Celebrity chef James Martin says he can’t wait to be back in Bournemouth for a major new show for over-50s this month.
The Life Begins 50+ show opens at the BIC on Saturday, March 23, and the host of BBC favourite Saturday Kitchen is the star attraction.
He started his career up the road at Chewton Glen Hotel in New Milton, has a home in Hampshire and said the event being hosted locally was a motivation to get involved.
“I really can’t wait to be back in Bournemouth. I still have friends who live in Poole and I always enjoy being out and seeing people around the town.”
During the show he will take the audience through three demonstrations including the creation of a ‘mouth-watering’ meal for two, healthy cooking on a budget and creating the ultimate dinner party.
James is a man in demand and says he doesn’t take for granted how lucky he is to still be busy and doing what he loves. This project is one of many sandwiched into his hectic schedule, but the demo-graphic watching are important to him and he likes showing people what can be produced and to encourage healthy eating.
In the last 20 years, with his easy northern charm and apparent irrepressible hunger for sharing his passion for food, he has crept into the furniture of family television and is an established ‘housewife favourite’.
With countless books and TV credits to his name, including an appearance on the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and an ongoing campaign to reinvigorate hospital food, James is fast becoming the thinking woman’s Jamie Oliver.
However, it hasn’t been a straight-forward transition and he has been on a long journey from his first home near Malton in North Yorkshire.
Brought up in scenic countryside, he lived a world away from the glitz of television studios of London and the spotlight that follows him now.
James struggled at school. He was dyslexic. Food and cooking was his opportunity for success – and he grasped it with both hands.
“Everything at school was hard. I never understood maths and English. But that should never be used as an excuse. It should be a motivation.”
That motivation came in his surroundings in North Yorkshire with a family obsessed with food.
“I found cooking easy,” he says.
“We were pig farmers and I grew up surrounded by food. It helped a lot. It’s different because I learnt to respect the ingredients I was using.
“I can tell you though that is much easier to cook in a restaurant than it is on a farm!”
James still spends much of his time in the kitchen and is keen to emphasise how important it is to him to remain hands-on.
The show at the BIC will give his fans an opportunity not only to see his skills with a pan up close, but also to ask questions of him too.
If they choose to ask him about his childhood, the time he spent helping mucking out on the farm, his journey to the television, they might be surprised to find the chef being philosophical about his relationship with cooking.
He talks about food not as though it is a functional necessity, something that can be tasty or healthy or fun. For him it is all those things and more. It is his life. It is the only thing he has ever known.
When asked what’s next for him, his response tells you all you need to know.
“It all started with food and it’s going to end with food too.”