The Sweet American Snack Paul Hollywood Openly Despises

Along with being a judge on "The Great British Bake Off," Paul Hollywood is considered one of the U.K.'s top bakers, known for his artisanal breads, exquisite pastries, and traditional puddings with a twist. Many of the technical bakes that he challenges the show's competitors to create — like lardy cake, jammy biscuits, hot cross buns, and Cumberland rum nicky — are not only very British, but they're also rather fancy-schmancy. No stranger to cheap, store-bought pleasures, however, Hollywood revealed in a Page Six interview that he secretly loves one so-called "crappy" food sold in U.K. supermarkets. The baked treat called Yum Yum is a buttery fried dough, sort of like a long cronut but softer, which is covered in finger-licking icing. Hollywood admits adding them to his shopping cart slyly so that no one will notice.

When asked if there are any desserts he doesn't like, his dislike for one American snack received his full ire — Paul Hollywood absolutely hates Twinkies. That's right, the "golden sponge cakes with a creamy filling" — which have been one of the U.S.A.'s most popular sweets for nearly a century – are, in Hollywood's unsparing words, "oh, they're awful ... they're really bad."

Thankfully, it's not all bad news for goodies over on this side of the pond. In a Tasting Table exclusive, Hollywood praised some of his American favorites: apple pie from the South, New York bagels, and — his one weakness — doughnuts from shops all across the United States.

The Great British Bake Off judges can't stand Twinkies

That wasn't the first time Paul Hollywood dissed his spongy snack cake nemesis. The first time he tried Twinkies was with his fellow GBBO judge, Prue Leith. The pair were brought together for a taste test to pick the best snack in America. In the video, big-brand snacks were pitted against one another as the duo judged their textures, flavors, and craveability. The opening match was between two Hostess brand classics, HoHos (creme-filled chocolate Swiss rolls) and Twinkies. 

Upon trying a Twinkie, Prue Leith remarked that she liked the lemon sponge cake but the "cream inside is horrible." Hollywood's first taste of one elicited a grimace and then a tortured, "Oh god!" Neither of them appreciated the "dry and boring" HoHos, so Leith declared Twinkies as having won the round. Incredulous Hollywood could only ask, "That?" while pointing at the yellow oblong cake. Leith explained that they had to eliminate one, to which Hollywood said, "But that's not brilliant," holding up a half-eaten Twinkie. Leith noted it probably wouldn't make it through the next elimination round, to which Paul quipped an oft-repeated myth about the snack, that "it's probably got that much stuff in it, it'll probably last another ten years and remain exactly the same."

Sure enough, in the next round Twinkies came up against Oreo creme cookies and lost resoundingly. In case his opinion hadn't been made clear enough yet, Hollywood concluded with, "They're hideous."

No, this Hostess dessert will not last forever

Although Twinkies get nothing but scorn from Paul Hollywood, they're the fourth most often eaten snack cake in the U.S. (per Statista). Invented in 1930 for Continental Baking (which later became Hostess), Twinkies are a nostalgic and beloved throwback dessert food that many Americans grew up eating. On the flipside, they are also symbolic of the country's love for ultra-processed snacks, which has been frequently ridiculed on film, TV, and in popular culture. They were featured in the movies "Ghostbusters" and "Zombieland," as well as on "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," to name just a few. We seem to have a real love-hate relationship with the unassuming yet iconic golden snack cake. 

A Twinkies rumor that Paul Hollywood touched on is the urban legend that they can literally last forever. The plot of the now infamous "Family Guy" episode revolves around Twinkies as the only food to survive a nuclear apocalypse. This is all hyperbole, of course; they actually have a somewhat short shelf. Until Twinkies went out of production temporarily in 2012, the product had a shelf life of only 26 days. When the Hostess company came back from bankruptcy in 2013, its shelf life was extended to 46 days.

We can't help but wonder if Hollywood's reaction to our state fair favorite would be any different; an under-the-radar American dish, Twinkies are battered and fried until crispy, then dusted with powdered sugar.