One of the most popular cooking shows in America right now made a seamless transition from British TV–but one aspect of the show that seems to stymie new viewers is the question of any Great British Baking Show prize money. The lack of “traditional” reality TV competition is one thing that makes it über-appealing to many viewers; still, there has to be some sort of grand cash prize, right? Something beyond the famous cake dish the winners get to take home?
Unfortunately, if you respect the crazy amount of time and energy all twelve contestants have to put into the competition, the answer is No. (Though that answer could also be fortunate, if you believe in the purity of the competition and the camaraderie between the contestants and all that jazz.) Great British Baking Show contestant Martha Collison, who–spoilers!–made it all the way to the quarterfinals in the first season to be broadcast on American shores, confirmed the lack of any prize money in a fantastic new interview with Barrelhouse.
The prize for winning the competition is, in fact…”just the cake stand,” Collison explained:
Everyone is so surprised and thinks there must be some secret cash, but all we really get is a bunch of flowers and a cake stand. But then, you also kind of become a national treasure just by doing it because everyone in Britain loves the bake off so much. People last year watched the bake off more than they watched the finals of the World Cup, which is crazy. To think that one in every six people in the UK have seen me baking was really weird, and it became strange to go out on trains, and shopping, and have strangers tell me things like “that was a great pudding” or “what a nice meringue.”
Martha also spoke at length about the lasting friendships she formed during her time on the show. “[The producers] encourage us to be friends with each other,” she said. “We stay away for the weekend together, and they take us out to meals so we can get to know each other and properly support each other.” And, even after filming was done and the season aired, Martha & company all keep in touch via a shared WhatsApp group.
It’s also worth pointing out that the exposure the finalists receive from such a beloved show often translates to financial gain after their series’ have aired. Martha is a case in point: her very first cookbook, Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking, has just been released.
Finally, you might be wondering why it looks like the show has two different names. The reason is simple: it does! In Britain, it’s known as The Great British Bake-Off, a fact evidenced by the photo at the top of this article. However, because Pillsbury owns the phrase “Bake-Off,” the name had to change for American viewers before the show could be broadcast, and “The Great British Baking Show” was born.
New episodes air Friday nights on PBS.
(Photo credits: Great British Baking Show prize money via Instagram, BBC)