The American Baking Competition

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The American Baking Competition TV Poster Image
Competition cooks up creative goods in family-friendly fare.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

Kids could pick up on baking techniques and creative ideas for recipes.

Positive messages

The series underscores the idea that anyone can learn how to bake and enjoy it. It also highlights some of the skills and techniques necessary to produce high-quality baked goods. It's a competition, but it's all pretty lighthearted.

Positive role models & representations

The bakers are from all walks of life, and all of them bake because they love it. Paul Hollywood is sometimes arrogant when discussing recipes and/or his techniques.

Violence & scariness

Frustrated bakers sometimes slam refrigerator doors or throw dish towels in frustration. Occasionally fires break out in ovens, but no one gets hurt.

Sexy stuff
Language

Words like "crap" and "damn" are audible

Consumerism

The Simon & Schuster publishing company is referenced. Smeg refrigerators and Kitchenaid mixers are prominently visible; bookbooks written by Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid are briefly shown.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Bourbon and other alcoholic beverages are used in recipes. Jokes are made about being drunk when too much is used.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The American Baking Competition will appeal to aspiring bakers of all ages, but contains some occasional salty vocab ("crap," "damn"), a few moments of frustration (resulting in some slammed refrigerator doors), and a few silly jokes about being drunk. Logos for Smeg and Kitchenaid are visible, and books published by the judges are briefly shown.

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What's the story?

Hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION features 10 amateur bakers from all over the United States competing for a title and a variety of prizes. Each episode features the contestants competing in three timed bakes that are focused on a specific type of baked good -- a signature bake, where they must bake something that they would make for their family; a technical bake, where they must execute the same recipe with missing instructions; and the Show Stopper, which is their last chance to impress. Judging their creations are food critic Marcela Valladolid and master baker Paul Hollywood. Every week they will select a star baker, and a fellow contestant to send home. The last baker remaining wins the title of America's Best Amateur Baker, a publishing contract to publish his or her own cookbook, and $25,000.

Is it any good?

From cookies made with curry powder to chocolate peanut butter bacon pies, these tasty, creative, or just plain weird confections make an appearance in The American Baking Competition served up by people from around the United States. Details about the bakers' personal lives and Foxworthy's jokes add some limited personality to the show. Meanwhile, the judges' blunt (but helpful) critiques offer interesting details about the best ways to produce and serve high-quality baked goods.

It's not the most action-packed competition, but kids and adults interested in cooking and baking will enjoy tuning in and picking up more tricks of the trade from the folks featured here. They may also be motivated to continue developing and/or refining their own favorite recipes, too. Those who don't usually fire up the oven might even find themselves inspired.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cooking and baking competitions. What makes these shows popular? Are these shows designed to appeal to folks who cook, or are they trying to reach a larger audience?

  • What are some of the stereotypes about people who cook or bake? How do shows like this one serve to challenge these generalizations?

TV details

For kids who love reality shows

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