The ‘Great British Baking Show’ Feather Mishap was an educational moment

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Who knew something as light and fluffy as a feather would be so controversial on The Great British Baking Show?

In this week’s episode of the feel-good baking series – Cookie Week! – the kitchen was set on fire due to a small mistake by Syabira. The blunder was small, but with stakes as high as those on GBBS, it may have cost the contestant a shot at Star Baker. But really, it shouldn’t have been as big of a problem as it was presented.

The technical challenge this week was a tricky one: the contestants were tasked with making a perfect fly graveyard cookie. “What’s a graveyard cookie with flies?” you ask, extrapolated. I am too. The actual dish is a bit more delicious than how it sounds. With raisins and brown sugar, the Scottish pastry is a fruity delight.

For those who don’t know it yet GBBS’ technical challenges, participants are given a list of (usually vague) instructions on how to prepare a specific dish. They have to stick to the basics, make identical dishes and try to impress the judges – anonymously. However, sometimes mix-ups occur. Participants misread the instructions. They forget to add a certain ingredient. They have not practiced and under pressure the firing becomes more complicated.

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So, when fan favorite Syabira – who, for reference, won last week’s tech with a killer red velvet cake – had a bit of a gaffe, she should have been forgiven immediately. Especially when you consider how beautiful that blunder has become! Instead of feathering white chocolate in the milk chocolate, Syabira created white chocolate feathers from scratch and put them on her cookies.

The result is incredible. Syabira’s feathers are beautiful, breathtaking, one of a kind, enchanting. It’s a small mistake! Plus, English isn’t Syabira’s first language (she’s from Malaysia and moved to London in 2013), so punishing her for this minor mistake feels harsh. And again, the feathers are delicious. They are perfect.

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Yet Paul Hollywood is a harsh critic. While fellow judge Prue Leith had a good laugh about the springs, Paul was less impressed.

“That’s pretty original,” Prue said with a chuckle.

“It’s ridiculous, it is,” Paul replied. Both agreed that the springs weren’t “what we asked for”.

The rest of Syabira’s technical is pretty good; the dough is a little soft, but other than that, fantastically baked. But Syabira is second to last in the technical challenge, failing to take the Star Baker title (although this week’s winner clearly deserves it!), and enduring in-tent laughter at her mistake.

Great British Baking Show viewers are as upset as I am about the whole affair, which shouldn’t have cost Syabira a higher ranking in the tech round. Her baking was impeccable and the feathers were only added to the dish.

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“As a non-Brit I feel the urge to support every other non-Brit on #GBBO,” one user shared. “Especially if they’re doing the wrong thing because of the language barrier, like yes babes, you’re so right you made it even better fucking the English language, you’re so valid.”

Perhaps it’s right to forgive the mistake, blame the language barrier, and applaud (rather than laugh) Syabira for her skills. Justice for Syabira. Next week (and every week after that) I’ll make sure she gets that Star Baker spot again. And the bakers will continue to look for more descriptive technical challenge instructions.

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