Dame Prue Leith says there was 'no intention to offend' with 'Bake Off' Mexican week

Custard week returned to The Great British Bake Off. (Channel 4)
Prue Leith has addressed The Great British Bake Off's Mexican-themed episode. (Channel 4)

Dame Prue Leith has said there was “absolutely no intention to offend” after a backlash over Bake Off’s Mexican-themed week.

The Channel 4 show came under fire earlier this month after an episode that featured cooking challenges inspired by the food of the South American country and saw presenters Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas wearing sombreros.

Some viewers accused the much-loved programme of cultural appropriation while others said the episode perpetuated stereotypes.

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Leith – who is one of the judges alongside Paul Hollywood – has now addressed the backlash in an interview with The New Yorker magazine, saying: “There would have been absolutely no intention to offend.

“That’s not the spirit of the show.”

Prue Leith
Prue Leith said there would have been 'absolutely no intention to offend'. (Channel 4)

The instalment was introduced by Fielding and Lucas, who wore sombreros and colourful ponchos.

Fielding joked that he did not feel they should make Mexican jokes “because people will get upset” before Lucas added: “What, not even Juan?”

As the week's competition got under way, the contestants were tasked with making food such as tacos and milk-soaked tres leches cake.

Leith, 82, also talked to the mag about how positive the baking show is.

She said it was a “safe space” in a world where people are short of time and money and where there are a lot of horrible things happening.

Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas are back to host. (Channel 4)
Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas wore sombreros in the episode. (Channel 4)

“Really, the whole phenomenon of Bake Off is, to me, absolutely extraordinary,” she said.

“This is rather a cliche thing to say, but I do think that it is a force for good, most of the time.”

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Yahoo has contacted Channel 4 for comment.

Additional reporting from PA.

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