New 'Great British Bake Off' Judge Wants Healthier Treats

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Mary Berry’s replacement Prue Leith makes a plea for less butter and sugar. The series returns June 16th.

The Great British Bake Off effect can be seen taking hold as more UK residents and fans abroad are pre-heating their ovens and firing up their stand mixers trying to emulate the amazing, indulgent pastries their favorite reality stars are baking. In fact, the whole point of the BBC-produced series is to celebrate all things cakey, flakey and crusty. And while the demand for butter is on the rise (as well as the price of butter), this reemerging romance with decadent pies and profiteroles isn’t sitting well with one person: new GBBO judge (and Mary Berry replacement) Prue Leith.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, the restaurateur, cook and television presenter let it be known that she’s advocating for a turn toward healthier treats in the upcoming re-vamped series, which is slated to premiere June 16th on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. “I would love to see healthy recipes, of course I would,” she commented. Previous seasons have included challenges involving sugar-free sweetening options, butter replacements and incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, but a new regime could bring with it an appetite for even more of them. Leith also reminded readers that cakes made with lots of butter, eggs and sugar were to be an occasional affair, “not every day.” Fair enough.

Leith has long been a promoter of healthy eating, including pushing for more nutritious lunches as the Chair of Britain’s School Food Trust which oversees lunches for students. She takes over on GBBO for the much beloved Mary Berry who left the competition series last year along with co-hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc when the producers announced a move away from the BBC to Channel 4 where the upcoming installment of the series will air. Original judge Paul Hollywood is staying on, but some fans (and members of the Food & Wine staff) have doubts about whether the show will maintain its charm in the new interation.

For the unfamiliar, the Great British Bake Off is a much less flashy (than American television anyway) reality baking competition that pits home cooks from around the UK against each other in a weekly attempt to be that episode’s “star baker.” Critiques are kind, never cruel, and always fair. There’s very little drama and, it seems, most people indeed are there to make friends. American fans can either wait until the series pops on PBS or Netflix a few months after it airs across the pond, or, as our friends at People pointed out, die-hards can try to trick Channel 4’s website into thinking they’re using a UK IP address. But, you know, at your own risk. Maybe just get some baking done and wait it out.

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