Please wait, the site is loading...

Food

Paul Hollywood: my most memorable meal

by Victoria Young
Paul Hollywood: my most memorable meal
Photograph by Martin Poole

The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood remembers a lazy summer afternoon in Cyprus.

I’m lucky enough to have eaten at the most fantastic Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world, but the meals I remember best are the simplest. A case in point is when I went to an off-the-beaten-track restaurant in Cyprus, where I was working. I’d taken a job as head baker at the Annabelle Hotel in Paphos for a year, but I loved living there so much that it ended up being six! Cyprus is beautiful and the Mediterranean diet is amazing. I had a fantastic job and a great social life, so no wonder I didn’t want to leave.

This lunch was to celebrate my 30th birthday with some good friends. Unusually, given that we all worked at the same hotel, we all had the day off, so we decided to go for a motorbike ride. I remember riding under blazing sunshine over stunning mountains overlooking the sea, then down a dirt track until we came to the restaurant. Viklari Castle is on a path above the beach, and it’s all stone tables and basket chairs, surrounded by vines, with a banana plantation behind. There’s no electricity, and most of the food is cooked on the barbecue by Davos, the owner. There’s nothing modern about the place, which is what makes it so fantastic.

Our lunch was so simple: Greek salad with olives, greens and onion; a jacket potato, followed by a big bowl of pork souvlaki, slow-cooked on the barbecue with some red wine, oregano and salt. The depth of flavour in the pork was incredible. Despite being very basic, the food was really special. It wasn’t a boozy lunch because we were all riding bikes, but we shared a couple of bottles of Keo beer. And, as always, we talked about work and food– never about girls!

What made that lunch unforgettable had a lot to do with the food, but also the fantastic Cyprus heat, the stunning scenery and, of course, the company. Doros, Costa, Tyrose and Dave were a mix of South African, Cypriot and American; a couple of chefs, a baker and an engineer. Dave is back in the UK and the others are still in Cyprus, so I see them when I go back. They all think it’s hilarious that I’ve become a household name, and I think that all the time, as well.

I’ve often tried to recreate the pork souvlaki by doing the same thing on my barbecue. I use pork belly and, once there’s some colour on the meat I put it in foil and cook with red wine, oregano and salt for an hour or so. It’s pretty good, but not quite the same. Cyprus had a huge influence on the way I cook – I love barbecues and I also have a pizza oven that I use to make Cyprus-inspired pizzas. My friends frequently descend to eat them in what I call Paul’s Pizzeria! I’ll never forget my time in Cyprus and I visit as often as I can. And I always go back for some of that mouthwatering souvlaki.

A Baker’s Life: 100 Fantastic Recipes, From Childhood Bakes to Five-Star Excellence, by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury, £26) is out now.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years