At 16, James Martin went to Scarborough Technical College to begin his formal training. While there, he was student of the year for three years running. His work was noticed by Antony Worrall Thompson, who brought James to London to work. James then travelled throughout France working in the kitchens of French châteaux.
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; he went on to present Saturday Kitchen and has appeared in dozens of TV shows since.
He became the presenter of the BBC 1 show Saturday Kitchen in 2006 until his departure 10 years later in March 2016.
In 2007, he starred in a BBC 2 series named Sweet Baby James in which he focused on desserts, puddings and cakes.
In February and March 2013 James presented United Cakes of America show. Throughout the 15 episode series Martin travelled 634 miles along America’s East Coast, sampling 234 cakes and five bags of pretzels with the production crew along the way.
In February 2014, based in his kitchen at home in Hampshire, he presented the series James Martin: Home Comforts on BBC 1. These James Martin recipes were inspired by memories of his childhood in Yorkshire, and the programme also featured many local small-scale food producers and cooks.
On March 26th 2016 James Martin signed off from ‘Saturday Kitchen’ with an emotional farewell, after 10 years of presenting the show and serving up over 1000 James Martin recipes.
The TV chef couldn’t help but well up as he closed the popular programme for the last time.
After a nostalgia-filled episode, James thanked fans for their support over the years, saying: “I’m going to miss these amazing guests, the world’s best chefs and the crew, who make the show what it is and what it will continue to be.”
“Our support has been amazing, never wavering or faltering, even given my many mistakes.”
“You’ve always been there and it’s an honour to serve up this great grub every weekend.”
Earlier in the show, James hosted his last ever phone-in, and bosses pulled out all the stops to make sure it was one to remember.
Instead of featuring members of the public as normal, callers included the likes of Mary from Buckinghamshire, who is better known as Mary Berry.
The popular host weathered rumours about the motivation behind his departure – a sulk over a non-existent ‘Top Gear’ job was one, refusal to make omelettes in public was another – but it turns out the truth is more mundane, that “10 years is a long time”
James said he had just got tired of giving up two days of his week, being in bed by 9pm on Fridays, up at 3am on Saturdays. He adds he’s just taken his first holiday in seven years, and found himself on a Saturday morning walking around Disneyworld, thinking “this is surreal”.
Soon after his departure ‘Saturday Kitchen‘ fans deserted the show in droves even though the James Martin recipes are still in huge demand.
It has been revealed that over one million viewers turned off since the chef quit the BBC One cookery show in March 2016.
A host of guest presenters have been drafted in to host since James’ exit, but it seems fans have been left decidedly unimpressed with their stints at the head of the show.
The Sun newspaper has reported that the initial post-James episode, hosted by Donal Skehan, saw just 1.4m tune in, compared to the 2.4m who watched James’ farewell. A source added to the paper that the guest hosts were “not working out as well as bosses had hoped”.
The likes of The Hairy Bikers, Lorraine Pascal, Michel Roux Jr. have all taken the reins of ‘Saturday Kitchen’ since James’ decision to quit after 10 years of hosting and hundreds of James Martin recipes.
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