REVIEW: “Nadiya Bakes” is Baking Genius

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Nadiya Bakes

Famed chef and baker Nadiya Hussain has done it again. With her newest BBC program on Netflix, Nadiya Bakes, viewers now get to see the making of her delectable array of sweet and savory bakes and her various techniques. It’s a superb display of her mastery over the craft and her ability to instill confidence in her viewers to tackle these recipes.

Nadiya constantly radiates joy and fun in her baking and cooking. It’s infectious to smile along with her as she makes these amazing treats. She has such a natural talent and charisma in presenting her recipes. She is an incredibly effective baking teacher. The reasoning she uses for her specific techniques and ingredients is seamless and palpable to understand. You learn the science of baking watching along with her, and again she explains everything she does so seamlessly. Even if you’re a total novice, she always makes sure to put what she’s doing in plain language for everyone to comprehend. Along with mastering the art of baking, she’s mastered the art of presentation for other hosts of cooking shows to take note of.

The recipes are incredibly innovative and accessible for audiences watching at home. From her coconut and mango cake to her tutti-frutti meringue, to blueberry scone pizza and Lebanese diamond deserts, there’s so much to take a try at. And it never feels out of grasp. Much like in her other cooking shows, Nadiya is keenly focused on accessibility and taking efficient shortcuts in her baking that will save time for audiences at home. Watching these eight episodes, you can tell how much joy she takes in sharing her recipes and encouraging her viewers to try their hand at making them. She’s a most encouraging teacher.

Nadiya Bakes

And the food is so colorful and diverse in origin. Particularly, Nadiya makes several dishes with South Asian and Middle Eastern origins, using ingredients like cardamom, turmeric, and tahini in her bakes. Often, when popular chefs (who tend to be white) use some of these ingredients, it’s without reverence for their origins from those cultures. There’s nothing wrong with making bold innovations in food, and indeed that is the point of cooking, but when there is blatant erasure of the people from whom the food came, it’s regressive.

But Nadiya has such deep respect and reverence for these cultures, being Desi herself and correctly identifying dishes being Lebanese. It seems like a small thing, but as Western society continues to marginalize Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) people, it’s meaningful. I’ve never approved of tahini being used in a dessert dish until now, and Nadiya makes it with delectable diligence.

Aesthetically, the food is exemplary, making all of it look all the more delicious. The cinematography for the food is top-notch, showing it from so many different angles. Nadiya makes a point to use so much color with the ingredients she uses. Even if it might be frowned upon by her mother, you can indeed use turmeric in a sweet dish for both aesthetics and taste! The designs of the cakes, puddings, tarts, and more are wonderful, and again Nadiya makes it all look so easy to do. Watching this program will have you craving some of the most aesthetically pleasing food on a cooking show that you’ll ever see.

Nadiya Bakes is a singular delight to watch. Nadiya Hussain continues to be a master at her craft, making amazing dishes for her audience to try at home. With a keen focus on accessibility, innovative and bold use of flavors and textures, and consistently delightful presentation, this is one of the best baking or cooking shows you could watch and learn from as you continue your own baking journey in quarantine. Get to watching and then to baking.

Nadiya Bakes is streaming now on Netflix.

"Nadiya Bakes"
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Nadiya Bakes is a singular delight to watch. Nadiya Hussain continues to be a master at her craft, making amazing dishes for her audience to try at home. With a keen focus on accessibility, innovative and bold use of flavors and textures, and consistently delightful presentation, this is one of the best baking or cooking shows you could watch and learn from as you continue your own baking journey in quarantine. Get to watching and then to baking.