Women rule the Bake-Off

  • BBC

It's difficult to know whether this is a victory for feminism or a resounding defeat. The five quarter-finalists in The Great British Bake-Off are all women, suggesting that: a) females are superior at the fine art of patisserie and kneading or b) that a woman's place is in the kitchen knocking up a nice batch of scones.

In truth, anyone who has watched the latest series from the outset will be aware that the quarter-finalists are all there on merit, as the men variously revealed themselves to be overconfident, hapless, inept or clumsy. That hasn't stopped some Twitter users sniffing a conspiracy amidst the fragrant frangipane aromas, ignoring the facts that two of the three series winners have been men and last year's edition culminated in an all-male final.

After Glenn Crosby, the self-proclaimed "last man standing" was eliminated, James Morton, last year's runner-up, tweeted his dismay: "First Howard. Now Glenn. Faith in #GBBO completely lost. Next week, I’m watching Grand Designs. Last man standing in #GBBO is sent packing. An all-women show from now on. Should be re-named 'Great British Bloke Off'." Celebrity chef Nigel Slater was also getting tearful about the demise of Glenn. "I SO didn’t want that to happen. #GBBO so disappointing such a lovely man!"

Both failed to notice that Glenn had decided to take an unorthodox approach to puff pastry, with disastrous results. Happily the show is judged by experts, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, rather than the fickle public, so talent prevails.

That hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists suggesting that Hollywood gets a twinkle in his eye whenever he is offered a creation by the pretty Essex student Ruby Tandoh. One Twitter user wrote: "I hope Paul Hollywood doesn’t do his usual flirtatious favouritism with Ruby again this week, it’s getting tiresome."

That is a little harsh. Hollywood would have to be made of ice not to get a little hot-and-bothered by Ruby's culinary brilliance.

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