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.”
What happened: 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.
“It’s Japan week here on Bake Off so Laura’s filling her buns with Chinese-style pork because, y’know, like whatever, right?” #GBBO
— Joney Ong (@Joney_Ong) October 27, 2020
- 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.
— Emma Chan (@emmabelle_chan) October 27, 2020
— Thomas Murphy (@thommurph) October 27, 2020
watching #gbbo and wondering if anyone’s going to point out that reducing japanese baking to “kawaii” and adding a GEISHA onto the cake is more than a little problematic
— rae 🇭🇰 (@steamedsiumai) October 27, 2020
Disappointed with Japanese Week so far! Completely ignored the Chinese roots of Japanese steamed buns and the technical is French but they deem it Japanese because they threw matcha in it 🤦🏻♀️ A huge disservice to actual Japanese baking #GBBO
— Jenny Pei (@ynpjenny) October 27, 2020
British television always places Japan as the bastion of the East, but it is a little embarrassing that Japanense Week is just a Hodge Podge of ‘asian shit’ shoved into a steamed bun which is ultimately acknowledged as Chinese everywhere. #GBBO pic.twitter.com/hTIgoZ5WSD
— brogan (@brogdh) October 27, 2020
- Naoko Mori, who appeared in BBC’s “Doctor Who” spin-off “Torchwood,” called the episode “ignorant and racist.”
I am SO offended by tonight’s #GBBO So ignorant and racist.
You’d think in the age – and climate – they’d do better.
It not only insulted us Japanese, they’ve insulted the Chinese – and everyone’s intelligence.
— Naoko Mori 森尚子 (@naoko_mori) October 27, 2020
- 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.
— Dr Emily Emmott 🐒 (@Emily_Emmott) October 27, 2020
Feature Image via Netflix