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Beloved ‘Great British Bake Off’ Host Sandi Toksvig Is Leaving the Show

Plus, Eddie Huang wants to change the dictionary definition of “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” and more news to start your day

Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, dressed in pastel clothes, standing in the tent.
Sandi Toksvig (right) and Noel Fielding (left) have hosted the Great British Bake Off for the past three years.
Photo: Great British Bake Off/Netflix

Another shakeup in the Bake Off tent

Sandi Toksvig, one half of the dynamic hosting duo in the Great British Bake Off tent, is leaving the show, she announced on Twitter Thursday. The British-Danish broadcaster is stepping down to focus on other projects, including hosting an upcoming Channel 4 series about adult literacy.

“As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all consuming show,” Toksvig wrote on Twitter. “Spending time with Prue, Paul and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life. These are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.”

Toksvig and comedian Noel Fielding became the new hosts of the widely adored baking show after a split in 2016 resulted in Bake Off moving from BBC to Channel 4, and the departures of beloved hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and judge Mary Berry. While Toksvig and Fielding had big shoes to fill, it wasn’t long before the duo found their footing, developing a comfortable and decidedly more surreal-humored rapport that won over even the most ardent Mel and Sue fans.

In response to news of Toksvig’s departure, Fielding tweeted: “I feel like Tom without Jerry ! Mick without a Keef … Double acts are rare and magical beast and working with you was a pleasure.” On Instagram, he added: “Thank you for 3 wonderful years! You will always be my favourite Ewok Viking.”

Judge Prue Leith, who replaced Mary Berry, shared on Instagram: “I have absolutely loved working with Sandi, she’s been a brilliant host and enormous fun and I am in awe of how hard she works juggling so many different projects. We shall be lifelong friends’ way beyond the tent.” Paul Hollywood, the only remaining star from the previous iteration of Bake Off, said in a statement: “We will miss her but I hope that she will get time to visit us in the tent when we film later this year. She will always be part of the Bake Off family.”

While Toksvig will return to the tent once more for The Great Celebrity Bake Off — a charity event for the organization Stand Up to Cancer — in the spring, speculation about her replacement has already begun. Although some of the possibilities thrown about (Richard Ayoade? Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain? Maybe even … Mel and Sue again?) are intriguing, it will undoubtedly be hard to find another host so game to make her own short stature the punchline of jokes in the tent.

And in other news…

  • Chef Eddie Huang and TV host Jeannie Mai have partnered with MSG producer Ajinomoto to call on the Merriam-Webster dictionary to change its outdated definition for “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” currently listed as: “A group of symptoms (such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations) that is held to affect susceptible persons eating food and especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate.” [Vice]
  • Fast-food chains are still “failing” on chicken welfare, says a new report by the animal-welfare organization World Animal Protection. [The Guardian]
  • Southern Africa is seeing a record hunger crisis right now, with 45 million people in urgent need of food aid, according to the United Nations. [Yahoo News]
  • Vermont could become the first state to provide universal breakfast and lunch to all public school students, if a new bill goes through. [CNN]
  • Meanwhile, a new bill introduced in the House aims to cut down on food waste in school cafeterias. [Civil Eats]
  • Fun fact: Cheese slices can be dusted for fingerprints. [KMOV]
  • Paris Hilton has a new YouTube cooking show, the first episode of which contains gems like: “Careful if you have long hair, because it can catch on fire.” [YouTube]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]

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