Review: In Defense of Cultural Appropriation on The Great British Baking Show

For the first time, The Great British Baking Show's three best bakers are immigrants to the U.K.


With each new season, the baking tent that hosts The Great British Baking Show contains a broader array of the peoples that make up modern Great Britain. For the first time, the reality show's three best bakers are immigrants to the U.K.: Janusz Domagala (from Poland), Maxy Maligisa (Sweden), and Syabira Yusoff (Malaysia).

Domagala's pistachio and cherry vodka wuzetka made him "star baker" in the premiere, and odes to his new home—a full English breakfast pizza and a "fish and chip shop" smörgåstårta—landed him the coveted title again during Bread Week. Maligisa's eye for detail has also seen her named star baker twice.

But while Domagala and Maligisa are technically skilled (and, like all bakers on the show, appear to be wonderful people), my money is on Yusoff. Her red velvet cake in the opener was, according to judge Paul Hollywood, "perfect," and her Malay-inspired nasi lemak smörgåstårta was a genius bit of fusion.

Season 13 of The Great British Baking Show flipped some sensitive wigs in October with its Mexican Week episode, featuring tacos dressed in refried beans and numerous mispronunciations of pico de gallo, but don't let the "cultural appropriation" scolds put you off: The show remains an uplifting celebration of culinary collaboration.