The Great British Bake Off has been called out for casually showing racism towards East Asian culture. In the latest episode, the contestants were tasked with making some items from the Japanese cuisines in the episode called Japanese Week to celebrate the culture and cuisine from the country. However, several contestants on the reality show pushed the authenticity of the Japanese food aside and mixed it with Chinese, Indian and American fillings. This offended many netizens, who took to social media to express their displeasure about the ‘borderline racism’ on the international reality show.
The Great British Bake Off is currently running its 11th season and in the 6th episode, the show had Japanese Week. The contestants were asked to make bao buns, Kawaii cakes and matcha mille-feuille. Even though the contestants were allowed to have fillings of their choice, people on social media were displeased that several contestants chose fillings which broke the authenticity of the Japanese food items and made it to ‘generalised Asian food’ list.
Numerous people flooded Twitter with tweets about how “cringy” it was to watch several contestants mixing the two cultures during the Japanese Week. A number of other people complained about how ignorant the programme was towards the Japanese cuisines. Several contestants were heard saying on camera during the show that their dish is “more Chinese inspired than Japanese”.
While some contestants filled the buns with Chinese fillings, an amateur baker styled her dish like Pandas, which originate from central China. Kawaii cakes are inspired by “cute” aspects of Japanese culture and the cakes are decorated depicting the Japanese cultural elements, however, they are not an established part of Japanese cuisine. Check out some of the tweets below.
Absolutely cringing at the casual racism/lack of understanding about the cultures of east Asia tonight on #GBBO— Laszlo Simity (@lsimity) October 27, 2020
This racist ass “Japanese week” episode of #GBBO being:— Will Of The People (@willwhyler) October 27, 2020
🔴 Bao (Chinese food)
🔴 “Kawaii Cake” (not a thing!)
🔴 Matcha Mille Feuille (fair enough)
Imagine being this much of a flop when Japan has so much delicious cuisine. Plz try harder!
Erm so this is actually awful. I know the Japanese enjoy sharing their culture but when you allow bakers to make “Chinese inspired food” in Japanese week that is not culture sharing but racism. Especially given the history between the two countries. Insulting all around. #GBBO https://t.co/iS4HmeN6DE— Rachael Bellis (@raeraelefay) October 28, 2020
So was Japanese week just an excuse to make weak puns and mildly racist jokes or what? #GBBO— IA. (@ifetteok) October 28, 2020
I had hopes for Japanese week but generalising all Asian food with Japan feeds the racist narrative that all Asians are the same, which is not cool in any time but especially now as East Asians are being racially abused due to Coronavirus. #GBBO— alice 🇪🇺 ★ BLM✊🏿 #ENDSARS 🏳️🌈 TRANS RIGHTS (@randomsunrises) October 27, 2020
While there was a heavy backlash, there were several netizens who supported the choices of the contestants. Some netizens wrote on Twitter that one must enjoy the show and that not everything is racism. Check out some of the comments below.
#GBBO and again people shout racism, get a grip, not everything is racist but if you look hard enough you'll find it,. Take the joy out of a fun programme to fit your misery filled agenda. Saying that it should have been called Asian week, but I wasn't racist just a mistake.— Brett Madden (@BrettMadden18) October 28, 2020
So the easily offended are bleating the racism card at #GBBO. Let’s remember it was the steamed buns that were the Japanese bit, the fillings they were free to choose any flavours they wish! Were the Cornish folk offended when people were putting halloumi in their pasties? No!— Anna Southam (@dogladybirstall) October 28, 2020
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