In a review of The Great Canadian Baking Show, Globe and Mail TV critic John Doyle criticized Dan Levy’s “feyness”—and that is not OK.
The first time it happened was in the fourth grade. His name was Miguel. He was a year older than me and he poked his head out of a wooden fort near where I was playing on the school yard.
“Do you want to be a girl?” he shouted at me.
I was stunned. I don’t even remember what I said, if I responded at all. But, from his snicker, I knew that what he said was meant as a jab. That he had sniffed out something in me that wasn’t like the other boys and he thought that was bad.
Miguel would not be the last. I grew up in rural hockey country, where even the most minor gender transgressions were noticed, noted and, more often than I’d have liked, criticized out loud.
Most gay men know the pain of being called a fag. But we also know that prejudice often comes with a softer touch. It comes coded, or posed as a question.
On Tuesday, it came coded as “fey.”
The Great Canadian Baking Show premiered on Wednesday and in his review of the new series, Globe and Mail television critic John Doyle called the show’s co-host, Dan Levy, “fey.” In speaking about the show’s judges, Vancouver pastry chef Bruno Feldeisen and Montreal’s Rochelle Adonis, Doyle was unimpressed. “Both are a tad stiff and nervous and little winded—at any moment, they know they might be swarmed by the feyness of Levy and the tweeness of Chan.”
Levy responded with a statement on Instagram that reads, “As a proud gay man, being criticized for my “feyness” (defined by Merriam-Webster as “campy” and “precious”) in today’s Globe and Mail struck me as offensive, irresponsible, and homophobic.”
It’s hard to read Doyle’s words as anything but a criticism of Levy’s gayness—a criticism that he’s not just being gay, but *acting* gay, and that will be too overwhelming or too distracting for the viewers of the show.
I shouldn’t have to say that it’s homophobic to suggest a TV host is too gay, but here we are.
Full disclosure: I’ve known Levy for nearly a decade, since we were both—to use Doyle’s word—young “fey” men in Toronto. And yes, I take issue with that word being thrown in his direction because we are friends. But I’d take issue if we weren’t, too. I take issue with it because every gay man has been called “too gay” in coded language, whether the word used is “effeminate,” “flamboyant” or “fey,” only it’s usually not in a public forum, but in the workplace, at home—or in the school yard.
Whether the word was slung with that intent or not doesn’t matter now that it has been used. Even if the motivation wasn’t malicious, it points to an unconscious bias. Doyle sees men like Levy as “fey” and feels entitled to describe them as such. That’s a problem. What’s important to recognize here is that there are some words that carry perilous weight when you pair them with a gay man’s name.
Levy’s statement was tough to read. But what really got me was the last part: “To all the “fey” kids/people out there who read that and were made to question whether their “feyness” is deserving of criticism, it’s not. You are loved for who you are.”
That’s the part I want you to read, circle, highlight and read again. Because as far as we’ve come, there’s always going to be a little “fey” boy or “butch” girl on the school yard who needs to know not to listen to the Miguel, or the John Doyle, in their life.
On the surface, comedy star Daniel Levy’s hosting role on “The Great Canadian Baking Show” may seem ironic.
After his days making audiences laugh on several MTV Canada after-shows, he had no interest in hosting a TV show again, says the star and co-creator of “Schitt’s Creek.”
And he’s a terrible baker, he admits.
“It is almost stuff of legend how bad I am as a cook,” Levy said with a laugh in a recent phone interview.
“I’m an invitee to a dinner party. I’m not the person who’s inviting you over.”
Yet when Levy watched the wildly popular BBC series “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix, he got swept up in its thoughtful portrayal of amateur confectionery makers competing in a series of challenges.
“I found myself being quite moved by a show that prides itself not on tearing people down but rather lifting people up,” he said. “It is a competition-based show but the competition isn’t about bakers talking trash about each other or sabotaging each other. It’s about the baker and their oven, not the baker and the baker beside them.”
Levy became a “diehard” fan and tweeted that if the show ever came to Canada, he would love to throw his hat in the ring to host.
“I woke up the next morning to a barrage of tweets back at me not only letting me know that it was coming to Canada but that it was coming to CBC,” he said.
“By the end of the week I had gotten a call asking if I was legitimately interested.”
Debuting Wednesday, “The Great Canadian Baking Show” features a diverse slate of 10 amateur bakers, from a human rights lawyer to a dentist and a graphic designer.
In each episode, they compete in visually sumptuous culinary challenges over three rounds — the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Show Stopper.
The final three then compete for the “Great Canadian Baking Show” title.
Levy co-hosts alongside British actress Julia Chan. Pastry chefs Bruno Feldeisen and Rochelle Adonis serve as judges.
“Those guys opened my mind to new things that I never knew you could do or knew you could eat or knew you could have those flavour combinations,” said Feldeisen, the French-born former executive pastry chef for the Four Seasons in New York and Vancouver.
Like Levy, Feldeisen was also drawn in by the positivity in a TV genre that can sometimes be cutthroat.
“I think it was very well-spirited, it brings the best of people out,” he said. “When we left, everybody was crying.”
Levy said he became known as “the sampler” on set.
“I thought, ‘If I’m going to do it you have to go all in, so I want to know every step of the process.'”
Levy even tried honing his baking skills before filming.
For three weekends in a row, he baked a focaccia bread to try to nail the recipe. By the end, it wasn’t great but it was “certainly edible.”
“There’s so much more to baking than what I thought, which was opening a box of Duncan Hines cake mix and adding a few eggs, some milk and throwing it in the oven,” said Levy.
“Bakers are focused on the details and they have the patience levels that I could only dream of having. So it’s quite remarkable to sit back and watch these people hone these kills that they’ve developed in addition to their everyday jobs.”
Vulture Festival L.A. Tickets Are on Sale Now!
We’re going to California, baby! Our convertible and sunglasses are rented, and we’re ready to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, just like Don Draper, the wind no match for the mid-century pomade in our hair. Because on November 18 and 19, Vulture Festival is coming to Los Angeles! After four sensational years in New York, we felt it was time to bring the pop-culture extravaganza to the City of Stars. Live from the Hollywood Roosevelt, expect two days of reunions, screenings, interesting conversation, laughs, love, and more, all presented by AT&T!
Who will be there (besides you, of course)? How about Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler! A Bored to Death reunion! Kerry Washington and the cast of Scandal! Lena Dunham! Natalie Portman! Sarah Silverman! James Franco! Guillermo del Toro! The cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia! Phil Lord and Chris Miller, in their first public appearance since parting ways with the stand-alone Han Solo movie! And more! More? Yes, more! (See the lineup below. More events to be announced at a later date.) Tickets are available to purchase through VultureFestival.com or follow the links in the event titles.
2:45 p.m. — 3:45 p.m.: POP TV PRESENTS SCHITT’S CREEK (Sponsored Event)
In celebration of the fourth season of Schitt’s Creek, Pop TV presents a special screening of the show followed by a conversation with its cast, including Emmy Award winners Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, alongside Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy. The Hollywood Roosevelt: 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, West Hollywood. Tickets are FREE. All guests must register for this event online. RSVP does not guarantee entry; access to the event will be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis with RSVP. Following the event guests are granted access to the AT&T Vulture Lounge poolside at The Hollywood Roosevelt, and one (1) complimentary drink per guest.
Netflix is about to get Stranger.
Just ahead of Halloween, the highly-anticipated Stranger Things 2 is coming to the streaming service on Oct. 27. But before that, there are plenty of other titles creeping in: For example, David Fincher’s new Netflix series Mindhunter arrives this month.
A few other highlights include comedies Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Miss Congeniality, I Love You, Man and Patton Oswalt’s stand-up special. (Here’s the list of September shows.)
Netflix in September: Everything coming and going
Below is a partial list Netflix’s October titles; we’ll update this story as soon as we get the full list.
Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)
I Love You, Man (2009)
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)
Cult Of Chucky (2017)
Schitt’s Creek: Season 3
Suburra: Season 1 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Donnie Darko (2001)
MINDHUNTER: Season 1 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
The Babysitter – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 4 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Patton Oswalt: Annihilation – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Smurfs: The Lost Village
The Mist: Season 1 (2017)
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Stranger Things 2 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Retribution: Season 1 – NETFLIX ORIGINAL
As the Canuck spinoff of the smash U.K. hit The Great British Bake Off creeps closer, CBC has rolled out The Great Canadian Baking Show’s slate of celebrity judges and hosts.
Vancouver pastry chef Bruno Feldeisen and Quebec-born, Australia-based pastry chef Rochelle Adonis will judge the amateur bakers, while actors Daniel Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Julia Chan (Saving Hope) have the hosting duties.
Levy was a big fan of the U.K. show and said he “actively pursued” a role in the Canadian version.
“The key to the series is the bakers — you’re rooting for them,” he said.
“It’s not about people tearing each other down, it’s about people wanting each other to succeed — because at the end of the day, you’re not competing against someone else, you’re competing against yourself. You’re competing against your bake.”
The show starts shooting this week and will premiere on CBC-TV on November 1. It will spotlight 10 amateur bakers, chosen from a cross-country casting call.
‘A delicious show’
The Canadian installment will be closely based on the original U.K. version, which was a ratings powerhouse. The BBC estimated the most recent season finale, last October, drew nearly 15 million viewers.
Chan was watching from abroad and got hooked.
“It’s just such a delicious show,” she said. “I love how supportive everyone is — not just the hosts and the judges … but how they are with each other, you know, helping each other if one finishes early, or all of them rooting for each other.”
Similar to the U.K. model, the amateur bakers will face off in three rounds each week — signature bake, technical bake and the show-stopper — testing their skills and creativity.
Three finalists will vie to be crowned winner.
‘Diversity of Canada is going to come through’
Feldeisen has competed in several TV cooking shows, like Chopped Canada and Donut Showdown. This time he’s on the other side of the table, critiquing the competitors.
Feldeisen, who is executive chef at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Wash., on the British Columbia border, has worked at prestigious kitchens in France, Canada and the United States. He’s twice been nominated for a James Beard Award, considered by many to be the Oscars of food.
“I’ve seen a surge of fabulous bakeries, pastry shops … there is a global enthusiasm about good pastry,” he said. “There is enough bad news in this world, so if you can bake and share what you do, that’s fantastic.”
Adonis has returned to Canada to judge the show. Born and raised in Montreal, she moved to Australia when she was 10 and trained as a pastry chef in Europe. She is famed for her creative desserts and elaborate wedding cakes, which she has baked for both the British and Saudi royal families.
She now runs a salon in Perth, where she offers high tea, brunch and cooking classes.
“Having the chance to come back to Canada, doing what I love doing, it was like a maple leaf exploding inside of me when I got the call,” she said. “It was a no-brainer.”
The show’s format has now been adopted in more than 20 countries, but she’s hoping the Canadian version can offer something a little bit different.
“The diversity of Canada is going to come through,” she said. “I’m hoping to taste that too — the differences between west coast and east coast. I think that’s where people’s heritage can come through in the food. You can taste it.”
CBC will air the most recent season (the 7th) of The Great British Bake Off starting at the end of August as part of the lead-up to the new series.