Ellie Kemper and Zach Cherry add wittiness to The Great American Baking Show, interview

The Great American Baking Show, photo provided by The Roku Channel
The Great American Baking Show, photo provided by The Roku Channel /

The tents have been constructed and the bakers are ready to turn that flour, butter, and sugar into stunning desserts. The Great American Baking Show on The Roku Channel captures the convivial atmosphere of the British baking competition, but it is more than simple replication. While Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith judge the various challenges, Ellie Kemper and Zach Cherry ensure that everyone is smiling throughout each bake. During a recent conversation with the pair, they revealed a few secrets from The Great American Baking Show.

As the hosts of The Great American Baking Show, Kemper and Cherry have the difficult task of bringing a touch of levity to the tent while still keeping everyone from shedding a tear over a bad bake. Even if their job is to periodically interrupt the baking process, the reality is that food television show needs that moment of diversion.

When asked, Kemper said, that “Paul and Prue set the tone and I think that Zach’s and my main objective was not to rock the boat or mess anything up. The bakers were so charming, relaxed, and easy to work with. That camaraderie just presented itself.” Everyone was really supportive of each other.

While there was an overall positive vibe in the tents, there were moments where the bakers made missteps. Both Kemper and Cherry might have felt bad for the bakers, but they were not ready to give any advice. They admitted that they did not have the skillset to take on any of these challenges. While they might be able to bake from a box mix, the from-scratch desserts were not part of their repertoire.

Out of the two, Cherry did reveal that he can bake a few items. He might try to make the occasional pie. Although, he shared that the technical bake was above his skill set.

Even though both Kemper and Cherry were required to interrupt the bakers during a really tense moment, they both found that the contestants were gracious, which made their job easier.

At the same time, there is a moment of spontaneity in those discussions. Both Kemper and Cherry have experience in comedy and improvisation. Their ability to think on their feet is similar to how the technical bake has some guidance but the bakers have to rely on their knowledge to complete the task. A wealth of knowledge is important for a comedian to draw on that background to make people laugh. In some ways, there are similarities between the two genres.

Even though everyone seemed to have a strong background, there were challenges that stumped the bakers. As fans watch The Great American Baking Show, they might be surprised that sweet and savory recipes might not always go hand in hand. Just because a baker knows how to make a delicate sweet bread, they might not be able to make a dinner time classic.

Cherry was surprised with some challenges, but those moments make the food television show an enjoyable watching experience. Overall, Cherry said that he was impressed with the bakers’ knowledge and their experiences.

Kemper and Cherry recounted some of their favorite desserts from the season. From a tea infused dessert to a visually interesting hand pie, each of the challenges showcased the bakers’ talents. They were both impressed with the illusion cake challenge.

Even though Kemper and Cherry might not have had a hand in tasting each food item, they are featured at the start of every episode. Those vignettes reveal the theme, but also add that witty take.

Given that the “Hollywood Handshake” is the ultimate approval for the bakers, FoodSided asked which scene would get Paul’s approval. Both Kemper and Cherry agreed that the Hansel and Gretal skit would get the nod. It might be because Paul was in that skit. Still, they said Paul enjoyed that moment and had a lot of fun with it.

Although everyone has to watch The Great American Baking Show on The Roku Channel to see the baking competition for themselves, both Kemper and Cherry said that it was hard to predict the eventual winner. Even if there were a few people who might soar to the top, it was not obvious.

They referred to the season as a “roller coaster because it depended on the challenge. Some items were in one baker’s wheelhouse and others were not as familiar.” Still, there were times where everyone had their moment. It is one of the reasons why The Great American Baking Show is the feel good baking competition.

The Great American Baking Show is available to stream on The Roku Channel. Ellie Kemper and Zach Cherry are the hosts. They are joined by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith as judges.