Paul Hollywood rose to international fame in 2010 when he joined the cast of The Great British Bake Off. While much of the blue-eyed baker’s life is an open book, we’ve gathered 11 facts about Paul that you may not know.
Paul Hollywood’s Childhood
Paul Hollywood was born in Cheshire, England in 1966 to John F. Hollywood, a bakery owner, and Gillian Hollywood. He is the oldest of three sons. His brothers’ names are Lee and Jason.
How did Paul Hollywood learn to bake?
As a teen, Hollywood was employed at his father’s bakery after leaving Wallasey School of Art where he studied sculpture. Paul discovered his passion for baking during that time and went on to become head baker at several high-end hotels. He eventually moved from Britain to Cyprus where he worked as a baker at resorts.
Paul Hollywood’s family
Paul Hollywood is currently not married after his split from Alexandra, his wife of nearly 20 years, in 2019. Hollywood met Alexandra while working Cyprus as a head baker at a five- star hotel. Alexandra was a scuba diving instructor.
The pair married in 1998, but separated in 2013. They reconciled shortly after and stayed married until splitting again in 2017. They divorced in 2019. The pair share a son, Josh.
Their statement said: “Our focus continues to be the happiness of our son, and we would ask the press and public to allow us privacy as a family during this very difficult time.” – Paul and Alexandra Hollywood said in a joint statement.
When did Paul become famous?
Paul Hollywood became a respected baker in hotels and resorts around the world. With that recognition came a few television appearances here and ther. But, it wasn’t until he was cast as a judge for The Great British Bake Off that he experienced a new level of fame.
“Before then I was mainly working in hotels like The Dorchester in London or Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire, and it was great. When TV came along, I thought it would be the icing on the cake – but it turned out to be a whole cake on its own. I guess it did so well because it’s such a break from other reality shows. It’s very wholesome and British, and baking hits all ages, from five to 95,” Hollywood told iNews.
As Bake Off ratings climbed, Paul Hollywood became one of the most recognizable faces and names in food television.
Are Paul Hollywood’s eyes and name real?
Hollywood’s icy blue eyes are nearly as famous as his handshake. But, many fans wonder if the baker was born with those signature eyes or if they are blue due to contact lenses. Paul insists that his eyes are indeed blue on their own.
Fans also question whether or not Paul’s made-for-tv last name is real or if it’s a stage name. Rest assured that Hollywood is indeed Paul’s real last name. In fact, his full name is Paul John Hollywood.
Paul Hollywood’s other love….racing.
Paul Hollywood is a man of many talents. In addition to baking, he is a competitive amateur race car driver. In 2015, Paul kicked off his racing career by racing an Aston Martin Vantage GT4. He also owns an Aston Martin DB9 and an Aston Martin DBS Volante. He races for the team Beechdean AMR and has taken part in the Britcar Trophy Championship.
In 2015 he tested his racing skills in the 24-hour race Le Mans and the GT Cup. The has also competed at the world-famous track Silverstone numerous of times.
Paul Hollywood baked the most expensive bread in Britain.
Nicknamed the Rolls Royce of bread, Paul Hollywood’s almond and roquefort sourdough was named the most expensive bread in Britain.
“All the constituents of the bread are the finest money can buy. I have searched all over the country and Europe to make sure the ingredients are the very best available,” Hollywood told the Telegraph.
Among those fine ingredients are imported high-end cheese from a specialty maker in France and high-grade flour from a quality mill in Wiltshire, England.
The bread was sold at Harrods in 2008, at a cost of £15 per loaf (or roughly $18 in U.S. currency).
Paul Hollywood is colorblind.
It came as a huge surprise to Great British Bake Off viewers when Hollywood revealed that he is colorblind. Many were left wondering if he could judge vibrant and extravagantly colored bakes fairly with colorblindness.
But, Hollywood excused the condition and said that it only affects some color shades slightly.
“It’s only shades of green and some blues,” he explained. “If someone makes something green, I’ll see the same colour but the shade will appear slightly different to me.”
Paul Hollywood is a best-selling cookbook author.
With seven titles to his name, Hollywood’s breakout bread book, “100 Great Breads,” which has been translated into seven languages and was named as the ‘Top Bread and Pastry Book’ of 2005.
His other books include:
“100 Great Breads” (2004)
“How to Bake” (2012)
“Paul Hollywood’s Bread” (2013)
“Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds” (2014)
“Paul Hollywood’s British Baking” (2014)
“The Weekend Baker” (2016)
“Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life” (2017)
“Paul Hollywood: BAKE” (2022)
Paul Hollywood has an impressive television resume.
In addition to judging duties on The Great British Bake Off and it’s spinoffs (The Great American Baking Show, The Great Celebrity Bake Off), Hollywood has starred in several shows.
In 2013, Paul starred in two different series that aired on BBC. Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puddings was a cooking series where Paul created three different recipes in each episode – a signature pie, a signature pudding, and something inspired by a guest expert.
Paul Hollywood’s Bread was an educational show where the baker revealed secrets of breads from all over the world. He also showed how bread can be transformed into great tasting dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In recent years Hollywood’s television series’ have taken him around the globe from Japan to his namesake city in California. In Paul Goes to Hollywood (2019), the baker samples the best of American cuisine. He also Paul meets up with some famous friends and creates recipes based on his travels.
Paul Hollywood Eats… sends the baker on a “culinary and cultural road trip across Japan, exploring the extraordinary country through its food and unique eating experiences.”
Paul Hollywood’s earns a pretty penny for judging Bake Off.
While Great British Bake Off contestants aren’t paid for their appearance on the show, the judges and hosts are paid nicely for their roles.
The salaries of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are speculative. But, it has been reported that Hollywood signed a three-year deal worth $1.5 million dollars when The Great British Bake Off moved from the BBC to Channel 4. That’s quadruple what he was paid at the BBC!
It’s likely that Paul makes significantly more since his original contract expired. We can all agree that Paul is worth that nice paycheck as the Great British Bake Off wouldn’t be the same without him and his now-famous Hollywood handshake.