Why GBBO Fans Want Paul Hollywood To Toughen Up

Known as the tougher critic on "The Great British Bake Off," Paul Hollywood is the steely judge keeping contestants on their toes. In fact, a contestant's pinnacle of achievement on the show, maybe even more than winning star baker, is receiving a famous Hollywood handshake. A once rare gesture that has gotten more common in recent years, some argue that the Hollywood handshake has lost its value. However, Hollywood's increasingly frequent handshakes aren't the only reason why fans think the judge has gotten softer over the years — or why some want him to toughen back up.

Everyone has foods that they dislike, and food competition judges are no exception. Still, these critics are held to a higher standard and are generally expected to put their aversions aside to do their job and evaluate dishes objectively. Composing one half of GBBO's judging duo, Hollywood drew up criticism from fans in Season 11 when he told his co-judge, Prue Leith, to "be open-minded" about tasting a contestant's dish containing baked beans, an ingredient she said she "hates" (via The Sun). Hollywood's comment got fans heated given that the week before, his dislike of gherkins meant that a couple of bakers had to do extra work to make pickle-free creations just for him. This 2020 gaffe was a topic of internet conversation yet again as fans discussed Hollywood's "softening" image.

Fans say Hollywood needs to eat the gherkins

A Reddit thread on r/GreatBritishBakeOff asked Redditors about their unpopular GBBO opinions, and one commenter readily chimed in, "I feel like if Paul doesn't like gherkins he should still have to eat them." The comment has over 160 upvotes, signaling that this "unpopular" opinion isn't so controversial at all. Another Redditor concurred, pointing out that Leith has eaten contestants' bakes even when they contained foods she doesn't care for. "Jarring considering how the contestants fell over backward trying to redo the recipes with gherkins, but they didn't think twice to make Prue eat something she didn't like," they said. The conversation echoed Food Network fans' remarks about "Chopped" judge Scott Conant's hatred of onions, as the ingredient has been known to affect his attitude in the judging process.

According to Screen Rant, the steely-eyed judge with the tough exterior is the one who shows the most aversion to his disliked foods, notoriously avoiding these ingredients even if it puts contestants in a pickle. While the baking competition judge might have caused a bit of an uproar over how he handles the foods he finds disgusting, it's still not Hollywood's biggest regret from GBBO.