Imagine this, Gordan Ramsey in the tent and Mary Berry in Hell’s Kitchen. Can you picture it? Pretty hard picture to paint, isn’t it? That is because it’s a picture no one wants to see and even more a crossover surely no one wants to watch. For anyone who may not know, Mary Berry is one of the iconic judges from the British television show, The Great British Baking Show and Gordan Ramsey is the star of his own show in America, Hell’s Kitchen, despite his hard-British accent. Before we get too ahead of ourselves, lets first give a bit of a synopsis of each show for those who aren’t familiar. We’ll start with the bad, and then we will make our way to the good.
So, to begin, let’s start with Ramsey’s show, Hell’s Kitchen. Airing yearly on Fox since 2010, this show has been giving people nightmares ever since. Even though it took its shape from the British version of Hell’s Kitchen, it has been a staple in many American households. The idea behind this show is to throw a group of chefs together in one kitchen to show their skills and ultimately who has what it takes to make it out on top. After many challenges and weeks of torment served by none other than Gordan Ramsey himself, a winner is chosen. The winner goes on to receive a cash prize of a whopping $250,000 and a chef’s position at a restaurant.
While watching this show, one may begin to feel a sense of terror and disgust over them all based on how each contestant treats each other, and also how each contestant gets treated by Ramsay. Having to constantly reply back to Gordan with, “Yes, chef” it feels as if the chefs were preparing to go to battle, not competing to showcase their cooking abilities. Instead of positive reinforcement, Ramsay never fails to make each contestant hate their lives just a little more than they did once they realized what they got themselves into. Along with being obliterated each episode by Ramsay, the relationships each contestant forms with each other is not one to call home about either. No one supports one another, its every man for themselves, and if one person has a bad day, they are just left discouraged by their fellow contestants.
On the flip side of this enters the refreshing ray of sunshine that presents itself as the show that is “The Great British Baking Show.” Accepting twelve amateur bakers each season to take time away from their busy lives to enter the tent and showcase their baking skills based off of their sole love for baking, this show is truly like no other. There is no hate in the tent. Nor is there tearing each other down of any kind. There is only love and support from fellow contestants, hosts, and even the judges. Although the hosts and judges shifted some seasons ago, the show remained the same. Each contestant is given three challenges, each getting harder, where they race the clock in each to finish their “bakes” all while never letting their cup of tea get too cold. No one responds to the judges with a, “Yes, chef” or gets screamed at when time is running out. If one baker finishes with time to spare, they lend a hand to another baker who is running short on time. They root for one another, while still having fun and enjoying what they came to do, bake. Oh, let me not forget to mention, the only “prize” these contestants get for winning is a bouquet of flowers, a plaque, massive amounts of hugs, and an awesome party celebrating everyone. No one is part of this show for the money or to be better at baking than someone else, they are in it because they just really love to bake.
The rise of Americans gravitating towards British television, especially the Great British Baking Show, is simple. It is because of the simplicity behind it. It is honest and lighthearted. It puts all differences aside and shows viewers that there is still good in the world. There is no yelling, only out of joy perhaps from getting a handshake from Paul Hollywood expressing his approval over something someone baked. The fun skits done by the hosts in the beginning and throughout the show are comical and pure. The atmosphere created is one everyone viewing wishes they could be a part of. Whenever watching, I always wish I lived in England and had some serious baking skills.