The first day of “The Great British Bake Off” for its 11th season was off to a rocky start after many social media users called the show out for being culturally insensitive during its “Japanese Week.”
The Oct. 27 episode was the first for the show’s Japanese Week where contestants were tasked to create dishes inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine, according to The Independent
- Each contestant was required to go through three different challenges, which included signature, layered technical and showstopper — the latter requiring them to make something “kawaii” or cute in Japanese, Radio Times reported.
- Confusion ensued when the show asked the contestants to make eight steamed buns, a dish originating from China, for the signature challenge, Eater London recapped.
- The contestants exchanged Japanese flavors for Indian ingredients, such as turmeric, and Chinese stir-fry flavors.
- Baker Hermine, one of the seven contestants remaining, shaped her steamed buns into pandas for her showstopper. Two other contestants took inspiration from American cheeseburgers.
Online outrage: Several viewers took to social media to express their outrage on how “The Great British Bake Off” veered away from the Japanese-inspired culinary challenges.
- Naoko Mori, who appeared in BBC’s “Doctor Who” spin-off “Torchwood,” called the episode “ignorant and racist.”
- Twitter user Emily Emmott listed several traditional Japanese dishes the contestants could have baked during the episode, including melonpan, furuutsu sando, mushi pan and others more.