Top chef James Martin looks to local produce
Last updated at 11:44, Saturday, 03 December 2011
Award-winning chef James Martin will no doubt be creating some delectable dishes at Muncaster tomorrow but he’s a bit sketchy with the details.
“I haven’t written the recipes yet so I don’t know what I’ll be cooking. But Muncaster is not too many miles from Morecambe and the shrimps there are fantastic so I think they’ll be on the menu,” he says, talking at great speed during a morning of back-to-back phone interviews.
But it’s little wonder he hasn’t had much time to prepare: this is someone who likes to keep busy.
Photographers are currently at his house to do a shoot for a new recipe book, not due to be published until next October. Later, he’ll travel to London for the annual British Curry Awards.
Then there are the day jobs: his restaurant The Leeds Kitchen and presenting BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.
He will, however, take Christmas day off and spend it with family in Yorkshire.
“It’s a very busy time of year for us chefs, organising parties for Christmas in the restaurant and creating the menu. On the day itself I’ll be in the kitchen at home, with my mother. She likes to make a proper gravy.
“There’ll be no turkey. It’s off the menu, I’m not a great fan of it. I grew up on a farm with cattle and pigs so we’ll have a roast joint of pork and a joint roast of beef.”
James, who will be sharing some top tips live on stage at Taste Cumbria on Sunday, says a local delicacy he rates is Cumbrian lamb.
“Hogget, one-year-old lamb, is coming back into fashion. I’m a big lover of lamb anyway but hogget has much more flavour.”
James grew up in Yorkshire and started cooking at a young age with his father, who was catering manager of stately home Castle Howard.
At 16, he went to Scarborough Technical College to train as a chef and his work was noticed by Antony Worrall Thompson, who brought him to London to work.
At 21, James opened the new Hotel and Bistro du Vin in Winchester where, as head chef, he changed the menu every day.
His TV career started in 1996 when he became a regular team member on Ready Steady Cook and has appeared in dozens of TV shows since, including Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, making it to the semi-finals with partner Camilla Dallerup. That’s the only show of that ilk he would do, he says.
“I would only do Strictly again, I wouldn’t like to be stuck in a jungle or anything. Strictly was an amazing thing to be a part of, and I owe Saturday Kitchen to it. I would not have got noticed otherwise.”
Programmes such as Ready Steady Cook started to seem tame and dated compared to flash, fast shows presented by “cool” celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver or that minx Nigella Lawson.
James says he never expected it all to take off quite so spectacularly.
“TV, like Saturday Kitchen, can be all about graphs and charts and viewing figures, but take something like the Good Food Show, which sells out a 3,000 seater arena – that’s when you really see how massive it’s become, how big this monster is today.
“I am surprised at how long it’s lasted and how huge it is, but I think people should be praised for what they’re doing in the industry.
“People like Jamie Oliver have transformed the UK into a global food destination, and changed it from somewhere known for burger, chips and chicken nuggets.
“There’s now a huge amount of people coming here to train, even French chefs.
“French chefs coming here to train!”
First published at 08:59, Saturday, 03 December 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk