Why GBBO Is Under Fire For Its 'Mexican Week' Episode

The "Mexican Week" theme of Season 13, Episode 4 of "The Great British Bake Off" turned out to be unfamiliar territory for the hosts, judges, contestants, and evidently the producers of the series, as many viewers perceived the content in the episode as having uninformed, racist undertones.

This isn't the first time that GBBO has been called out for racism. In 2020, the British baking series made the news for its episode about Japanese cooking, which featured challenges that were instead broadly Asian and spanned Thai, Chinese, and Indian cuisines, per Digital Spy. Audience perspectives varied: While some critics accused GBBO of "cavalier colonialism" for insensitive remarks made in the episode, Japanese-born pastry chef Tomoko Kato told Insider that "there is room for both traditional and nontraditional" elements when it comes to Japanese food.

Twitter, however, was outraged, and host Matt Lucas' attempt at humor did not help. "Pardon me but what f***ery is this?" tweeted @lindseywasson. "Seven minutes in and we've had a 'cat poo curry' (katsu curry) joke." Meanwhile, the Independent said the episode promoted the racist assumption that there is no difference between the world's many Asian cultures. Two years later, GBBO is taking flak for a similar misstep.

Twitter is mortified at 'Mexican Week'

GBBO's "Mexican Week" episode opened with Noel Fielding donning a sombrero and serape, saying, "I don't think we should make Mexican jokes because people will get upset." In retrospect, if the statement had been sincere, perhaps the episode might not have caused as much uproar. "No Mexican jokes at all? Not even Juan?" asked the similarly clad Matt Lucas (via Twitter). The episode had barely passed 16 seconds, and it already had enemies.

Mispronunciations and weak attempts at humor (Fielding asked if Mexico was "a real place," per YouTube) punctuated the tainted theme. Additionally, the making of tacos in the baking show was disputed: "It's pure laziness," professor of Mexican cultural studies Ignacio Sánchez Prado told NPR.

"L.A. Mexicana" author Bill Esparza called the show racist, per Variety, a sentiment that echoed across Twitter. "I'm so incensed that they don't realize how vile and racist this crap is," said @TVasquez. Amid the outcry, food journalist Kate Sánchez noted that not all Mexicans were offended, as many were just having a laugh at what the British called "Mexican food."