Kitchen Confidence has a fresh look – and you’re all in the driving seat. We’ll be telling you which chefs we’re chatting to across our social media platforms and YOU can ask the questions.
First up, top celebrity chef James Martin – who has just released James Martin’s Great British Adventure – a new cookbook and TV show on ITV.
What did you learn most from creating your new cookbook (James Martin’s Great British Adventure) and travelling throughout the UK?
I think I learnt an awful lot – new stuff as well as old stuff. It really cemented my views that to fully understand food you’ve got to learn from the people who produce it, and almost produce it yourself. Then you’ll understand how difficult it is to produce all manner of food and drink. Once you understand that then you’ll respect it a lot more. I think that was certainly the case when I travelled the length and breadth of the UK.
What were some of the highlights of your trip?
Cooking on the Giant’s Causeway [Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO Heritage Site of 40,000 basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago] has got to be up there. We were on the rocks with about three thousand Japanese tourists looking at me thinking, “who the hell is this kid?’. As well as travelling with your mates, this is what makes the programme so special as well. To go to Sat Bains [in Nottingham] and to spend an evening working with him in the kitchen was amazing, and then Scotland just blew me away.
You focus a lot on independent producers. Why is that important to you?
If you can help small suppliers and independent people who produce great food then it’s bloody brilliant. I got a phone call from a guy who was on the show yesterday – a vinegar producer – who said that in 22 minutes he has sold a year’s supply. That’s when you know you’ve done your job.
QUESTIONS FROM OUR READERS
If you could only have three utensils in your kitchen, what would they be? – Becky Day, Facebook.
Knives are my big thing because you can’t do anything without a sharp knife. My big chopping board that I have on the Saturday Morning show is a solid piece of oak and it’s massive: it’s 4ft wide. I like that. I’ve got a big black cooker that is my pride and joy and I cook on it all the time. It’s a proper big bit of kit. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made.
Where will the next series be? Spain would be good. – Jennie Edwards, Instagram
The meeting is tomorrow. I’ve just been on the phone and they said, ‘you’ve beaten everything we’ve done. It was number one on the ratings yesterday, it’s more popular than the American show and the French one, so where do you want to go next?’. So I’ve got a meeting tomorrow with the production team – I literally just got a text message saying it’s at 5.30pm tomorrow back at the hotel – I don’t know [where it will be]. I need to decide between now and then.
What is your favourite dish to order at a restaurants? – Christine Wardle, Email
I love fish at the moment, I’m big into seafood so anything seafood-y. I was at a pub the other day and I ordered scampi and then I went for a little meal at The Ritz (because we had John Williams cooking on the show, so I went to The Ritz to taste his food). I had langoustine and I have had nothing like it, but they are the same langoustine that are done with batter in a pub up in Yorkshire.
What would you choose to do for food on a special occasion: stay at home and cook, or eat out? – Rachael Howe, Facebook
I prefer to stay at home. I think everybody who knows me knows that I’m a home person. Whenever possible, I try to get home and chill out with my dogs and watch TV.
When you get home after a long shift in the kitchen, what do you make yourself for supper? – Alison Beveridge, Facebook
Usually a bacon sandwich, to be honest with you. Or a roast chicken. I’ve always got a chicken in the fridge, so a nice roast chicken is my thing as well.
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Main image © Venni
James Martin’s Great British Adventure by James Martin (Quadrille, £25) is out now on Amazon and in all good bookshops.
READ MORE: Recipes by James Martin.