In a time when television’s social influence is generally falling, the Great British Bake-off is a resounding TV success story. The competitive cooking show, which began in 2010, is now in its eighth series. It consistently musters viewing figures comparable to shows back in the day when just ITV and BBC dominated domestic leisure activity.
Many competitors go on to successful baking careers, whether they win or not. The show has inspired many spin-offs and won many BAFTA and National Television Awards (see http://awards.bafta.org/keyword-search?keywords=The+Great+British+Bake+Off).
The show has been credited with boosting the number of young people seeking apprenticeships in catering and also with increasing kitchen appliance sales, influencing kitchen colour schemes and even increasing the number of shoppers visiting Waitrose.
Fans certainly take the show seriously. Appliances Direct reported increased sales of any appliance glimpsed on the show, and there was a scandal during an earlier series when the producers were caught deliberately promoting Smeg appliances. The show favours a classical look in its equipment, and Gorenje and Neff have also done well from it. A more recent outrage was generated when viewers spotted that the quality of the contestant’s food processors had been downgraded.
That any of these appliances can shine at all, given that the show is set up in a giant tent, is a credit to their backstage engineers. Supplying power silently and routing all the wiring safely and invisibly must be a challenge. However, one thing the show makes clear is that good baking needs the best catering equipment, and customers expect it too. Catering professionals use professional rather than domestic appliances, but the lesson still applies.
A particular challenge in a tent in hot weather must be the provision of refrigerators and freezers. The tournament came close to a meltdown during season five when Iain Watters’ ice-cream failed to set in the freezer, leading to a dramatic walk-out and subsequent controversy. To see a range of professional equipment, including blast chillers, ice-cream machines and chilled display counters, visit https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/serve-over-counters.
Visit the Show’s Location
The Great British Bake Off is filmed in Welford Park, near Newbury in Berkshire. Although the cameras are usually confined to the tent, there are beautiful gardens, orchards, woodlands and nature reserves in the vicinity.
The surviving contestants include Steven, Stacey, Sophie and Kate. The final of series eight airs at the end of October.