Why Two Former GBBO Contestants Say The Show Has A Diversity Problem

One of the most popular baking shows on television today is "The Great British Baking Show," which has grown into an international phenomenon. With its thirteenth season premiering this year, the television series has skyrocketed to popularity over the past decade with kind and jovial contestants and even celebrity guest stars like the cast of Derry Girls joining the fray (via YouTube). By watching, fans throughout the years have learned many kitchen skills like the difference between a pavlova and an Eton mess and how to save an over-proofed sourdough.

Over the years, "The Great Bake Off" has become visibly more diverse in its contests, better reflecting the various cultures and peoples that make up the United Kingdom. However, as the recipes and contestants are being pulled from all kinds of backgrounds, the judges and their culinary expertise may not be keeping up with the times anymore.

Time for a change

There is no doubt that baking expert Paul Hollywood and restauranteur Prue Leith have both the experience and the skills to judge the contestants of "The Great Bake Off." But after several years of hosting the show, some contestants are saying things are becoming a bit stale.

In an interview with Insider, past baking contestants Rav Bansal (seen in Season 7) and Ali Imdad (Season 4) said that the lack of cultural sensitivity during production, inaccurate representation of non-European cuisine, and judges with homogeneous backgrounds, have caused many uncomfortable moments on and off screen as well as backlash from fans. Bansal told Insider that while the show's contestants are diversifying, the judges aren't, and if the show is to move forward and embrace the diversity they claim to support, they will hire new judges and new production team staff.

The most recent example of these issues came to light during the latest episode of season thirteen which aired on October 4th during what was supposed to be a celebration of Mexican cuisine. Instead of celebrating Mexican recipes, fans are saying they butchered them, and the episode has sites like The Daily Beast and Bustle calling for the hosts to be replaced, the program to crack down on the promotion of harmful stereotypes, and for the show to overhaul how they conduct their weekly themes.