Leisure Marketing

Aug 4, 2013

Paul Hollywood Interview

James Day with Paul HollywoodJames Day is the food editor of Shresbury's 'Severn Magazine' and recenlty was invited to chat to TV Baker Paul Hollywood.

JD This is your first visit to Shrewsbury…what do you think to it so far?
PH – I love it here. I often pass through on my way to my spiritual home in Cheshire. I arrived last night and had a great pint of Salopian Beer, that’s my sort of welcome.

JD I’ve brought you a bread hamper from our local town artisan bakery, Shrewsbury Bakehouse, what do you think? ( PH tears open the bread & smells it)
PH This is very very good bread. I can tell its long fermented and really traditional bread. I love proper baking, it’s important these artisan bakers keep going.

JD What is for favourite bread?
PH I love Sourdough – its a wonderful process and creates some of the best breads you can get. Light, fragrant and rewarding.

JD what would you say makes good bread like this?
PH long ferment. That’s the secret. Modern commercial methods kill bread. This tastes like original village bread used to be. The smell just takes me back to my childhood working with my dad in his bakery. Let the yeast ferment, and it creates a wonderful smell, and lightness of bread. Great result.

JD You have greatly raised the awareness of artisan baking in the UK though the British Bake Off and your Bread programme, where do you think the trends in bread making are going?
PH Definitely moving back to where they were. We lost it in this country after the war through necessity, but thankfully it seems to be coming back – I love sharing my passions for bread making and baking.    I love one on one demos, and later this year I will be setting up a baking school in Kent to train just that.  Any bakery or baker who keeps these traditions alive deserves to do well, its very hard work, but hopefully I can help that. The crowds at the show watch the first demo of the day at The Shrewsbury Flower Show

JD you famously gave up studying sculpture to return to your fathers bakery, what drove you to do that?
PH Passion. My dad had a big bakery supplying shops and restaurants in the area, and he needed help, so he said if I get my hair cut and ‘shape up’ he would give me a job and some cash to start me off [laughs] I had long flowing locks back then (not a good look) and my dad did nt like it, so I thought about it, but not for long. Took the job, the moey and bought an Ford XR3i then entered the business. I did eventually finish the course though.

JD so how did you get from bakeries to the likes of the Dorchester, and Cliveden Hotels?
PH it was via The Chester Grosvenor Hotel. We used to eat out a lot, and one day we were having a meal there, and I just went into the kitchen and asked. We were well known by then as quality bakers. They gave me an opportunity, and the rest is history. From there I had access to apply to the other venues that wanted me to bake for them, it was a great time.

JD Was it a conscious effort to migrate to TV or accident?
PH by accident really, I was on an early TV programme with James Martin some years ago, and it sort of progressed from that.

JD Where do see yourself in 5 years?
PH I’d love to open  my own little bakery. I’d love to live upstairs, in a nice place in the UK, then come come down in the morning, fire up the bread oven and just bake. It’s so relaxing, clears the mind and takes you back to the basics. It’s a primal instinct and we have been loosing that in this country. We need to keep it alive through training. But sadly I think it will be a few years until I can retire to my Bakehouse, maybe when I am in my 60′s like my dad.

JD are you like your dad?
PH [laughs] very much so. We share the same passions too, and we can both be a bit moody!

JD how can the small bakeries survive against the supermarkets?
PH be artisan in its creation. Show it’s created by hand, unusual shapes, that’s what the French do – supermarkets can’t do that as they are all made by machine.

JD What if you hadn’t gone into TV. What would you be doing?
PH A baker definitely. It’s in my blood, and what I love doing.JD How do you relax?PH I knead bread – and it’s what I will be doing on stage shortly.

JD Thank you Paul, enjoy Shrewsbury.
PH great to meet you and try your local bread, and thanks for basket  - I think that brioche will be kept for my breakfast tomorrow!

Dont forget to check James Day Severn Magazines Food editor’s Blog on Severnmagazine.co.uk . latest blog is about the Shrewsbury Bakehouse http://severnmagazine.co.uk/let-them-eat-bread/

Follow Paul Hollywood on twitter @PaulHollywood and more news Www.paulhollywood.com.

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