Friday, 06 May 2016

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Paul Hollywood

…is a baker, chef, and television presenter. On TV he is best known for being a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off alongside Mary Berry. He has released a number of cookbooks including 100 Great Breads and How To Bake.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m doing recipe development for another book after The Weekend Baker.

When are you at your happiest?
When I’m baking. I do enjoy it when I’m up to my elbows in flour. I enjoy it when I’m at home and I’ve got all my bits around and I know where everything is and I can just crack on with it. Also when I’ve got my helmet on and I’m racing.

What is your greatest fear?
Getting an injection at the dentist. When they put that needle in and say ‘You’ll just feel a little prick’ and I go ‘Ahh!’ I’m a baby when it comes to needles and stuff like that.

What is your earliest memory?
Playing with my mates as kids around the house. I had a great friend called Warren who lived across the road and we would always play. We’d be running inside each other’s houses playing monsters or something. Also, going down what I thought was a massive slide into a paddling pool, which was actually only a few feet high but to me it was huge.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
I’m impatient and I’d like to be a bit more patient.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My dad, being the baker he was. He got me into all of this.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’ve got a motorcycle that I love, it’s a Kawasaki H2. I think it’s fantastic.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
People who drive in the outside lane on motorways when they shouldn’t.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I don’t like looking at myself on camera, in photographs or anything else.

What is your favourite book?
First Light by Geoffrey Wellum. He was the youngest Spitfire pilot in the Second World War. It’s an amazing book. Incredible people, I don’t know how they did it.

What is your favourite film?
A Bond film; I did like Spectre but I still go back to Casino Royale.

first-imp-590-2Paul’s flavour of the week: Geoffrey Wellum’s First Light, avocados, Led Zeppelin and his Kawasaki H2 motorcycle

And your favourite record?

I love Led Zeppelin.

What is your favourite meal?
I do love steak Rossini. I also love avocados. I’m even happy with just an avocado and prawn salad.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Michael Palin, he’d be fascinating to talk to; Robert Plant, Ayrton Senna, and my granddad.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
There are loads of different things. It tends to come from journalists.

Do you believe in aliens?
Yes. I think if you say no you’re more naive than if you say yes. The laws of averages say there has to be alien life somewhere.

What is your secret vice?
Yum yums are delicious with a cup of tea. Fattening, but good.

Do you write thank-you notes?
I don’t write notes, most of the stuff tends to be sent electronically, so through social media.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘Soggy bottom’.

What would improve the quality of your life?
Getting fitter.

Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
I can use nunchakus quite well.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
‘I told you I was ill.’

Paul Hollywood’s new book, The Weekend Baker (Penguin/Michael Joseph, £20), is published on 19 May. City Bakes is currently airing on Food Network.


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