This frosting-swirled, pun-infused, questionable yet well-mannered baking show hailing from England is full of drama, fun, and sometimes happy-tears. It’s also chock-full of nuggets of wisdom. So I thought it was time to look in the mirror (…glaze) and see what I’ve learned from this dear show.
1. Mistakes don’t have to be committed to the bin.
Mistakes are sometimes in or out of our control, but regardless of that, strive to keep a level head in the midst of chaos. Iaian ended up dumping his ice cream in one episode because it hadn’t frozen all the way, and he ended up leaving because of it (#JusticeForIaian #SorryNotSorry). Don't take mistake as defeat!
2. Deliver substance AND style in everything you do
Deliver on projects and such, and don't be afraid to go that extra mile to make your work truly your own. Go that extra mile and give it that extra touch that makes it stand out! Frances was constantly reprimanded for not providing enough substance in her bakes because she was ‘too focused on style’, (even though she obviously got over that and focused on delivering substance as the season progressed and proved she totally knew what she was doing), but she knew her style and her standards for her own work. Towards the end of the season, one of the judges kept badgering on about being worried she was going to put style above substance to which she replied, "I want to put the style on the substance this time”, which brings me to another point:
3. Stand up for what you believe in
Frances knew her personal way of baking and all that she was capable of, and let people know that. Several other contestants also charge forward with what they want in a bake, regardless of the judge’s opinions. Paul verbally let Flora know he didn’t like pomegranate in bakes, but Flora said she was going to throw in some pomegranate regardless. You can’t please everyone, so why bother being a people-pleaser? If you want some pomegranate in your life, throw some bloody pomegranate into your life!
4. Help one another out
It's not all a competition, guys! Even though GBBO is a competition, everyone helps each other out in the challenges. In what other cooking show do you see such collaboration, teamwork, amiableness?? From saving tiered cakes, to saving Flora’s cream horns, to telling each other which way to flip a Jaffa cake, you’ll see the contestants lending a hand when and where they can. They openly praise one another and share encouragement. I think it would be really great if we all work harder at being nice and helpful to one another.
You may not remember all the times you’ve given someone encouragement or even a compliment, but I sure bet you remember the times people have given you a kind uplifting word. Maybe you don’t have the time to go out of your way to give people physical help (though I think we can all admit we could definitely prioritize our time differently to get to a point where helping others is much more within our means) but we all have time to lift each other up with kind words.
5. Be humble and honest
The bakers know their talented, but they know there is always room for improvement. Believe in yourself, but be humble enough to accept and embrace suggestions and be willing to improve.
6. Waiting is worth it
Waiting for your ciabatta dough to prove (rise)? Worth it. Waiting just that little longer for your eclairs to brown ever so slightly in the oven? Waiting to make a decision until you’ve had longer to think about it and guidance? Worth it. You don’t want to end up with an infamous ‘soggy bottom’ of a bad result because of a rushed decision, would you?
7. Puns make life better
In the show, Mel and Sue walk around to the contestants, offering help where they can, giving kind words, and lovingly and energetically throwing puns around the baking tent in an attempt to try to lessen the tension felt by the contestants. And honestly, we need more people to stand fearlessly above the ones who mock puns, and throw all the puns around. How can you be a Mel or Sue today? that’s the real question.
8. Be chill and enjoy the ride
Selasi was well-known for having a chill approach to baking. Sue remarked on his laid-back disposition towards the competition and he attributed this to the fact that he worked in a financial institution and said in a moment’s notice anything could go really bad. Everyone else was frenetic about their bakes while he enjoyed the ride about it. Forget cinnamon in the cake? Selasi just simply added the spice to the icing. If you are stressed about everything all the time, you’re not going to be able to enjoy the fun bits to life. I always say, if you say your job is terrible, you’re going to hate your job. But if you say your job is interesting (or a different ambiguous positive adjective) but it happens to have some difficult aspects to it as well, your outlook on your job will be totally different. Same thing applies to life!
9. Believe in yourself
You're capable of so much! Don't put boundaries on what you think you can do. Also, if you don't make it through that 6th season finale without crying, do you really have a heart? Pursue your dreams!
The Great British Bake Off inspires me so much! Here's a wholesome meme of what inspires Tamal: