Best known for co-hosting The Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollywood started his baking career as a teen working in his father’s bakery. As well as hosting the much loved baking competition, its spin offs Junior Bake Off and the US version The American Baking Competition, and celebrity versions for Comic Relief and Sport Relief, Paul provides Waitrose with his own range of branded bread, The Paul Hollywood Artisan Bread Company, and has written a series of baking books.
Before Bake Off, Hollywood worked as the head baker in exclusive and renowned hotels such as The Dorchester, Cliveden and The Chester Grosvenor. Following this, Paul travelled through Cyprus and the Middle East to discover their ancient baking techniques – and even baked bread in the desert.
After 7 seasons of Bake Off, you may think you know it all about this straight talking scouser, but we’ve uncovered a few lesser-known facts that may surprise you.
1. There’s a reason he’s so good at handling dough…
Paul didn’t originally train as a baker, but as a sculptor! He studied sculpture at the Wallasey School of Art before leaving the course to work in his father’s bakery.
2. His loaves can cost you a lot of dough…
Paul created the UK’s most expensive bread, a Roquefort and almond sourdough, selling for £15 a loaf at Harrods. Mr Hollywood took bread, a usually cheap staple, to the next level with the addition of Roquefort from rural France, costing £15 per kilo, and flour from a specialist miller in Wiltshire.
3. He knows a thing or two about cars…
As well as being a baker, Paul is a competitive motor racer. His passion for racing is clear from his Instagram feed, which is filled with more pictures of cars than bread!
4. His favourite food isn’t bread…
It may not be surprising, given the time he has spent travelling in Cyprus, that when asked to choose his favourite food, Paul leans towards Cypriot cuisine, one of his favourite dishes being Souvlaki – grilled meat often served in a fresh pita with salad garnishes and sauces.
5. He’s not all about fast cars and luxury loaves…
Paul is a patron of the Kent charity Porchlight. Porchlight help homeless and vulnerable people in Kent get help with their mental health, housing, education and employment.
6. He knows when to take it back to basics…
He may be an artisan baker, but Paul always keeps a load of sliced white bread in his bread bin as he claims it makes the best bacon butty!
7. But when it comes to comforting cakes, his taste is more refined…
When it comes to comfort food, most of us think of simple yet indulgent foods, like a homely roast dinner, oozing macaroni cheese, decadent brownies and ice cream, or a fresh, cheesy pizza. As a baker, of course Paul has gone for something with more finesse, saying that his ultimate comfort food is Sachertorte, the famoulsy intricate Austrian chocolate cake.
Essential Paul Stats
- How old is Paul Hollywood? 51
- How tall is Paul Hollywood? 5’7.5
- How many children does Paul Hollywood have? Paul and his wife Alexandra have one son, Josh.
- Who are Paul Hollywood’s parents? Paul’s father, John F. Hollywood is a baker and the owner of the Yorkshire based chain Bread Winner. His mother is Gillian M. Harman, his parents divorced when he was 10.