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Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood comes in Belfast as celebrity chefs prove a winning recipe for fans

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 15/10/2016

Chefs Paul Hollywood and Paul Rankin officially open the BBC Good Food Show at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall
Chefs Paul Hollywood and Paul Rankin officially open the BBC Good Food Show at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall
Chef Paul Hollywood at the BBC Good Food Show at the Waterfront Hall
Chefs Paul Hollywood and Paul Rankin at the BBC Good Food Show at the Waterfront Hall
Paul Hollywood and wife Alexandra

For Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, baking is something that runs deep in his family.

"It's part of my DNA," he said. "I grew up with that sort of baking, with a home style of baking."

Hollywood was in town yesterday as the BBC's first Good Food Show Northern Ireland kicked off at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

He was among the celebrity chefs who spoke, signed books and demonstrated recipes for those in attendance.

Paul's two recipes were no-knead bread from his new cookbook, The Weekend Baker, and an apple plate pie based on the recipe that his grandmother and mother used.

Paul is best-known for his role as a judge on The Great British Bake Off alongside Mary Berry.

The show is in its seventh series on BBC, and Northern Ireland's Andrew Smyth has made it to the semi-finals.

Paul and Mary have been judging the programme together since it started in 2009.

He said that he and her were great friends and often saw each other outside work.

"I've known Mary for 12 years and I'll always be mates with her," Paul explained.

"In fact, she phoned me up yesterday saying, 'Where are you?' because normally I pop in to see her and I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks."

Paul's mother was an artist who loved to bake, and his father had a bakery.

"He was the one who allowed me to train with the business when I was young," he said. "I love baking - flour runs through my veins, so I think the flour is where it comes from! But it's got to be dad, really."

When Paul was growing up, he watched clips of Mary, on The Breakfast Show with Frank Bough, though he does not remember it. His mother reminded him when he met Mary years later, after which he watched some of the old clips.

"She hasn't changed - she's pickled in formaldehyde," the presenter joked.

He also paid a warm tribute to his co-host, praising the energy that keeps her going through full days of filming, from 7am sometimes up until 8pm. But he also admitted that she took the odd nap when they were on breaks.

Even after the cameras are turned off, the pair are close. "We get back to the hotel, she'll have her Chardonnay, I'll have my G&T and we'll sit and put the world to rights," Paul said.

Even though Mary will leave the Great British Bake Off before it switches to Channel 4, Paul is sticking with it.

"I'm still doing what I've always done," he said. "I think for me, when they picked me to do the job seven years ago, I was really shocked that I was given the chance to do this programme.

"To see it grow over the years... I just couldn't walk away from my job. I think it comes down to I love doing my job. I love evangelising about baking and passing the word on and I will carry on doing that."

The Good Food Show Northern Ireland runs until Sunday and is set to return next year and the year after.

The celebrity chefs in attendance this time include Northern Ireland's Paul Rankin, James Martin, Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King and John Torode.

First Minister Arlene Foster said the show gave Northern Ireland a chance to showcase its unique food and drink heritage.

"Our Michelin-starred restaurants, award-winning food tours and Gold Star Great Taste Award-winning products all strengthen Northern Ireland's reputation for excellence in food production," she added.

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