I love Chopped as much as the next person. Actually way, way more than the next person. Chopped delights me.
But even fanboys like myself have to admit that these Food Network dramas often sacrifice style for substance. It’s edited to look like everyone just barely finishes their food on time. People cry when they lose in the appetizer round. When Alex Guarnaschelli says, “the shrimp is well seasoned… but your pasta was undercooked”, the music changes like the aliens just landed.
Thankfully, The Great British Bake Off is the substantive counterpoint to the excess of American cooking competitions. It takes place in a tent in the middle of a gorgeous British meadow. The music is understated and barely there. The interactions are genuine. The judges are exceptionally fair.
The show starts with 15 contestants who compete every weekend. One hopeful baker is eliminated each episode. The best part of this format is that it gives the judges time to truly and legitimately test a wide range of baking skills. I am halfway through the first season, and I am totally confident that the winner will truly be the best baker.
The Great British Bake Off is on Netflix. You have no reason to not be watching.