Warning: this article contains spoils
Was this a vintage for The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4)? I’m not sure it will be a great series, even if it was a good, reliable series. It was, however, a strong finale, with strong competitors who were, as we have often been reminded, the most balanced in Bake Off history. Perfectionist Giuseppe, esthete Crystelle and self-taught containment prodigy Chigs had all shaken hands with Paul Hollywood twice and had all been crowned Star Baker twice. It was impossible to say who was going to win.
It was also difficult to root for just one of them, as they all had their charms, highlighted by the segments showing their families at home and the reasons they took to cooking in the first place. I’m a sucker for a story, and these were short, sweet, and charming. While I found Giuseppe’s cool precision a bit predictable for most of the series, his dad’s lovely post erased it all, highlighting where he came from and why he was so good at it. We found out that Chigs’ father passed away when Chigs was young, which led him to embrace life and opportunities; Crystallle’s pastry shop seems to have given meaning and meaning to his life.
For a show that is all about making the best cakes (and bread, pastry, cookies and other concoctions that the judges talk about as if they were old friends but only three Bavarian breeders have ever made before), there’s always that under -current of depth, but it is never sweet. I always love pairing Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding as presenters, whether they pretend to kiss or distract rushed contestants from the task at hand. Their humor is just odd enough to temper the cuteness and kind enough to stick with the spirit of the show. Channel 4 has commissioned three more years of Bake Off, and hopefully those two will stick to it.
As is often the case with cooking competitions, the final is not really a showcase for the best work of the contestants. The pressure is too strong, the stakes too high, the ideas a little too ambitious. What started out as a level playing field remains for most of the final, as no one really manages to do well. Crystelle’s carrot cake is wobbly, Chigs’ Belgian buns look like those comedic stress balls from an 80s executive’s office, Giuseppe discovers that the only thing that can derail his cool head is a cold oven, which turned off because the door was left ajar. The Showstopper brief – a Mad Hatter snack, showcasing at least four baking disciplines – was brilliant, and as the bakers scurried around the tent performing inhuman baking feats at lightning speed, I felt that familiar annual pain: the realization that I would miss them.
It might not have been as vital and calming as last year’s Lockdown Edition, but it still had its moments. I would have loved to see the remarkable Lizzie make it to the finals, if only to find out what she would have done with that Showstopper briefing, and if her former pet pig would have made an appearance. Still, we had a Leicester City-colored Cheshire cat, a losing nightmare of the competition rendered in focaccia and mushrooms that somehow escaped the two-way treatment, but gave it to Giuseppe, the most solid baker. and the most reliable, seemed to be a solution. finish, oven upset or not. âYou kids did a Bake Off,â Noel said proudly at the end of all the chaos.