The Great British Baking Show revived my palette

Jackson Sorensen, Columnist

Over the course of my adult life, I’ve had to learn and step up my game when it comes to certain skills. Cooking is one of those skills. 

Over the summer, I was browsing Netflix for something to watch, because of the COVID-19 lockdown and all, and I stumbled across “The Great British Cooking Show” or “The Great British Bake Off.” I instantly thought “oh this should be good!” 

It piqued my interest because not only does cooking and baking run in my family, but I’ve always wanted to visit the UK. 

I figured that this would be just another baking show where the contestants get certain ingredients and make something spectacular, but I was wrong. Twelve of Britain’s best amateur bakers compete for the title of “Best Baker.” Each week one person is voted off and one is voted “Star Baker.”  

As the season, or collections on Netflix, goes along, you begin to learn a little bit about each contestant and their lives little by little and it’s sad when my favorite baker gets sent home. What was so fascinating was how the bakers were able to come up with such elegant presentations of their bakes with equally as elegant flavors. 

My favorite collection was the first one because the bakers were all so funny and the bakes that they created were just stunning. I personally loved Nancy the best because she was just so funny and an overall just creative baker. She made it to the final with her two other baker friends, who also deserved to be there. 

Considering that this first collection was so good, it really set my expectations high and every collection after delivered, but not as much as that incredible first collection. I think I watched the entire first collection in about three days.  

Since I’ve been watching the show, I’ve really updated my palette. Who would’ve thought to combine chocolate and orange together? I certainly didn’t and man does it really brighten up the chocolate flavor. 

From my interpretation, the bakers spend two days in “The Tent,” as they refer to it in the show, and they are told what they will be baking over the weekend. The bakers then make a signature bake, decided by the judges off-air to the bakers, and they will come into The Tent with the ingredients to make that bake. 

The next challenge is a blind technical bake where the bakers are given a very basic recipe for a classic dish that one of the hosts, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, are known for and will attempt to recreate it. After the judging, the bakers head home and come back the next morning.

The next day is dedicated to one bake, the showstopper. The bakers are to use a certain type of bake and turn it into something extravagant, something you would put as a centerpiece for a gathering. 

The possibilities ranged from a marriage proposal scene recreation that was made entirely of gingerbread to a lion made entirely out of bread. If you thought that was hard enough on its own, the bakers also have to make the bakes from scratch and then assemble them by hand. 

Where this show influenced me was in my own baking and cooking confidence. I have made german chocolate cake and buttercream icing from scratch since watching this fantastic show. I wanted to take on a food responsibility at Christmas time so I decided that I wanted to do desserts. 

I made mini cheesecakes and cake batter fudge from scratch, all for Christmas. To top the cheesecakes, I made a chocolate orange sauce and a white chocolate raspberry sauce. My family absolutely loved them and told me that I should have made a double batch so that they could have more. 

I was already fairly decent in the kitchen because I had to be an adult, but now if the recipe isn’t looking quite right or doesn’t taste quite right, I have a more keen eye on how to solve that problem.