teams or a final three?  In either case I don't see much changing.  It just seems the equivalent of a bad book where the author tells the reader everything instead of being able to use effective narrative and "showing" the reader.  Here it seemed a fast breakdown and then more chatter with the host and contestants that is aimed at drama and not actual narrative. 


It seems to me that they got it half right and half wrong.  They got that a professional version of a bake off might work.  But they seem to have not looked as hard as they could at Masterchef the Professionals when it came time to shift from the amateurs to the pros.  Masterchef the Professionals does some bang up desserts so maybe they felt they had to avoid copying that too much in some ways.  But I would love for the first challenge to be more of a skills test this first round.   Three different pastries with the teams deciding which team member tackles which and have three items by three individuals presented as the team's effort.

Edited by tenativelyyours
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I saw the previews for next week this previous show and I really hope it is not going to be a trend that at least one team takes the show stopper theme and simply pretends to wrap it around some kind of huge overpowering chocolate work or sugar or paste like this last time.  It especially doesn't bode well for me if the show is a success enough to go on to other seasons as I suspect the three judges will reward that type of behavior. 

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I've just seen the first episode, and I think the issue with this program is that pastry work at this level is so intricate and each pastry has so many components that it becomes impossible to really show how the dessert is made in any detail (which is also why they use teams, to get them done in a reasonable length of time). GBBO always had an aspect of "hey, I might be able to make that, or do better" for me. This program is more food porn, and the sheer amount of work going on makes it hard for them to develop a narrative thread. I also think the complexity is much higher than the savory work on a program like Masterchef professional.

All that said, I am still enjoying it.

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I was rooting for the military team so was glad they not only won but seemed to earn some strong points in the second challenge.  I think the editing is not doing the show any service here for me.  In Great Bake off they might leave the final choices in suspense but I always feel they tell me pretty much like it is.   Same with Masterchef the Professionals.   Here I feel they are leaving some things out since the scores for the military on the Trifle challenge did not seem to reflect the commentary. 


I hope the Savoy team's twist on trifle was as good as they said because I was really underwhelmed with the whole presentation.  It was nice to some extent but I felt it was a bit kiddie looking in some ways.  I thought it was a bit of flashy technique held together by easy tricks of the trade.  That might not be true.  But that is how it looked both in the construction and the finish product.  Plus I felt they completely failed the first challenge on each piece.  Just the globe thing alone meant they actually did not complete the brief since they did not have the proper amount of it and that meant they really did not have three desserts.  Also I felt they failed the brief on the knots and the opera cake both.  The opera cake was not because the layers were hidden and the knots were not knots.   So i was glad they did not come from behind. 


Also I as I feared I feel flash is being given a bit too much credit.  The Savoy's trifle was messy and half formed and oozed in ways it should not.  Maybe that was commented on and why they weren't given enough points to take it.  Again editing seems a bit deliberately vague on some matters.  But the surge back also had me wondering about the whole points system as well.  Plus there is something so paddle turning Dancing with the stars in the points drama I find myself not caring for it.


Cherish is a bit off putting during her commentary but I notice that flavors seem to be reflected in her points awarded and I do like that, I wish we would see Cherish and Benoit so some of the proper technique or do some type of sit down like Paul and Mary do to discuss the brief.  Or maybe have each team focus more on one of the three they are doing.  Overview all three on each team of course but then give the proper technical focus on one each.  That way each team gets a focused item and all three of the miniature types gets a focus.  I think the show has time to do that easily as opposed to trying to give a deeper focus on all nine. 


Tom is a perfect host.  He has a great voice for the narration as well as his interaction.  He has a nice sincerity that I do get from the other bake off shows both the UK and Australian versions no matter that I can find both host teams annoying at times.  The judges as whole seemed to work better for me this time as well so I am happy with the show as a whole.  I just hope if it goes forward another season they don't see that as a success that does not merit a few minor tweaks.  The Great British Bakeoff made some slight changes over the course of its run so far that were just enough to make it better without changing it really from its original feel. 

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I also adored the military team and am happy they won. The format does not allow enough time for us to know each of the contestants, but they showed the most personality of any of the teams. I would have been glad for Kumiko's team too. I found Fel's Savoy team really underestimated the competition itself.


It only took the second episode for Benoit to break out the French with one of the contestants. I like Benoit as a judge, but he was snobby this ep. The second challenge should have been called "How Benoit hates British desserts". I don't even love trifles, but reign it in there, chef.


Still adore Tom and always have. Need more of him actually. He's a consummate professional, but really engaging and sincere with everyone.


I wish this show was longer and actually had more things. I'd love to see more of the process, more judge and host time, more contestant time, and I'd like a professional corner where we see the judges do an example or discuss it more in depth. I really enjoy the intensity and the food porn, but I'd like even more measured segments.

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The search for the creme de la creme of British pastry continues with Tom Kerridge welcoming three more teams of expert chefs to the competition for the third heat out of five.


To secure a place in the semi-finals, the teams must impress the formidable judging panel of Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant, and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.


Eager to please the judges this week are two teams of chefs who work in upmarket patisserie shops, while the third team hails from the kitchens of an exclusive Scottish hotel.


In the Miniatures Challenge, the teams are asked to produce 36 petit antoine chocolate slices, 36 macaroons religious, and 36 pyramid-shaped cakes invented specially for the competition. With just three hours to make them and sky-high expectations from the judges, teamwork, time management and calmness under pressure are essential.


In the Showpiece Challenge, the teams are asked to reinvent a popular British dessert as a fine-dining experience and present it as a dazzling showpiece display. This week, the dessert getting the five-star makeover is lemon meringue pie. There is no shortage of drama, with clouds of dry ice, a surprise hidden inside a lemon and a fragile swan made entirely of sugar. But which of the lavish desserts will get the highest score from the judges?

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I'm not really enjoying this, to be honest.


I think when we saw "bake off" in the title, we were assuming it'd have the same warmth and charm as the original. But instead, it's got about as much warmth as one of the blast freezers they use.


When someone succeeds in a challange, we're happy for them. Here, they look so smug they've just beaten the other two teams.


The points system fails totally too. We want to have a clear record of who's doing best - and the points rarely seem to be doing that.


Not enjoying the judges either. They've got as much character as a sack of potatoes. Criticising them on the smallest of things - having a messy apron? WHAT'S THE POINT IN EVEN HAVING AN APRON THEN?


Basically, they've taken "bake off" and removed everything "bake off" about it. Mel and Sue would probably walk in and awkwardly leave.

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I love how picky the Sewing Bee judges are so when the host said that Cherish was going to measure things with a ruler and Benoit said that the first challenge was to test how precise they could be, I was all for it. I think there most food doesn't need to be exactly the same size but when you have rows and rows of the same little rectangular dessert, it looks terrible and sloppy when they aren't the same size or aren't cut evenly. The third judge Claire reminds me so much of Emily (the girl who Ross briefly married on Friends).


The team concept is an interesting change from the regular Bake Off format, especially considering that two of this week's teams don't regularly work with each other.


Hee, the 12 year old in me was giggling every time someone said Paris-Brest. It also cracks me up whenever I hear British people pronounce petit as petty.


Reece must be a giant! In one shot, the woman on his team was standing next to him and she didn't even come up to his shoulder.


Makiko was the saving grace for her team. She did well in both challenges.


I appreciate that they are awarding points so that we have a more clear idea of who the judges liked, but they need to explain what the 30 points for each dessert is for. Does each judge get to award a maximum of 10 points? Or is it like Iron Chef where there are separate point categories for taste, presentation, etc.? By not explaining the points, the numbers seem arbitrary.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Dear show, macarons are not the same as macaroons.


Poor Anaïs - I cringed every time I heard the host pronounce her name. I was totally cracking up when Benoit came by and asked her if she liked living in England and if she'd ever tried a trifle before. Hilarious when he said that trifles are just bizarre.


I was really hoping that one team would be like screw it, there's no way we're going to win so we're going to make Rachel's trifle:


I love the fancy chairs/sitting area where the judges sit while they watch the teams bake. It just seems hilarious to see them on golden chairs while the pastry chefs are baking like crazy.


Cherish is the harshest judge, but what I like about her is that she always gives very specific reasons for her critiques - the dough is heavy, the layers aren't even, etc.


Once again, I want a better breakdown of the scoring system. Last week, one of the teams had only 34 pieces instead of 36, but they still got a score. This week, the Savoy team's mango mousse spheres didn't set in the freezer in time so they only presented one finished sphere but they still eked out four points for that. I think if they didn't get all 36 on the platter, then they didn't fulfill the challenge and they shouldn't get any points. Or if they're going to give points for partial platters, the most they should be eligible to receive is 1/36 of the points for each completed piece.


I liked the final showpieces much better this week. Last week I agreed with the judges that all three final pieces in the apple challenge were flat and low, but this week we had much more unique, diverse, and interesting showpieces.


I wish the female team had been able to get their tiny trifles out of the flower pots because they would have looked so beautiful (and part of the point of a trifle is to see the layers). I loved the miniature water cans with the quince jelly, the chocolate dirt, and the little daisies. Their presentation was so fun and whimsical.


I felt for the military guys when their first attempt at assembling the chocolate structure fell apart. They weren't kidding when they said it was so hot in the kitchen that the chocolate was melting. I could see the sweat on his head when he said that so he wasn't exaggerating. Having their trifle presented in slices was a mistake because it was very obvious that the layers inside weren't even from slice to slice. I wasn't a huge fan of the steampunk theme, and although the big chocolate shape was pretty I didn't see much of an actual theme aside from some nuts and bolts. Someone please tell Claire that it's yin/yang, not ying/yang.


I felt bad for the Savoy team when they realized their trifles still weren't set. I am not sure if it was due to their decision to make larger trifles which needed more time to set or if they got them into the freezer too late or what. Since they had issues with their mango spheres not being set in time during the first challenge, I am chalking this up more to operator error than the freezer being the culprit. But I liked the bridges and the rice krispie bonsai trees. The sugar river was so bright too, and the blue was a great contrast with all the brown. The jelly on the outside was beautiful too. But when they cut a slice for the judges, the layers looked really messy.


As nebulous as the scoring system is, at least they're making it clear that the showpiece is worth way more than the miniatures. On the Bake Off shows, they have never come right out and said that the showstopper is weighted more heavily but it's pretty obvious from most of the eliminations that you can basically bomb the first two challenges if you have an amazing showstopper while the converse is not as true (doing well at the first two challenges but having a disastrous showstopper can still get you eliminated).

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The search for the crème de la crème of British pastry continues with Tom Kerridge welcoming three more teams of expert chefs in the fourth heat out of this tense competition.


Competing in this episode are a cookery school teacher with two of his former star pupils, a trio of pastry chefs from a five-star London hotel and the only all-French outfit in the competition who work in a high-end patisserie. The team with the most points at the end of the heat will earn their place in the semi-finals and awarding the points are three of the biggest names in pastry - Benoit Blin is chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE is a world-renowned pastry chef and Cherish Finden is executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.


In the Miniatures Challenge, the teams are asked to produce 36 St Marc slices, 36 sfogliatelle, an Italian ricotta-filled pastry shell, and 36 small domed cakes invented specially by the teams. Identical batches of perfect bakes are what the judges are looking for so this is all about precision cooking in high volume with immaculate results. With just three hours to make 108 pastries, which captain will take their team to the top of the leader board?


In the Showpiece Challenge, the team are asked to reinvent a popular British dessert as a fine-dining experience and present it as a dazzling showpiece display. This week, sticky toffee pudding gets the five-star treatment. The teams' extraordinary designs include a model of the Lake District and a brandy snap tower which glows in the dark. Ambitious and risky, but will the judges be impressed? And who will be back to bake again in the semi-finals?


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The teams were hard for to tell apart for quite a while.  I want more color coded outfits.  


I think the problem for me here is that i simply am not a show piece/stopper person when all is said and done.  It doesn't mean I can't appreciate and like some results but I am not automatically wowed even if I understand that there is so much skill and talent involved in the techniques used.  I'm much more interested in the miniatures part of the challenge and despite being almost the same length of time still feels like it gets shorted for me.  But I am also watching to see stuff I would love to eat.  Not just look at. 


I do think though the show pieces this week were the best.  I actually felt that it didn't look a bit too simplistic even though I know it isn't.   I don't go to a high end restaurant for some fancy dessert display.  For some reason I find them a bit crass when I have seen them.  Yeah the place might have three stars but why does it look like the centerpiece of some cruise ship or Ira's Cirque du Soleil themed bar mitzvah found its way in?  In the end for just me, I want something that I want to look at and just go all Augustus Gloop on it.


I am enjoying the fact that as harsh as the critics are I am sensing so far a strong appreciation for the people no matter they might bugger it up.  These judges know understand and are admiring what it took for each one to get there I feel.  They seem to like the younger teams just for being involved in the industry with that level of commitment already.  It just has a nice undercurrent to it that coupled with the general appreciation of the other teams, their efforts and their having to face the criticism makes for a still worthwhile watch. 


I also like that Benoit and Cherish are willing to go at each other on the subjective matter.  Before there were different takes but there was something about the exchange over adding lemon to the mix instead of just relying on the original flavor.  As I was quite glad to see the team that just used the food color for "costuming" get dinged for that since it made no sense to not use a flavor profile to match the color being used.  I was also agreeing with Benoit.  To add another flavor that muddle the original seemed too subjective. 


I also was kind of surprised that one on on the one team didn't stop and wonder if it was wise to use all those different flavors for a lemon meringue challenge.  It seemed insane.  I think they could have added different ideas in terms of the offset flavors and then use different notes of lemon -- there are rich syrupy lemon falvors, light tart ones, deep rich tart ones.  But put them up against different soft contrasts in the other components.  Buttery flaky ones. Soft creamy ones etc.


I did feel a bit sorry for the last placed team.  For some reason I did like their humor and chatter.  But I also think the judging was spot on this episode in a way that did a good job of explaining the flaws and the virtues for a viewer who can't taste but just ogle and drool.

Edited by tenativelyyours
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Ha, Claire's orange outfit matched her orange hair! I love that it's only the third episode and we already know what the judges like/dislike. Cherish hates gelatin. Benoit doesn't like too much acidity or too much sweetness. One other thing I really like is that the judges don't go overboard with the scores (ahem, Dancing with the Stars). They aren't giving 50/50 willy nilly. I also like that when we see the scores, they are usually pretty even, meaning that we don't see one judge giving 45 and another judge giving 10. To me that says that even when the judges don't agree on the details (Cherish: "Add more acidity!"/Benoit: "Don't listen to her!"), they agree on the overall quality of each team's creations.


I can't believe that one team thought using sorbet in a display was a good idea. It's bad enough to get melted ice cream when it's contained in a cup but they had pools of melted sorbet that were just dripping off the edges and causing the little swan necks and wings to fall over so that it looked like a swan slaughter. Just a dumb idea. Can you imagine what a mess it would be to clean that up? I have to admit that I gasped and then laughed when the big swan body fell over.


I liked the yellow showpiece for its bright color and the height, but I totally get why Cherish knocked their team for only using poured sugar. I liked the raspberry sauce hidden in the hollow lemon too. Sometimes something simple like that can be really effective.


I liked the lemon tea smoke. I appreciated the different sugar techniques they used but I wasn't crazy about the overall look. I'm not sure if it was too dark or if I wanted more height or what.


This week's showpieces seemed like what you would see on the dessert table at brunch. The judges didn't say they had to use sugarwork so I'm curious as to why this week's showpieces all had so much more sugar critique than the previous two weeks.


I agree that it seemed silly to add too many other flavors to a lemon meringue challenge. I think that using different textured lemon components would have worked so much better than throwing a bunch of other non-lemon flavors. Lemon curd, lemon cake, lemon buttercream, etc.


I really enjoy the miniatures part of each episode too. Since we had so many of this week's chefs mention how precise they are and how they always use their rulers, I was expecting sheer perfection (TM Mary Berry). I couldn't believe that one team had all their petit gateaux facing in different directions.

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With this episode, we are getting to know the judges and the host more, and they with each other. I like how Tom ribbed Cherish on faffing about during the judging. I also really like how Benoit and Cherish went at each other in a good, professional way when they disagreed. When they don't show all the critiques, we get the sense that they probably agree so showing their disagreement says a lot about how they will score or what they are like. Furthermore, the three judges are getting to know each other and I hope we see more of them debate. They may not be Mary and Paul, but it's good to watch them have variety of opinions. I think Claire is a bit underwhelming compared to how more opinionated Cherish and Benoit are. They show her less interacting or observing in the first challenge.


I like Christophe's team mostly because he seems to be a great leader. He was calm and motivating with them. You can tell he does value the team work aspect, but he's also clearly talented and humble. His macaron religiseuse was one of my favourite items presented so far. I loved the presentation and the piping was really lovely. I really wanted to eat it.


I like Neil's team too, but they made some shoddy mistakes in the first round then could not get the points. I like Julien's team members, but he seemed a bit too rigid and dismissive about the other teams.


The scoring is fair and definitely more European/British style in its take. You won't get full marks which is what is appropriate. It is relative.


I am looking forward to the semi-finals though since I like so many of the teams already.

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I would love to be the judge for the miniatures challenge.  And this week I would have made Mark, Sebastien and Christian take turns feeding them to me by hand.  Three really attractive men.  Mark was working that silver hair and Christian?  Whew. 


I have yet to dislike a team, but I found myself really liking all three again this week.  By personalities I would have been happy whoever won.  Though since Christian and Sebastien can't grace my screen I'm hoping if I understand things correctly Mark might yet come back?  It seemed Tom was assuring them they were in the running for the slot available for the points.  I'm not clear though enough and may have that completely wrong.


I do wish someone would bop Cherish on the nose.  I get the whys but I think she and Benoit both are too in the work space with their poking and 'observing'.  Especially since Cherish does it at critical moments in measuring, pouring and spreading when the chef needs full concentration.  It creates a false element for me when added to the cameras and crew that are also around.


I do think reality competition shows all need to start budgeting just a little more time into the contests.  This is one that I don't think adding an extra hour really would remove the tension or suspense in regards to the results.  And I would rather see more perfect desserts than failures.  I honestly have yet to see either the miniatures challenge or the show piece challenge on  a single episode yet that I felt any team really came as close to being done as they wanted to be.  No matter what the final result.  And I'm giving a little bit of the side eye to the fact that every episode has also had some issues in setting across the board which makes me think either the set up or the equipment might not be working as well with the time constraints for it to time management every single time.


I loathe sticky toffee pudding.  Loathe it.  And I thought that the Lake District idea worked better on paper than it did in execution.  I did think the individual elements were the best but the whole was way too much as the judges stated.  If they could have presented the elements on a more elegant and sweeping element instead of the big block, I think they might have won.  Did I mention Mark his hotness and silver hair though?  That forgives a lot, even tacky date messes via Canada and the Lake District.  Yum.


I love a good Firenze Cornetto.  The ones that have a softer but closer outer shell to a Sfogliatella but are a touch softer, have a more fluffy center like the traditional cornetto and have an almost hint of bavarois creme element mixed in the ricotta filling and no candied fruit -- hate candied fruit.  But boy those looked tough.  I had a friend who loved it when I hit Bella Ferrara in Little Italy for their Sfogliatella.  But the candied fruit ruins it for me.  I have had them when they just put the orange or lemon zest in them at a place in Solferino. 

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The search for the crème de la crème of British pastry has reached the last heat, with just three teams left hoping to secure their place in the semi-finals.


Tom Kerridge welcomes a team from a fine-dining restaurant in Liverpool, a team from Leeds led by a self-taught chocolatier and three pastry chefs from south Wales who are representing their country in this year's culinary Olympics.


To secure a place in the semi-finals the teams must impress the formidable judging panel of Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant, and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London.


In the Miniatures Challenge, the teams must cook against the clock and have just three hours to produce 36 dacquoise slices, 36 fruit tartlets and 36 petits gateaux in the shape of a cube. They need to make every batch identical in size and shape and avoid Cherish getting out her ruler. But will they impress Benoit and Claire with their innovative flavour profiles?


In the Showpiece Challenge, the team are asked to reinvent a classic homemade dessert as a fine-dining experience. For this heat, chocolate cheesecake is transformed into three stunning showpiece displays. One team takes its inspiration from the ancient Aztecs while another travels back to ancient Greece. The third team opts to avoid a theme altogether, instead focusing on making the best possible cheesecake. Which tactic will pay off when the final scores are revealed?

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They use the term sexy during judging more than the other Bake off show that is for sure.


I have yet to dislike a team, but I found myself really liking all three again this week.  By personalities I would have been happy whoever won.  Though since Christian and Sebastien can't grace my screen I'm hoping if I understand things correctly Mark might yet come back?  It seemed Tom was assuring them they were in the running for the slot available for the points.  I'm not clear though enough and may have that completely wrong.


I think Tom was reassuring them that though they lost the day/heat, Mark's team had the best Showpiece scores wise so they can take solace in that. I think Sebastien was saying they could come back next year. I'd like to see that happen, but not sure if the producers will go for repeat contestants that soon unless they are very short on teams willing to compete.

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No, I was referring to this from Wikipedia:


the team with the best total score after both challenges is guaranteed a place in the semifinal. The team with the highest total score throughout the whole of the heats is also guaranteed a place within the semifinal


I think Tom might have also been pointing out to them that their afternoon score put them in contention for this potential also ran position.  Their score and the winning team's score for the morning were among the higher ones so far in the competition I believe.  131 was the highest non winning team score in the first two episodes.  I don't remember what they were for episode three.  And next week is the last of the quarters right?  15 teams would make it five episodes before the semis.

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Again didn't dislike the teams but this time none really inspired me or had me rooting for them.  I will say that the chocolate team turning it around was nice since I was ready to be annoyed at the chocolate guy because he seemed out of his element during the miniatures challenge.  And I am not sure about chocolate show piece fancy stuff getting the team the win since I prefer the baking part of pastry much more. 


I was disappointed that the team that earned the sixth spot in the semi-finals wasn't announced but I am hoping it is the team I liked so much last week.  It definitely was not a team from last night. 


I did like that Cherish told the one team to come back next year.  I hope there is a next year and I do hope they allow teams that did not make it to the semi-finals to come back.  I like that "returning" team aspect to world professional food competitions.  So here it would work for me at least.


I also liked that there was not as much Cherish this week.  Of them all she seems to try to hard.  She complains about the one team lacking passion.  Even as she exhorts for precision precision precision.  For the guy piping those small alternate rows of dacquoise to show "passion".  She needs to stop and think about what she says and maybe add more precision and less "passion" for her talking heads.  And she seems the most prone to acting like the competition is set in their normal working area and so any actions on their part are some huge failure.  I'm sure they have no problem with time management when it is their own atmosphere and they can actually manage their time.  Not the show's false parameters for drama and competition.


This is at least the third time I have heard that the normal rate of time for a particular miniature is four hours or more.  And that is without the pressure and tension.  I do think the show's biggest fault is the cramped time they have demanded to ramp up the drama.  I would rather they give them an extra hour and have the judges really be pressed to score because they are so good. 


While I do like the scores are not high, I also dislike the fact the winning team is often barely breaking the halfway point.  Being pros, the show should encourage the teams to be able to perform at a professional level.  I don't want to see safe flat looking desserts simply so the show can show sweating panicked contestants while Tome Howe music rills over it all like the soundtrack to climatic Napoleonic sea battle.


Give them an extra hour.  Or even two.   And make the bar a bit higher I think in that all will be good, but we get to see a great one actually win.  So far too many of the highest scoring results have been compromised or didn't fail as badly as the other two.

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This was even a more stressful episode than the others. I am glad they made this one last. Claire was much more involved in this episode and the judges are clearly more interactive and working on their own chemistry.

I do look forward to seeing the mysterious sixth team reveal next week.

15 minutes ago, tenativelyyours said:

While I do like the scores are not high, I also dislike the fact the winning team is often barely breaking the halfway point.  Being pros, the show should encourage the teams to be able to perform at a professional level.  I don't want to see safe flat looking desserts simply so the show can show sweating panicked contestants while Tome Howe music rills over it all like the soundtrack to climatic Napoleonic sea battle.

Give them an extra hour.  Or even two.   And make the bar a bit higher I think in that all will be good, but we get to see a great one actually win.  So far too many of the highest scoring results have been compromised or didn't fail as badly as the other two.

Given this show is British, the low scores do not surprise me. in the UK Academic system, the above average and a very good grade is 60-70%. Almost no one except the top of the class gets scores > 75-80%. A good score is is in the 60% range. I think as they progress, the scores may get a little easier too.

I agree this show does need the extra time or maybe find some way to incorporate more footage. Who knows. I want it to to come back, but it's received quite a bit of back lash for not being like the original. It works for me though since I do not see them the same. 

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The search for the creme de la creme of British pastry has reached the semi-finals. Fifteen teams started the competition, but now just six remain. And things are about to get even tougher.

In the first semi-final, Tom Kerridge welcomes back three winning teams from the heats. James's team of supermarket inventors secured their semi-final spot with a fairy-tale apple crumble in the first heat. Liam's team from the British Armed Forces was next to impress the judges with a stunning trifle showpiece. And Sajeela's team from the Hilton on Park Lane triumphed with a towering take on sticky toffee pudding.

Now they must prove themselves once more and up their game as the judges set one of the sternest tests of a pastry chef's skill; breakfast pastries, or what's known in the trade as viennoiserie. The judges want the teams to make 144 perfect pastries in three hours: 48 croissants, 48 brioches and 48 danish pastries. And to make it even harder, the judges want two different versions of each. There is no margin for error.

For the Showpiece the teams must construct large and elaborate chocolate containers filled with three different types of confectionery: dipped chocolates, nougat and pate de fruits. The design and execution of the Showpiece requires exceptional teamwork. The teams' designs take their inspiration from the world of show business, the Far East and a family love story, but which will find favour with the formidable judging panel?

Casting their forensic judgement on the chefs' efforts are Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claire Clark MBE, world-renowned pastry chef and consultant, and Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at the Langham, London.

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1 hour ago, Athena said:

This was even a more stressful episode than the others. I am glad they made this one last. Claire was much more involved in this episode and the judges are clearly more interactive and working on their own chemistry.

I do look forward to seeing the mysterious sixth team reveal next week.

Given this show is British, the low scores do not surprise me. in the UK Academic system, the above average and a very good grade is 60-70%. Almost no one except the top of the class gets scores > 75-80%. A good score is is in the 60% range. I think as they progress, the scores may get a little easier too.

I agree this show does need the extra time or maybe find some way to incorporate more footage. Who knows. I want it to to come back, but it's received quite a bit of back lash for not being like the original. It works for me though since I do not see them the same. 


Exactly.  By my two years in the British educational system, at least one team if not all three are still receiving a failing score.  And I hope teh scores don't get better.  Unless the work reflects that.  But I also expect the briefs to get harder, so the scores shouldn't jump simply due to the show continuing.  Also attempts at briefs have failed.  Too many times for me.  And still received scores.  I don't think a team has gotten a flat zero from any of the judges.  Single digits yes.  But if the brief is not met why the gold star treatment?  That seems at odds with the pragmatic and sensible scoring I actually appreciate.  I want higher scores because the teams are given the chance to earn them.


And the failure of the briefs sometimes is simply not understanding or trying too hard to raise the element to fine dining and losing the core component.  I get that and expect that to happen and I really like when they get dinged on it.  But I also feel some of the briefs are set up to fail simply because the timing forces some teams to make bigger compromises than they should.  Yes that can be an element of competition.  to weigh chance against safe.  But again I don't want to see chefs have messy finished products because production thinks three chefs sweating while getting a judges' reaming makes for good television.  Maybe for most of the viewing audience it does. 


One thing I have noticed in the GBBO and Masterchef the Professionals is they do play a little with editing.  We see close ups of rushed seemingly last minute prep and yet in fuller shots we see that same person done or simply doing those extra little fiddles.  Not all the time but it is there.   And I have no problem since it is a competition and a television show.  Combining the actual right to the last second work and the moments when something is unfinished with such little tweaks makes sense and doesn't really detract or even get noticed by most I suspect. 


I haven't seen too much of that.  Because they do have to go right to the last second and too often even that is not enough.  Its a peeve that I am overwoking I know.  It just seems that those other shows do a better job of finessing how to balance the push a time limit can provide for the show and the realistic time needed to complete a task.   I have no problem with it being as tight as they can make it.  I just think here they are simply not getting that balance right.

Though as I stated earlier I also think equipment and/or the setting up the kitchen where it is also might be affecting that balance to the detriment of my overall viewing enjoyment.   The tent as a venue (or shed) makes sense charm wise.  Here the grand house doesn't except making for a decent lookey-loo at the start and the outdoor panoramas sprinkled throughout.

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I want it to to come back, but it's received quite a bit of back lash for not being like the original. It works for me though since I do not see them the same.

I'd like to see the show return for another season. It doesn't bother me at all that it's different from GBBO. Amateurs making cookies and cakes is totally different from professionals making 108 miniatures so I don't think it would make as much sense for this show to follow the GBBO format down to the letter. I see the first challenge as a combination of the signature and technical challenge while the second challenge is like the showstopper.

I do agree that, like Project Runway, it seems silly not to give the contestants enough time to do justice to their creations. I'd rather see less of the "OMG we only have ten minutes left!" drama in exchange for seeing beautifully made pastries.

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It's the second semi-final in the search for the crème de la crème of British pastry. Three teams are back to showcase their high-end skills, hoping to secure their place in the final.

Tom Kerridge welcomes back Stephen, Stefan and Nelson, the team from Leeds who won their heat with their exquisite chocolate skills. In the next kitchen are Christophe, Valeria and Josh, the team of European chefs who triumphed in the heats with their amazing flavours. In the third kitchen are cookery school teacher Mark and his two former pupils Sam and Helen. Despite making an edible model of the Lake District, they only scraped into the semis on a wildcard.

For the Miniatures test, the judges want the teams to make three different types of petits fours - bite-sized pastries which are often served with coffee at the end of a meal. The first is a biscuit with a chequerboard pattern called sablé hollandaise. The second is a tiny fruit tart and finally the chefs must make a Belgian cake called a miserable. To make it harder, the judges want 144 of them and half of each batch must be a classic version and half their own speciality.

For the Showpiece, the teams must build large and decorative chocolate structures to display three different types of sweets - calissons, marshmallows and moulded chocolates. The judges want 30 of each type so that's 90 confectionery items to make in just three hours.

One team builds a tree of life, complete with chocolate flowers and sweets as fruit. Another makes a giant chocolate egg on a marble plinth with chocolate shelves, while the third team builds a city bank full of gold bars overrun by greedy mice hoping to escape in a hot air balloon.

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This episode had a bit more humor. The contestants seems to have been more comfortable the second time in the kitchen. At one point, one of the teams was ahead of schedule.

Too bad about the Armed Forces team. I also think Miyako is awesome and really pulled Liam's team to where they are.

Gosh, I was salivating from all the viennoiserie.

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Note: have had logging in issues and this was waiting for me when I braved back in as it were.  So it is a week old since I typed it when I watched it initially a week ago.


Interesting episode.  I think I have figured out all the little details of the show that is making it fun to watch but nowhere as engaging as I would like.  I get that much of it relies on decisions to produce the show in a certain way that I understand the 'whys' of but still not sure it was right.  At least for me.


For instance as much as I enjoyed seeing the military team back and hopeful they might be in the wild card spot still; as much as I really liked the winning team, especially the two younger guys and their self-deprecating bite.  By episode six, more than half of the contestants are a blur of gray uniforms.  I mean I recognize them on a simple level.  But there is no real investment personality wise.  Or baking style wise for that matter.  I don't think the set is helping either.  Too many times I am not sure right off the bat which team I am watching or even which team member is doing what.   In other shows, even with Masterchef Pro, you get staggered heats so you can identify and relate to certain contestants.  With the original Bake Off show you have one person and stations that greatly aid in allowing focus on one person and what they are doing.

And while I get the team idea stemming from international culinary competitions, it doesn't really lend to this type of show in the end.  No team can come forth and stand out as a whole.   Like last night I liked the military team.  But the one guy was still an unknown to me compared to the other two.  So I can't say I'm "rooting' for them to come back.  Especially since I have to reassess the next heat's team. 

Also I think the challenge last night was nothing but more of the same.  And that is a mistake.  Don't get me wrong.  I can do breakfast pastry all the live long day and well into the night.  It was a near tragedy on realizing I had not a single sweet baked good in the house when I sat down to watch.  Huge mistake.  But it still was the same in many ways.  In other baking/cooking competition shows I love, there is a progression in the challenges.  In the original Bake Off shows and in Masterchef Pro we see them make the contestants stretch just a little more each time they go another step to the finals.  Here it was just numbers really.  So while I love the miniatures as food porn, I found them less engaging this time around in general.


I also am missing the element of taking what they do and putting it in a competition form.  Bear with me.  With original Bake Off you have the premise, that they stick to pretty much, of removing their leisure and removing their choice of baking item.  But it still is pushing them within the element they chose.  Granted, the show has had some miscasts, but overall the premise is that all are deemed capable.  But by adding in the parameters of time and item being chosen, they raise the bar.  All presumably can make good cakes and pies and biscuits.  The contest is who can do it best in a certain time and with certain criteria.  In Masterchef Pro we see a real focused contest that directly bears on what each contestant is supposed to do professionally. 


Here though most of what I am seeing is what I have heard called shop work for the miniatures and show work for the second challenge.  I am not seeing challenges built around all the various things a pastry chef does professionally.  Where  is a signature bake?  Where is a skills test?  I would like to see challenges that focus on what a fine pastry chef does in a restaurant on a wider scale.  Not just miniatures and a showpiece.   I'd like to see chefs have to come up with a dessert cart.  A wine tasting dessert menu.  A high end children's party. A wedding.  But not allowed to make a tiered cake.  These are some of the challenges I know professional pastry chefs who work in a wide spectrum of venues have to face or could. 


And once again a comment by Cherish reminded me of something small, odd and perhaps solely an unintended consequence of the show's edit.  Last night she praises the guy who was doing the apple pastry (though I think it flopped taste wise).  Here she praises what was clearly a methodical precision to get every one exactly right and as much the same.  So I was asking myself, 'yeah but did he do it with passion?'.  And it occurred to me once again that a part, perhaps a big part, of her complaint last week about passion was really about time management.  And again I know it is odd and perhaps just me.  But the show seems to be coy about the time in a way.  On the other two shows that I love and think this is trying to be an amalgamation of, time is more up front.  On original Bake Off it is a openly recognized and embraced parameter the show uses.  The judges, or the producers through the judges, basically brag that they put the time to the very edge.  But it is also seemingly realistic.  That all things going right and you can just fit the task to the time.  And we have seen that.  In Masterchef Pro, time is also a parameter to raise the competition.  But it is also a huge part of being a professional chef.  You have time that can be altered and the stakes raised simply by never knowing how many tickets you can have etc.  And time is crucial for many components of a multi-course meal. 


Here though the time constraints are imposed in a way that by the judges comments seem like they are pretending are as organic as they are in Masterchef pro.  Cooking ten things for one dish at one time, is a huge time crunch.  Time is a huge professional issue.  And I get that it is in terms of pastry chefs.  But not what we are seeing.  By this I mean the judges are commenting on elements that don't exist in such a real work place.  In the way I am talking about.  A great pastry chef has to have good time management.  But  it is time management that is stretched out much more than a regular chef.  Not that a regular chef can't have to look at the long haul for some dishes.  But not compared to pastry which more than not includes chocolate that needs tempered, pastry doughs that need to rise, rest, proof etc.  So for me, it is small, but ti takes away none the less.  They are using the parameter of time almost exclusively as they do on the original Bake Off.  Yet treating it as a judging element as Masterchef does. 


We aren't seeing chefs have to prepare table service type desserts in a professional setting really.  Instead it is really a limited construct of wash rinse and repeat.  Again.  Love the miniatures.  But not as this type of element with a new level of just adding more and making them smaller.  What's the final?  10,000 marzipan?

I think it would hep immensely to have fewer teams, and let them all run through an entire contest instead of heats so I can know them better and root harder for one team over the other. 

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Again.  Severely underwhelmed by the just 'do more and smaller' approach to the expanded difficulty in the semi-finals versus the quarter finals.


Overall I find this entertaining but it needs some serious tweaks for a second run.  And I do hope it gains enough viewership for a second run.  Maybe if PBS needs a cheaper bake off show it will grab this up since I keep hearing they are having problems making a bid for future seasons of the original recipe show.  Okay deep down I just want the show to enough of a success I can get my hands and ears on copies of Tom Howe's works I keep hearing that seem at least half original and half taken from his Great Bake Off score.  I think I like the opening theme music to this as much as my 'Bakewell Counting'.  There have been two other pieces I have heard during these episodes that also seem new and I want.



So loved the school team won.  So hated the edited production attempt at narrative.  And this is not my favoritism for the silver haired glory.  It is simple fact.  Their team did not win their heat.  Their team did have more points than two of the other teams who went on as winners of their own heat (in fact they had more points than either of the teams they competed against!  14 points and 9 points difference).  And the other three teams were 1, 3 and points below the others.  The highest team scored in the quarters was the team last week that won their heat.  So the narrative of the winning team tonight making it just into the heats is due to the false construct.  Of the six teams in the semis, they were actually the fourth team and it shows in the placement both last week and tonight.  In their respective heats the team with the highest score going in won. 


And that shows another flaw for a show that is a bit too detached for me in how I get to know teams and run through the challenges with them.  Simply that the heats may make viewing sense structurally, we had two teams tonight go in with scores of 125 and 130.  Which meant that the team that came in second the very first episode with a score of 131 was shut out.  I get it.  Those are the rules.  But they remove the aspect of best of the best for me quite simply.  Either have the heats and wait until they have gone through and pull the six highest scoring teams or have fewer teams and have them do a series of challenges week after week and the lowest going home.  Have more varied challenges that way and pull viewers in by letting us relate to them.  When heats take place on Masterchef the pros we stick with a group until it is winnowed down so we get to know them and find them someone we like or someone we don't.  I also want to see more of the pastry world in the challenges.  I want ice creams and other frozen works.  I want things served on fire or molten.  I want several components of professiona pastry as served in fine dining establishments.  I want at least one challenge that simply lets them let their imaginations and skills fly.  Even if the sun melts their wings and they crash; I want to see something more than what in the end, nothing more than who is able to do the best and fastest line work at a high end pastry shop and the nicest brunch dessert table centerpiece.

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The two silver haired leaders got their teams through. I adore Christophe's team and have since the beginning. He is adorable as a leader and they consistently rock their flavours. I am just happy to see them in the final.

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The search for the best team of pastry chefs has reached the final. 15 teams started the competition but now just three remain, all hoping to be named the crème de la crème of British pastry.

Taking their place in the kitchens for the last time are Sajeela, Sam and James, a well-drilled unit from a five-star hotel, whose semi-final saw them triumph with their breakfast pastries and dress up as Samurai warriors to present their stunning Japanese bureau. Competing against them are Mark, Helen and Sam, a tutor and his former pupils from an international cookery school. These masters of chocolate won their semi-final with a stunning chocolate egg sculpture which earned high praise from all the judges. The third team is made up of Christophe, who runs a chain of patisserie shops in south London, and Josua and Valeria, who bring the baking traditions of Germany and Italy to their kitchen. Their metaphor for the banking crisis earned them a wildcard place as best runners-up from the semi-finals.

The challenge now facing the teams is to present a fine-dining dessert banquet with enough desserts to feed 100 guests. The teams have been asked to design their banquets to reflect their unique personalities. After what they've shown us so far in the competition, it promises to be a spectacular finale. One team uses the life of a pastry chef as inspiration, complete with the tools of the trade made from chocolate. Another builds a pastry funfair, with cupcake helter-skelter, chocolate ferris wheel and revolving carousel cake. The third themes their display around harmony, with the flavours of the world in their desserts, united around a towering croquembouche topped by a sugar swan.

Which of these jaw-dropping creations will score the most points and secure the trophy?

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I've been missing my brit shows so I  was so excited when I saw this - hmm, I will catch up but I just thought what a mess. I love Tom - he's such a gentle man/gentleman but he pulled off the strange feat of either being invisible or when he was visible you kind of wished he wasn't. The judges have clearly been chosen for their eccentricities, but without Mel and Sue to undercut their egos they just come across as mean.  Of course the sanest one had to be the British woman, although no American show would let her on TV without some tough talk from a stylist. Cherish was like some SNL skit before someone whispered to them that ethnic parodies weren't funny.  I'll forgive Benoit his gallic shrugs and pouts. I simply didn't have enough time with the professionals to have a view on them, although it was obvious the men were jerks.

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The Savoy team certainly thought they were the team to beat - loved how the girls and the military bonded - I liked how the army chefs showed their training with their no drama checking up on each other, no man left behind ethic. The Savoy clearly have superlative equipment back at their workplace, so it wasn't surprising they struggled to adjust whereas the military have to cook wherever they are told to. They work in the most French part of  London so I expected high standards from the girls, I would have been delighted with their showpiece. I've come to realize, in their music, their TV, and their baking,  that the British do 'twee' without irony, so it works.

Tom's accent has a lot of r coloring, so I assume he's from some rural place, it's very charming.

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I came away from this finale with a wee crush on Christophe. He seems like such a lovely man. I love how motivates his team and he did not look stressed out or angry at all. I loved how he was so positive and encouraging the whole way through.

Mark's team came out strong and I'm glad they won too. I liked all the teams.

This show is less like GBBO and other reality shows and more like an actual cooking competition. Not sure if it will come back for another series, but I'd still watch it. They may need to retool it though.

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I was glad to see Mark and his team win.  Definitely would find Mark as an instructor way too distracting to pay proper attention to my studies!  And I loved the self-deprecating wit of the one young woman on his team.  The junior chocolate champion was funny but the other woman with her eye rolls and clear 'he's daft, he thinks we have a chance' attitude I found hysterical.


Overall they definitely need to rework this if it comes back and wants me to sit through the whole episode.  Many contest reality shows I find myself fast forwarding to the end.  Project Runway to see the final designs on the runway.   Top Chef to see the dishes presented and tasted.   And this fell into that category.  I wanted to see the end results for the miniatures and then fast forwarding to the final showpieces at the end.  And even that second fast forward was more to see who won than what was winning.  It's not horrible.  but it is a bit like the Voice when I watched its premiere.  That first time every judge turns around at once to a stunning voice gave me tiny chills.   And I was done.  Didn't need or want to sit through it again.  Let alone the rest of the season.  Same here.  If it comes back with the same miniatures (and even more miniatures! in the semis) and then show piece format for every single episode I can see myself quickly losing interest entirely before even such a short run show gets halfway in its season.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree that the show might need some reworking if it has a second season. Part of me likes that they had so many different teams because we got to see such a variety as a result. But the other part of me felt like there were so many people throughout a relatively short season that we didn't really get to know any of the teams very well. Maybe that's a good thing because we were then forced to judge them based on what they produced rather than on their personalities. Overall I enjoyed the season though. What I really appreciate is that the judges usually had very specific comments about why they liked (or didn't like) what the teams made. I find that much more useful than the feedback that judges give on other shows (cooking and otherwise). I'm okay if they say they love or hate something but since I can't taste it, I want to know why!

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I never thought I’d ever say this, but I miss Angus.  Tom and Liam are not good hosts.  I loved Liam on his series of Bake Off but he’s just not up for this job.  Poor chap.  When he describes the desserts, it sounds like he is reading off a grocery list someone just handed him.  And Tom just grates.  He’s fun on his new game show but this however is not enjoyable to watch. 

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OK, I've watched the first three episodes of this season and I agree with oldCJ, I think Angus and Tom were much better hosts.  Liam and Tom bring nothing to this party and Liam actually irritates me when he interrupts the bakers during their bake time when the bakers are being pushed to the wall time-wise.

  • Love 1
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  • 2 months later...

Just caught up. Agree the hosts total detract from the show. And their attempts at humor are cringe-worthy. I hope they change them! I think the right team won, but the talent seemed to be lacking compared to other seasons. A lot of times, most of the teams stuffed up the challenges, and very few of the showpieces were actually show-stopping. 

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  • 8 months later...
On 4/22/2019 at 2:59 PM, RealityCheck said:

BAKE OFF: THE PROFESSIONALS New Season Premieres Tuesday April 30 8PM On Channel 4 UK

Judges: Cherish Finden, Benoit Blin
Hosts:  Liam Charles, Tom Allen

Liam & Tom are 2 of the most useless hosts on any competition show I've seen. It feels like the producers have to remember to insert them into the episodes.

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This season seems like a letdown. Only two members per team so they don’t have to make as many desserts or as interesting and complicated showpieces. The judging seemed less harsh, too. I was surprised that not coming close to finishing the first round resulted in enough points to make it through. 

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  • 3 months later...

Wow, the talent level on this show has dropped so far. Very few of the teams even turned out finished pieces on most of the challenges. I remember being awed by some of the previous showpieces, but this year they pretty much sucked. And the judges didn't even really judge them, i was just, "oh, well that didn't work out, but let's taste your bon bon." 

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