From Chopping to Choppers with James Martin

From Chopping to Choppers with James Martin

BBC Saturday Kitchen celebrity chef James Martin positioned himself front and centre last week (20th Jan) during his ‘Evening with James’ event inside the popular adult playground - Manchester 235 casino.​


As well as the stunning food and James’s scintillating company; patrons were encouraged to quiz the Yorkshire born Farmers son turned pilot and petrol head on anything they like - from his refined culinary techniques to his personal passions and interests.


I had my “10 minutes with Martin” earlier on that day.


We’ve got a full house tonight, he enthused.


Now on reflection, I think he could have been opening our conversation with a Casino pun, Next he satisfies the statistician in me.


150 guests expected, the last one we had 136 guests.


It’s a set menu, 6 courses with wines to match. It’s not like a normal restaurant night – it’s something a little bit different and people do seem to like the extra focus as well as the food and the wine.


The popular TV presenter goes on to explain how enjoyable the night has become for him personally, he gets to join in with the boys in the kitchen whilst being afforded the freedom to engage with his guests, all the while reinforcing his Manchester mantra “I’m not just a name on a door.”


I confess, I worked in a kitchen for exactly 1 Christmas morning in 1984 and never went back, it was a horrible experience for me… James provides little comfort.


A familiar story - it is a baptism of fire if you’re not used to it. He said.


A lot of people get out of this industry quite quickly after attending catering college, you can’t forget that catering is part of the service industry, it’s the same if you work behind a bar or in a hotel - it’s not for everyone. For me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.


He goes on to describe some of the tantalising opportunities and motivating experiences available to his young chefs…


When we finish here tonight we’ll head over to our next event which is a BBQ in Yorkshire, I’ll be taking the team directly there via helicopter. We’ll do the event and then fly them back. A motivating experience for sure.


I took a couple of my team to the orient express recently for a special dinner, the industry certainly has its opportunities.


You get 1 shot at life and I’m all about learning new things that come my way. I never dreamed I’d be a pilot but I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.


Outside of the kitchen, Chef Martin clears his head with adrenaline-fuelled pursuits; mostly racing Sports Cars and perfecting loop de loops in his Chopper. (Editor. I don’t think he’s a stunt pilot (yet)).


You get 1 shot at life and I’m all about learning new things that come my way. I never dreamed I’d be a pilot but I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I love it, same goes for driving, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve never been much good at racing but I’ve got some great teachers and I’m getting better, I do love cars - they are my enjoyment.


It’s easy to think that now he’s a big success our chef has become consumed by his hi-tech boy’s toys, but he’s quick to point out that he is still in the kitchen every day of the week.


I’m still cooking 7 days a week. Granted I’m not starting at 8am and working until 2am rubbing down stoves like I did in my earlier days but otherwise I’m in the kitchen as much as ever. I was here this morning at 9am and don’t expect to leave before midnight.


Saturday comes along and we’re up at 3am, I do Saturday kitchen then fly up to Scotland for a show, it’s a non-stop 23 hour day.


I ask him if I’m talking to the hardest working Chef on the planet, he set’s me straight – Yorkshire style.


You get nowt for nowt in this world, if you want to sit on your arse and do nothing then you can’t moan about it if things don’t come your way. And the hardest working guy I know is Jamie Oliver, he works tremendously hard at his craft and all credit to him, good on him.


And with that, he’s back in the kitchen, confidence - sky high, and why not, he’s engineering opportunities that allow him to rinse the most out of life. Heck, he travels around like a rock star during festival season – in January!


He’s a model self-actualizer, with the motivation of a life coach, I’ve not tried his food; but you can bet it tastes great, his next big event in Manchester will be on Valentines day, see the website for details.

Writers / Contributors: