The host says there was no intention to offend.
Audiences have lambasted the season 10 episode for perpetuating racial stereotypes and cracking insensitive jokes, but in a recent interview with The New Yorker, Leith said the baking competition did not mean to offend. “There would have been absolutely no intention to offend,” she said. “That’s not the spirit of the show.”
Later, Leith heralded the feel-good nature of the baking competition series. “The whole phenomenon of Bake Off is, to me, absolutely extraordinary,” Leith said. “This is rather a cliché thing to say, but I do think that it is a force for good, most of the time. Everything we do in life is a bit stressful — we are always short of time, we’re short of money, there are all sorts of horrible things happening all over the world.”
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF
Prue Leith on ‘Great British Baking Show’
| Credit: Everett Collection
Yet, Leith continued, “Bake Off is this safe space where the worst thing that can happen is somebody will drop their bake. And everybody will be sympathetic! Nobody will cheer, nobody will say, ‘Oh, good, you’re out of the way, and now I’m going to win.’ There’s none of that nastiness that you sometimes get in competitions.”
In the “Mexican Week” episode in question, the bakers were tasked with preparing pan dulce, steak tacos with homemade tortillas, and tres leches cakes. The cold open, featuring hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas in sombreros and ponchos, sparked backlash for the quips that followed: “I don’t feel like we should make Mexico jokes,” Fielding said. “People will get upset.” Lucas responded, “What? No Mexico jokes at all? Not even Juan?”
Audiences also rolled their eyes at the bakers’ mispronunciation of words like pico de gallo, while others decried the way one contestant peeled an avocado.
The show previously sparked backlash back in 2020 for a “Japanese Week” episode, wherein audiences also accused the bakers and hosts of cultural insensitivity. The bakers were criticized for using Indian and Chinese flavors in their Japanese bakes, among other criticisms, and Lucas came under fire for calling katsu curry “cat poo curry.”