Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Think People Watch Saturday Kitchen Just to See If I Mess Up; Top Chef James Martin Is Preparing to Celebrate 20 Years in TV. MARION MCMULLEN Finds out His Recipe for Success

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Think People Watch Saturday Kitchen Just to See If I Mess Up; Top Chef James Martin Is Preparing to Celebrate 20 Years in TV. MARION MCMULLEN Finds out His Recipe for Success

Article excerpt

Byline: MARION MCMULLEN

You are marking 20 years in television in 2016. How are you planning to celebrate? IT WILL be 20 years in February. I keep saying television is a hobby, but they keep inviting me back.

I'm going to be doing my first UK tour next year (laughs) and maybe my last.

What can people expect? THE tour is called Plates, Mates And Automobiles and there will be a few of my mates joining me on stage and a few surprises. A bit of everything.

It will be very interactive as well with maybe live links to different restaurants around the country.

It won't just be me standing there saying 'here's another scone or here's another tiramisu.' You became interested in cooking when you were a youngster and then went to catering college. Was there ever a plan B? THERE was never a plan B. (Laughs) There was never a plan A to be honest. I failed all my exams at school, but I could cook and could do practical stuff.

I was eight years old when I first put on an apron and 22 when I opened my first restaurant.

It was a sink or swim moment, but I took a pay cut and got the job. I've always worked with the best and there have been lots of turning points in my life.

Your early TV appearances included Ready Steady Cook, The Big Breakfast and James Martin: Yorkshire's Finest. What was your first experience before the TV cameras like? SCARY. It was back in 1996, but it was good training. It was sink or swim. You have to learn to be yourself.

TV audiences are not stupid. They'll make their own minds up about you. I have been doing TV for 20 years now and luckily people are still watching.

You've got to do your best and be yourself. If people ever decide they don't like me I'd go back to the restaurants. It would be fine.

There have been many famous faces on BBC1's Saturday Kitchen Live over the years. Who have been your most memorable guests? JACKIE COLLINS was one of the most amazing and I'm not just saying that because she sadly recently passed away.

She is the only person to ever write to me after a show and say thank you.

There was Michael Parkinson as well. I remember standing back and watching him and thinking 'This is bl**dy surreal. …

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