Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has offered one of his coveted handshakes to a contestant for their efforts in the showstopper round for the first time.
Hollywood, 52, had never previously made the gesture in the final challenge during the programme’s previous series on Channel 4 or the seven prior to that on the BBC.
During the latest episode of the baking show, Rahul, a 30-year-old research scientist from India who lives in Rotherham, became the first contestant to receive the honour.
Hollywood described Rahul’s Bengali-inspired chocolate orange collar cake as “fantastic” before calling him over to shake his hand.
On receiving the handshake from Hollywood, Rahul said: “When Paul invited me to the table, I just thought maybe I had left something stupidly inside the cake.
“I was poking it with a cocktail stick and I thought maybe I’d left the cocktail stick in there or something and he wanted to show me. So yeah, that was very surreal.”
Hollywood then went on to shake project manager Ruby’s hand for her chocolate and hazelnut collar cake showstopper.
The unprecedented second handshake led Hollywood to joke that his usually high standards for praise may be slipping.
While deliberating with fellow judge Prue Leith and hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, Hollywood said: “I’ve never given a handshake on a showstopper before. But to give two, I’m disappointed with myself.”