The Great British Bake Off #GBBO

Right then – you may have noticed the hash-tag in the title there – that’s a new thing I’m trying. The title forms part of the automatic tweet and, well… #GBBO is a popular one at the moment, apparently. I spent a minute looking, and 20 results were made in that time. Not bad, I think. Whether it makes a difference or not, I thought I’d give it a go.

Now, I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off this year – I watched it last series, and the one before that, and now, I feel that I’m a person who is capable of expressing a fair and valid opinion. I’m not really sure what other people think of the show, the presenters, the experts or the “contestants”, but I know what I think, and if you read the next thousand words or so, so will you.

Now, I’m a guy that can’t bake – I really can’t. I suck at it, which sucks even more when you consider the fact that I love cakes of all descriptions. And I like pies. And tarts. It’s only really flatbreads that I can make, and even then, I don’t have a recipe, just a basic procedure. I mean, VERY basic. The most basic of all. Maybe one day, I’ll share it. Maybe.

Point is, I’m a man who knows what he likes, and I like most of the bakes we see on the GBBO. It’s true. I really do. That said, there are a few crappy ones – I thought that a cake from tonight’s episode (2014 semi-final) looked appalling with it’s sloping top. Bet it tasted fantastic though. They all looked very tasty.

So what do I think of the show? Well, I think it’s brilliant. It gives us incapable cooks a chance to see greatness from our fellow amateur, plus, inspiration on how to do our own cooking. I saw a Paul Hollywood recipe for flatbread which inspired the bread that I now make every so often. I built on it using the equipment and ingredients that were in our house, but regardless, a bake-off expert got me started. This was, sadly, before I started watching the show.

That all said, I’m not that keen on the judges. I think if we were to have a truly fair show, we’d need the single expert, along with a complete amateur. Then, you’ve got someone who can judge it based on the technical element, as well as the design and taste, while you’ve got someone else who is bewildered by the whole process, and so, it doesn’t matter how it was made – what type of dough, or icing, or what-have-you… Merely how it looks, and how it tastes. I hate the fact that people get judged on how they do things, as opposed to being judged based on the end result. Stop judging how we do things! Just let us do it!

The show also has a very definite level of “adaptive difficulty” as we in the gaming industry call it (and yes, that category of person includes gamers, reviewers and game-makers), whereby the better someone is at the task, the harder the task becomes. Now, I guess it’s a very basic form of the idea – if you are crap, you don’t get to the uber-difficult “level”, but it still counts, and I like it.

So, onto this year. How could I do this post without any predictions, eh? Well, I’m completely expecting Richard to win – he’s won 5 of the last 9 “star-baker” awards, and so, let’s be honest, he’s pretty much got it in the bag. However, there is no denying that the others have a very high level of skill and so it is still anybody’s game, regardless of what I think. Anyone could win and I fully expect one hell of a show to reveal it.

So, The Great British Bake Off – a great show with an unfortunate judging system, fantastic bakes and the ability to drag half of my office into a single chat with ease.


That Guy

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