James Martin on his continuing relationship with Dubai, his love of creating something new and his plans for the future at home and abroad.
James Martin’s father ran the catering side of Castle Howard, and by the time he was 12 years old James was able to say that he had cooked for the Queen Mother at the historic British home. At 16 he began his formal training at Scarborough Technical College, where he was Student of the Year for three years running. Whilst there, celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson noticed his work, and brought him to London to work in his kitchens. James then toured France, working in some of the old chateaux, often cooking alongside the matriarchs of the grand old families.
In 1994, at the tender age of 22, he opened the Hotel and Bistro du Vin in Winchester as head chef, where he changed the menu every day. James describes his cooking as ‘Modern British with a hint of Mediterranean’, using interesting combinations like honey roast duck with a mango, coriander and chilli salsa. James is now firmly established on the TV chefing circuit, being the host of Saturday Morning Kitchen after appearing regularly on many other popular shows over the years. However, the highlight of his career arguably came when he was named one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors by Company magazine...
What excites you about the Festival of Taste? It’s not just the calibre of chefs attending the event, but it is such a vibrant and expanding place. Every time you go there is something new. Have you been to Dubai before? Yes, two times, one visit was for the last Festival of Taste.
What do you think about the food scene in Dubai? It’s very exciting: chefs from all over the globe are opening restaurants. There is no other place in the world that offers such a diverse dining experience.
What will you be doing for the Festival of Taste? Looking at the itinerary I’ll be cooking on a yacht, in the desert, a hotel and a restaurant, so pretty much everywhere!
Why did you decide to provide these recipes? These are a selection of some of the dishes I will be doing during the festival.
When did you last cook them, and for whom? The last time was at Blenheim Palace in the UK, for 5,000 people.