The Peculiar Reason Paul Hollywood Dislikes Lavender In Baking

Paul Hollywood
Paul Hollywood - Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Paul Hollywood, the longtime host and judge of "The Great British Bake Off," is renowned for his no-nonsense approach and deep expertise in baking. Hollywood is well-respected for his discerning palate and high standards. However, there is one ingredient that consistently fails to win his approval: lavender.

On more than one occasion, Hollywood has shared his distaste for lavender. During Series 5 in 2014, Hollywood displayed a bold look of disapproval when contestant Norman Calder incorporated lavender into his meringue during his final showstopper. Calder was later eliminated. During Series 10 in 2019, Hollywood commented on contestant Helena Garcia's lemon and lavender pies, saying, "It's a little bit soapy." When asked by Eat Drink Dine Magazine what spice or flavor he dislikes the most, Hollywood outright said, "I don't really like lavender, and cardamom and clove remind me of being in a dentist." So, there you have it; one can say lavender certainly does not have Hollywood's stamp of approval.

Read more: Ina Garten's 12 Best Cleaning Tips For A Mess-Free Kitchen

A Controversial Ingredient In The Baking World

Lavender baked goods
Lavender baked goods - MargJohnsonVA/Shutterstock

Hollywood's aversion to lavender highlights a broader debate among bakers and chefs. While it can add a special, floral touch to baked goods, a little goes a long way where lavender is concerned. Too much of this herbaceous flower can make a dish taste soapy or bitter. Missteps in its usage can easily overpower a dish, making it taste more like a bath product than something meant to be consumed. However, a little lavender, especially when paired with the bright acidic nature of lemon, can be a thing of beauty. Balancing the amount is crucial, as even a slight excess can turn a delightful dessert into an unpalatable one.

If you decide to try your hand at incorporating this controversial ingredient in baked goods, start with small amounts. Experimenting with lavender-infused syrups, sugars, and creams in desserts is an excellent way to start.

In the end, the use of lavender in baking remains a contentious topic. For Hollywood, it's an ingredient best left out of the kitchen.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.