Antony Worrall Thompson rages at 'woke' Bake Off over 'pathetic' ban on foreign-themed challenges

Antony Worrall Thompson

Antony Worrall Thompson has slammed the Great British Bake Off

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 06/09/2023

- 10:10

Updated: 06/09/2023

- 10:48

The Channel 4 cooking competition came under fire last year for its Mexican-themed week

The Great British Bake Off has an all-new look this year as Alison Hammond is taking over from Matt Lucas as one half of the show's presenting duo alongside Noel Fielding.

However, it also faces a shift to its format after Channel 4 bosses decided to ditch nationally-themed challenges after being accused of "casual racism" in years gone by.

For Mexican week last year, for example, Fielding and Lucas came under fire for wearing sombreros and using maracas while the contestants rustled up - what was deemed to be - unauthentic dishes.

Executive producer Kieran Smith told The Guardian about the change: "We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat.

"We’re not doing any national themes this year," he added, seemingly succumbing to pressure from a select few viewers.

Now, chef Antony Worrall Thompson has had his say on the changes, venting his frustration to GB News host Dan Wootton on Tuesday evening.


"It's complete nonsense," the chef began. "I mean, as William Shakespeare would say, it’s much ado about nothing.

"I can't believe the small minority who don't like these programmes don't have an on-off button on their televisions, and they can't just turn it off.

"The majority of people enjoy the programme," he added before explaining: "It's a light-hearted show. They like to have a bit of fun."

Discussing the comedic elements of the show, he continued: "Some of the jokes are pretty average I have to say but who cares? You know, it's a food programme with a bit of fun."

Worrall Thompson delved into the specifics of the issue that prompted the change: "It's some sort of cultural [issue], trying to say something was authentic.

"All chefs have got to say this isn't my interpretation of say, a Thai green curry or whatever. Don't say it's the genuine thing.

"All food can be improved. And I don't believe that our food industry would be anything without chefs always trying to improve things.

"As long as the food tastes good, does it really matter? If we stick to the rule?”

The Bake Off presenters

Prue Leith, Noel Fielding, Alison Hammond and Paul Hollywood will be back in the tent


"I've got 8,000 cookbooks and I search through these cookbooks for ideas and I nick them, a bit here and there.

"And I think when I practice the food, play with the food, I think I've made that a little bit better.

"That's what chefs do. Decent chefs want to play with food and come out with a better result. But as far as this programme is concerned, it's so pathetic that the minority have such loud voices."

Bake Off is set to return to Channel 4 later this month.

You may like