Viewers of The Great British Bake Off have criticised the latest episode for its “offensive” depiction of Mexican food and culture.
The popular Channel 4 reality series branded its latest instalment “Mexican Week”, and saw contestants try their hand at making food inspired by Mexican cuisine.
Fans of the series condemned the stereotypical placement of sombreros and maracas in the episode, as well as a cake decorated with a moustache. The show’s presenters were also criticised for mispronouncing Spanish words, and for making “tacky” jokes.
In one clip, which was used in the social media promotion for the show, Lucas is seen using the typically Spanish name “Juan” to pun on “one”.
The episode also saw contestants make tacos, which some viewers described as “butchering” the famous Mexican dish – while others suggested the segment was a needless abandonment of the show’s baking-first premise.
“I love Bake Off, but Mexican week was a mistake,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Tacky jokes about Mexican stereotypes and no attempt to properly pronounce the language (from Noel/Matt). Hopefully it’s a one-off.”
“Attention USA #GreatBritishBakeOff fans: Mexican week really is THAT bad,” wrote another.
“‘Is Mexico a real place?’ is a joke that The Great British Bake Off thought would be cute during ‘Mexican week’,” someone else commented.
“You could have honored an amazing culture instead of stupid racist jokes and tropes,” someone else wrote.
Others, however, suggested the reaction to the episode was overblown, while others simply expressed amusement at the “ersatz” Mexican food on display.
— Scare-ald and Maude (@andyheriaud) October 5, 2022
The Independent has contacted Channel 4 for comment.
In an email to NPR, Ignacio M Sánchez Prado, a professor of Mexican cultural studies at Washington University in St Louis, responded to the show’s social media campaign.
“The fundamental issue is that the episode and its campaign follow a script on Mexican culture that us Mexicans, from either side of the US-Mexico border, see very frequently,” he said.
“The use of cartoonish sarapes and sombreros as props and disguises, the misidentification of Mexican food with the stuff sold in Taco Bell, the borrowing of beloved dishes like tres leches to make versions that have little recognisability to Mexicans, this is something that we see every Cinco de Mayo and every Hispanic Heritage Month.”