Nadiya Hussain: making a meal of the GBBO bitter chocolate mosque
Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has been turned into a mould for all Britishers to pour their prejudices into.
Remona Aly, The Guardian: “Nadiya Hussain has won so much more than the Great British Bake Off”
A modelling contract? A glass cake stand? A peerage?
Nadiya has managed to defuse the negative, politicised and stereotypical discourse surrounding Muslims in one beat of a whisk. Such is her resonance that even David Cameron – whose Tory party conference speech lists pet hates that can be construed as Muslim-related, including another dig at madrasas and his declaration that “this passive tolerance has turned us into a less integrated country” – backed her to win.
The elite who turn everything into a moral education for the masses. Cameron was mad for Brain Belo to win Big Brother. Show him a darker complexion on The Chase and Dave bangs the drum. “Go-gogo, Ali from Bury,” he yells. “Make Britain proud!”
While Nadiya is the most popular GBBO baker to date, with the charming anaesthetist Tamal Ray a close second, their combined appeal meant that this year’s finale was bound to break previous records… In addition to GBBO’s winning set-up of the brilliantly witty Mel and Sue, poker-faced Paul Hollywood and traditionalist Mary Berry… its inclusivity factor has been reflected in the competitors, with Nadiya having the extra edge of being a non-stereotypical British winner – as an Asian Muslim woman in a hijab, she both represents and transcends all her identities.
Poor old Ian. The white bloke is the only person on camera not included in Remona’s tribute to inclusiveness.
White bloke Simon Kelner (Independent), says Nadiya Hussain “serves up the perfect rebuttal to Theresa May’s xenophobic rhetoric.”
No. She did not push the cake in May’s mush.
Nadiya does not represent Muslims, or British Muslims, or Asian women or even just women. She is simply an individual who represents no one but herself, in exactly the same way that if her fellow contestant Ian Cumming, a white middle-class man, had won the show, it wouldn’t have said anything meaningful about white middle-class men either.
How dare the BBC portray this cheery mix of ethnicities and sexualities and backgrounds inexplicably not at one another’s throats, and thus make it look as if multiculturalism might not be so bad after all? There was admittedly something a bit contrived about Hussain’s final showstopper, the wedding cake she’d apparently always wanted (they’re not traditional in Bangladesh, where she and her husband married). Even the dimmest viewer couldn’t miss the symbolism of an old-fashioned iced lemon drizzle accompanied by a red, white and blue sari.
Muslims who are burning with anger or, at the least, disillusioned with life in Britain should learn from Nadiya. I know I have.
MILLIONS of nut-cakes tuned in to the Bake Off final last night not entirely sure who’d win — but utterly convinced they knew who wouldn’t. We had a Muslim mum of three, Nadiya, looking quietly determined. A gay Asian NHS worker, Tamal, looking stupidly relaxed. And a bloke called Ian, looking utterly screwed.
Turn up without a box tick to your name, some viewers reckon, and you can bake an exact replica of the Taj Mahal using shortbread fingers and meringue nests and it still won’t be enough to win this most PC of BBC shows.
The Bake Off monster has got so big, the show is no longer just a cake-making contest.
It’s full-scale ideological warfare and another chance to argue about political-correctness in the BBC. To have the stomach for that, you also need to give an unhealthy toss about Flora’s cocoa carousel or Alvin’s plum tart…
BBC execs no doubt did a multi-cultural jig of politically-correct joy — long before she sealed it with a patriotic red, white and blue wedding cake. Tearful, victorious Nadiya was the best contestant. She deserved to win.
I’m simply glad it’s over. Now we can enjoy the less PC delights of the new Apprentice line-up. That includes: Ah. A Kosovan refugee, a Nigerian businesswoman and a former intern for a Liberal Democrat MEP.
Amanda Platell writes in Mail:
Poor Flora wasn’t PC enough for Beeb
When this series of The Great British Bake Off began, the BBC was proud it was the most inclusive, multi-cultural line-up ever.
Did you notice?
Now we’re down to the final three, it’s certainly a PC triumph. We are left with Muslim mum Nadiya Hussain, gay doctor Tamal Ray, and New Man Ian Cumming. Poor Flora Shedden never stood a chance. She was far too middle class — and was booted off this week after her chocolate carousel was deemed sub-standard. Perhaps if she’d made a chocolate mosque, she’d have stood a better chance.
The judges are Paul Hollywood (white; non-Jewish male), Mary Berry (white; non-Hindu female), Sue Perkins (white; gay; non-Satanist) and Mel Giedroyc (white; non-Buddhist; not a former refugee reading Gender Studies at Sussex University). We could go through the crew, whose names appear at the show’s end. Or look harder at Platell (white; immigrant). Or we could wonder if a chocolate mosque answered the brief to create a “stunning and delicious 3D centrepiece made from chocolate and biscuit”. No word was made of the need to create a place of worship from chocolate. No contestant did.
That’s not to say that something controversial, like a chocolate version of the Human Centipede, a dole queue or Jeremy Clarkson’s fist would not have given the middle-of-the-road show an edge. A chocolate mosque sounds a little dull.
A few days later, Platell adds:
…while I’m thrilled for Nadiya, I do also fear for her now she and her family have been catapulted into the seductive, cynical world of celebrity.
Stewart Lee has also seen how the winner of the twee TV show is being packaged as moral lesson for us all. He writes:
It was on 3 October that the Daily Mail content provider Amanda Platell introduced the notion of a chocolate mosque into the collective subconscious. But still, more than a week later, Platell’s enormous chocolate mosque continues to loom over my imagination like an enormous chocolate mosque, an image so absurd that it becomes a viable metaphor for its own self.
In case the news-blip passed you by, Platell made minor chocolate ripples by suggesting in print that a middle-class woman called Flora Shedden, and her chocolate carousel, were booted off the BBC’s Bake Off cake contest in favour of Muslim mum Nadiya Hussain, gay doctor Tamal Ray and “new man” Ian Cumming, because she wasn’t “politically correct” enough. Perhaps, wrote Platell, “if she’d made a chocolate mosque she’d have stood a better chance”.
…An obvious subtext to Platell’s story is that the other contestants were favoured, irrespective of the quality of their cake work, because they fulfilled some kind of politically correct quota, such as “Muslim mum” and “gay doctor”. But the idea that this could be a deciding factor is undermined by the presence of the third victor, Ian Cumming, for whom the best denigrating epithet that the increasingly desperate Platell can find is “new man”, a phrase last used pejoratively by a woman wearing legwarmers in the early 1980s.
And here’s food for more opinion writers: will Nadiya make a cake for gay weddings? A source tells the Sun:
“Since the final aired she has had a flood of requests from brides-to-be. A few she has already accepted and there is enough demand for her to consider making wedding cakes professionally. It’s something she could work on in her evenings. She is still a full-time mum, after all.”
First one to order a gay wedding cake wins.