Thursday, 15 August 2013

Master baker indeed




There's something deeply weird about people who get off watching TV chefs prep food, imagining rudies as Nigella, Jamie et al kneed their buns and lick dripping tomato juice from their well-oiled fingers. Granted, Mr Oliver can't even traverse a kitchen without chuntering one of his dribbly innuendoes but really now. Your love life has to be seriously barren to get turned on by someone with a utensil in one hand and a tea towel in the other. Greg Wallace? I'd rather slit my own throat. But you know what Mumsnetters are like. Paul Hollywood takes the current top spot in this genre - or at least he did until he started doing the old pestle and mortar with some random and everybody's fantasy died a little. 

Mr "not big in" Hollywood became an overnight baking reality TV behemoth UK-side and, quite creepily, his delicate ways with the dough translated into raw sex appeal for Middle Britain housewives. He was burly yet gentle at the mixing bowl, a Mary Berry charmer, his soft Scouse accent just rough enough, eyes of chipped ice. His wife and child put him in the safe fantasy zone, while his stinging culinary critiques added a potent layer of mystique. 

The Beeb got cock-sure and sent the darling of Bella magazine across the pond where his reality-buns format flopped, though he found solace in the arms of his none too special co-host, Marcela Valladolid, and all with a wedding ring on his finger. Gulp.

Suddenly everybody came to and noticed Paul's debonair beard was actually a silly little grey goatee, that his paunchy, short stature and 36C boobs held little charm, and that his aloof "I'm going to judge your cupcakes till the tears run down your face" persona was actually rude and annoying. And during his Marbella rendezvous with Marcela (pictured above), her son and his friend, and a huge gang of their chums - classy - he came up for air in, oh no, mirrored sunglasses that screamed Hulk Hogan '95. Dead? The fantasy was buried. He even risked stealing the tabloid title of the man known as Love Rat Darren Day for the last twenty years.

Yes, it turned out we'd all been looking at Paul through the circus mirror TV affords its talent show judges, a lethal combo of good lighting and power, whereby something quite average is distorted into an icon. Someone I know met him not so long ago, around the time he capitualted entirely in fact, and not only was he a rude prick who flounced off mid-pleasantry, he also drives a life crisis Aston Martin with a stupid number plate like "BAK3R B01" or something. 

It took a hard dose of red-top speculation to reveal the real man and let us glimpse the mega ego that lurks beneath. I suspect all this is a mere blip in the nation's affection for El Hollywood, and that after the first episode of the new series of GBBO next week they will all be back to imagining him massaging their baps. 

Frankly you'd be better off dreaming about a bearded Jeremy Paxman brutalising you over the Aga.

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