An average food competition show, like the “Masterchef” or “Chef’s Table,” typically takes place in a studio with numerous fully equipped kitchens. While the bakers on “The Great British Baking Show” have the pots and ovens, they have to compete in a giant white tent.
Season 31 is underway, with Episode 2 on Netflix, in the same setting as always.
But the tent brings in many unpredictable variants like the weather, which in England sways between “chocolate-meltingly hot” or “proof-destroying-ly soggy,” writes Mallory Arnold for Vegetarian Times.
Adapting to the unknown, all because of the white tent, is an obstacle in itself, but one of the show’s judges, Paul Hollywood, appreciates that very quality.
“I mean, we’re British. We like a challenge,” Hollywood told The Wrap last year. “And I think ultimately, it tends to take you back to nature. If you’re camping, you’re in nature, aren’t you? You’re surrounded with beautiful scenery and you’ve got gorgeous views, you’re in the middle of a woods. You don’t want to be stuck in a brick house where it gets too hot. I mean, actually, the tent is a beautiful place to be aesthetically. It’s beautiful.”
Judge Prue Leith chimed in and said that without the white tent, the show may become boring, and that people watch because it’s a challenge.
“The wasps come in and the rain mucks us and it gets freezing cold. What television producers like is they like a bit of jeopardy. The reason they like it is because the audience likes it,” she said.
Why is ‘The Great British Baking Show’ filmed in a tent?
Even though many contestants went through chaos because of rain, heat or even cold, the tent is pitched at Welford Park, Berkshire, every summer. Why is that?
The idea, first floated by executive producer Anne Beattie, was to give the show an aesthetic. What Beattie was going for was a “village fete” theme and create a place where baked goods, jams and pickles could be sold, according to Mashed.
What’s it like competing in a tent on ‘The Great British Baking Show’?
How many life experiences can realistically prepare you for the baking competition show?
“It’s completely alien to your own kitchen at home,” Frances Quinn, the 2013 winner, told Cosmopolitan. ”One, you’re in a tent. Two, I bake in my own little space with the radio on, and then you’re there and you’ve got six camera men, the floor’s a bit like a bouncy castle because obviously it’s a tent.”
Quinn explained that the temperature fluctuating can create technical challenges when baking, say, a meringue. Additionally, a “lack of time and lack of fridge and work space are the enemy on that show,” she said.