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Paul Hollywood, the bread maker at Margate

By KentOnline reporter

Housewives across the county will be heading to the theatre as Great British Bake Off presenter Paul Hollywood comes to town, writes Chris Price

Paul Hollywood
Paul Hollywood

After a tough year, Paul Hollywood is glad to be getting back to what he knows best: baking.

The British Bake Off heartthrob has been forced to deal with revelations about his private life during the last 12 months, but things are back on the rise.

His family life on track, Paul is touring the UK with his Get Your Bake On show, which he is bringing to Margate’s Winter Gardens, not far from his home in Wingham, near Canterbury.

As well as sharing stories and recipe tips as he bakes for the audience, four people will be picked to come on stage and take part in a challenge, with a winner picked by onlookers.

Paul said: “The point of the tour is it’s interactive and I want people to ask questions. It will cover recipes from when I was a kid to now. The idea is to get interactive and have a laugh. It will be a giggle but I want it to be informative too.”

Given the recent turbulence in his private life, Paul is not worried about getting any tough questions from the audience.

He said: “The questions are always about baking. Generally the public keep it to baking. That is what they want to know.”

Paul, 48, has certainly paid a price for the huge success of Bake Off, which is moving from BBC2 to BBC1 for its next series.

Last year he also closed down his Aylesham-based baking business Paul Hollywood Artisan Bread Company saying he “didn’t have time to run it anymore”.

He said: “I wasn’t there. I was away from my family and the media side took over my life.

“I physically wasn’t there and you can’t run a business when you are not there. That was the killer thing. I couldn’t keep an eye on what they were doing. I might do it again in the future.”

A baking man through and through, Paul grew up in Wallasey on the Wirral, near Liverpool, and baked his first bread with his father aged eight.

His career began working for his father’s bakery business in Yorkshire before going on to become head baker at hotels like the Dorchester, Chester Grosvenor and Spa and the Cliveden Hotel, Berkshire.

His media career began more than a decade ago, appearing on shows like the Generation Game, This Morning and the Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Yet he earned the title of celebrity chef when he began presenting the Great British Bake Off with Mary Berry in 2010, becoming the thinking housewife’s crumpet in the process.

He said: “It’s very flattering. I take it [the heartthrob status] with a pinch of salt. It is very sweet but it’s not really real. It’s something which I don’t really notice.

“People with me notice it more than I do. It just goes over my head.”

Ever the traditionalist, Paul says his favourite dinner is sausage and mash with onion gravy but admits he does have a weakness for steak and chips.

Controversially, he says his top dessert choice is lemon parfait, rather than something you bake.

He said: “I love citrus flavours. I like to get away from baking when I eat but I am very traditional. Meat and two veg and I’m happy.”

Paul Hollywood’s Get Your Bake On show comes to Margate Winter Gardens on Wednesday, May 14. Tickets £28.50. Box office 01843 292795.

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