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James Martin (chef)

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James Martin
James Martin at the Good Food Show Winter 2014.jpg
Martin at the Good Food Show winter 2014
Born James Martin
(1972-06-30) 30 June 1972 (age 43)
Malton, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Years active 1996–present
Television Saturday Kitchen (2006—)
Website Official website

James Martin (born 30 June 1972), is a British chef and television presenter, best known for presenting the BBC cookery series Saturday Kitchen since 2006.

Early life[edit]

Martin's family were farmers on the Castle Howard estate and he helped his mother in the kitchen, which started his interest in cuisine. He lived in Welburn, attended Amotherby School in Malton and Malton School, the local comprehensive where he was a member of the school rugby and cricket teams, but did not enjoy academic subjects due to undiagnosed dyslexia.[1]


Early career[edit]

Martin studied catering at Scarborough Technical College. He trained at Hostellerie De Plaisance, Saint-Émilion, France. He then worked at the 3 Michelin star restaurant Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France before moving on to join the staff of Anthony Worrall Thompson's 'One Ninety Queen's Gate' restaurant in Kensington, London.[1]

Martin subsequently moved on to Alastair Little in Soho, London, 2 Michelin star restaurant The Square in Mayfair, London and another 2 Michelin star restaurant, Harvey’s, in Wandsworth, London.[citation needed]

After this he spent two years as a Pastry Chef at Chewton Glen Hotel.[2]

At the age of 22, Martin set up the Hotel du Vin in Winchester as Head Chef.[1]


He first appeared on television in 1996 with programmes including James Martin: Yorkshire's Finest (set in various Yorkshire locations with an emphasis on Yorkshire cuisine), Ready Steady Cook and The Big Breakfast.

Martin co-presented BBC Food's Stately Suppers with Alistair Appleton, and then appeared on the Channel 4 programme Richard & Judy, where he would visit a member of the public in their own home who had been nominated to be cooked a 'comfort food' meal. In 2006 he became the presenter of the BBC One show Saturday Kitchen.

In 2007, he starred in a BBC Two series named Sweet Baby James (named in reference to the James Taylor song) in which he focused on desserts, puddings and cakes.[3]

Martin appeared on Blue Peter in April 2007 on Can You Cook It? as a judge choosing the new Blue Peter "Junior Chef".[4]

In June and July 2007, he appeared co-hosting The Great British Village Show on BBC One. He finished off the year with a series on UKTV Food called James Martin's Christmas Feasts.[citation needed] He filmed a 30 part series for the BBC in 2007 called Eating with the Enemy which was broadcast in July and August 2008.[5]

In September 2011, James was tasked with revamping the menu and catering facilities at Scarborough General Hospital, for Operation Hospital Food for the BBC.[6] The show was recommissioned for a second[7] and third series [8] which were shown on BBC One in 2013 and 2014 respectively.[9]

In December 2012,[10] James presented Racing Legends: Sir Jackie Stewart, a one-off special on BBC Two. Martin interviewed Sir Jackie Stewart, about his life and career whilst the pair drove through the Alps in a De Tomaso Pantera supercar. He also drove his Tyrrell Formula One car around the Monza race circuit.[11]

In February and March 2013 Martin presented United Cakes of America. The fifteen episode series saw Martin travell 634 miles along America's East Coast, sampling 234 cakes and five bags of pretzels.[12]

In June 2013, The Roux Scholarship was shown on Watch. Martin joined the judging panel along with other celebrity chefs including Rick Stein, Raymond Blanc and Angela Hartnett.[13]

In July 2013,[14] Martin appeared alongside Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan on BBC One on a special edition of The Great British Menu entitled The Great British Budget Menu. The show aimed to highlight food poverty and involved the chefs cooking nutritious meals on a budget.

In September 2013,[15] the programme James Martin's Food Map of Britain aired on BBC Two. There were 10 episodes with each focusing on a different region of Britain. James investigated the produce of each area and cooked two dishes per episode. Since 2013, he has been a judge on Junior Bake Off on the CBBC channel.

In February 2014,[16] based in his kitchen at home in Hampshire, he presented a series called James Martin: Home Comforts on BBC One. Many of the dishes were inspired by memories of his childhood in Yorkshire, and the programme also featured many local small-scale food producers and cooks.

In October 2014, James presented a new daytime show for BBC One called Meet the Street. The show aimed to unite communities and reduce loneliness. On 2 April 2015, he guest presented an episode of The One Show with Alex Jones. In 2015, Martin presented The Box, a daytime cookery series for BBC One.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing

In 2005, Martin was partnered with Camilla Dallerup in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing. The couple finished the show in fourth place after being eliminated on 10 December.

Week Dance Scores Result
1 Waltz ("Something Got Me Started") 22 (4,5,6,7) Safe
2 Quickstep ("Luck Be a Lady") 29 (6,7,8,8) Safe
3 Tango ("Mein Herr") 28 (6,7,8,7) Safe
4 Paso Doble ("Romeo and Juliet") 29 (7,8,7,7) Safe
5 Viennese Waltz ("Mr. Bojangles") 29 (5,8,8,8) Safe
6 Jive ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love") 20 (5,4,6,5) Safe
7 Waltz ("Together Again") 32 (7,8,9,8) Safe
8 Samba ("All Night Long") 20 (4,5,6,5) Safe
8 American Smooth ("Call Me Irresponsible") 28 (7,7,7,7) Safe
9 Foxtrot ("Beyond the Sea") 33 (8,8,9,8) Eliminated
9 Rumba ("Home") 22 (4,6,7,5) Eliminated


Until 2013 Martin wrote a motoring column for UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday.

In 2009, Martin wrote in his column that he deliberately drove an electric Tesla Roadster in a manner that startled two cyclists causing a "look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge". Following criticism from cycling groups and professionals such as Bradley Wiggins and Stuart O'Grady, he apologised for the statements. Complaints said that the driving was illegal and dangerous.[17][18][19]


Martin opened his restaurant, called "The Leeds Kitchen", inside the Alea Casino in Leeds in 2011. The casino, and with it the restaurant, closed in March 2013.[20]

In 2012 he opened a restaurant inside The Talbot Hotel, Malton, North Yorkshire. The restaurant was placed in the Michelin Guide at the end of 2012. In June 2013 it was reviewed by food critic Jay Rayner for The Observer who described his meal there as "three beautifully poised, close to faultless dishes".[21]

In September 2013,[22] Martin opened his restaurant James Martin Manchester, specialising in modern British cuisine.


Personal life[edit]

Martin likes performance cars, and entered a vintage Maserati in the 2008 Mille Miglia.[23] This was televised on 28 December 2008. He failed to complete the race due to a dropped valve and broken crank.

Martin raced in the 2013 Masters Series in an Appendix K 1964 Mini Cooper S. On 23 June 2013 he took his first race win at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival, becoming the 2013 Champion of Mini Festival[24]

Martin also raced a "works" GT Aston Martin at the Aston Martin Centenary Festival in July 2013 where he achieved a position of 9th out of 30 racers.[25]

In 2009, Martin passed his Private Pilot Licence.

Martin has two dogs named Fudge and Ralph.[26]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2010, Martin was awarded the title of Honorary Professor by the University of West London, London School of Hospitality and Tourism along with Michel Roux, Raymond Blanc and Anton Mosimann.

On 10 June 2013, Martin was honoured with The Craft Guild of Chefs Special Award.[27]


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Finished fourth place
2006— Saturday Kitchen Presenter
2007 Sweet Baby James Presenter
Blue Peter: Can You Cook It? Judge
The Great British Village Show Presenter
James Martin's Christmas Feasts Presenter
2008 Eating with the Enemy Presenter
2011— Operation Hospital Food Presenter
2012 Racing Legends: Jackie Stewart Presenter
2013 United Cakes of America Presenter
The Roux Scholarship Judge
The Great British Budget Menu Presenter
James Martin's Food Map of Britain Presenter
2013— Junior Bake Off Judge
2014— James Martin: Home Comforts Presenter
2014 Meet the Street Presenter
2015 The One Show Guest presenter
The Box[28] Presenter


  1. ^ a b c Daily Mail Weekend Interview. 7 July 2012, p6
  2. ^ My mentors: Chef James Martin on the teacher and the employer to whom he owes his success. | Money | The Guardian
  3. ^ BBC Two - Sweet Baby James
  4. ^ "Can you cook it?". BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
  5. ^ BBC Two - Eating with the Enemy - Next on
  6. ^ BBC One - Operation Hospital Food with James Martin - Episode guide
  7. ^ James Martin talks Operation Hospital Food - Good Housekeeping
  8. ^
  9. ^ Operation Hospital Food with James Martin (TV Series 2011– ) - IMDb
  10. ^ BBC Two - Racing Legends, Series 1 - Episode guide
  11. ^ BBC Two - Racing Legends, Series 1, Jackie Stewart
  12. ^ James Martin’s United Cakes of America: Good Food blog: Good Food Channel
  13. ^ The Judges
  14. ^ The Great British Budget Menu, BBC One, review - Telegraph
  15. ^ TV highlights 16/09/2013 | Television & radio | The Guardian
  16. ^ BBC Two - James Martin: Home Comforts, Series 1 - Next on
  17. ^ "Martin sorry over cycling article". BBC News Online. 16 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "TV Chef James Martin Cooks Up A Storm With Anti-cycling Remarks". BikeRadar. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Martin, James (12 September 2009). "The Tesla Roadster is the all-electric supercar that's as fast as a Ferrari". London: Daily Mail.  (The Daily Mail website does not show the text in question.)
  20. ^ "Alea Leeds Clarence Dock casino to close". Yorkshire Evening Post. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  21. ^ The Talbot Hotel: restaurant review
  22. ^ James Martin bets on classic food at new Manchester restaurant - Manchester Evening News
  23. ^ "BBC Two - The Real Italian Job: James Martin's Mille Miglia". BBC. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Race reports and results - Aston Martin Challenge website
  26. ^ Belsey, John. "Classic Cars à la Carte – the Chef’s Selection – by John Belsey". The Vintage Magazine. The Vintage Magazine. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  27. ^ The Craft Guild of Chefs reveals winners of its very special 20th anniversary awards | The Craft Guild of Chefs
  28. ^

External links[edit]