Paul Hollywood has never been to Japan. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a land without bread – and a land without bread, is a land without bakers. A new three-part Channel 4 series, ‘Paul Hollywood Eats Japan’, will see the celebrity baker discover just how wrong he was – and how Japan is fast becoming one of the world’s top foodie destinations.
His three-week culinary and cultural adventure begins in the capital of Tokyo. Here he experiences the nation’s obsession with noodles, visits a restaurant where you eat alone in ‘flavour-enhancement’ booths (so nothing distracts you from the food) and embraces the country’s love of themed restaurants, including one where he’s locked up in a prison cell.
Paul gets schooled in Japanese dining etiquette, learns why eating on the street is a no-no and finds his very unorthodox way of using chopsticks under scrutiny.
Across the series, Paul samples regional delicacies, gets taught some of Japan’s most famous dishes, takes part in a traditional Okonomiyaki cooking lesson in Hiroshima and samples the world’s most expensive strawberry and a pickled plum in fish semen.
Throughout his adventure, Paul is accompanied by a host of travelling companions including chefs, comedians, rice farmers, a band of Okinawan surfers and, unsurprisingly, bakers.
Channel 4’s head of features and formats Sarah Lazenby said: “From cat cafés to robot restaurants, Japan is the capital of quirky culture. If you thought you’d seen it all, think again. Paul Hollywood opens this joyful travelogue driving a go-kart through Tokyo dressed as a ninja turtle with a professional wrestler called Ladybeard. And that’s just one reason to watch…”
Paul Hollywood added: “Japanese food and culture is so unique, and each experience is totally different. As a novice traveller to the country, it was a complete eye-opener to me – an amazing journey, meeting some extraordinary people along the way.”
‘Paul Hollywood Eats Japan’ will air on Channel 4 in 2020.