James Martin has made a great impact since he began to appear on television in November '96 and has rarely been off screen since. Currently he's gracing our screens as presenter of BBC 1's hugely successful Saturday Kitchen, regularly attracting viewers in excess of 2 million (double the amount of viewers when James inherited the show).
He was a regular team member on Ready Steady Cook (BBC 2) and in Autumn 2006 gained a whole new army of fans with his new found prowess on the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) where he reached the semi-finals.
More recently, James was featured in a prime time BBC 2 special during Christmas 2008 - The Real Italian Job. The show saw James live his dream of racing in the exclusive Millie Miglia race in Italy in a vintage sports car. The show attracted over 3.5 million viewers and has cemented James' role as a car enthusiast and expert.
James has enjoyed phenomenal success with his many series for UKTV Food - enjoying some of the highest ratings the channel has ever experienced. Such was the success of James Martin Digs Deeps (2006), Feast (2007) and Brittany (2008), UKTV have commissioned another series, Champagne broadcast early 2009.
As well as his television work, James is a keen journalist and writes a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday's Live magazine on cars and motoring, as well as writing food columns for BBC Good Food Magazine, Sky magazine and Reveal magazine. 2008 saw the first James Martin magazine filled with delicious recipes and interesting interviews with the chefs - this year's follow up is highly anticipated.
James's publishing career extends beyond magazines - he is the author of several best selling and award winning books. His first book, Eating In With James Martin was published in October 1998 and his second The Deli Cookbook in autumn 2000. Great British Dinners came out in 2003 with Easy British Food following mid June 2005. Great British Winter was published in 2006 (all published through Mitchell Beazley). James's most successful book to date has been his puddings bible, Desserts, published in 2007 by Quadrille to coincide with his prime time BBC 2 show, Sweet Baby James. Also released that year were The Great British Village Show Cookbook, published in May 2007 by BBC Books to coincide with his BBC 1 primetime series of the same title, and Saturday Kitchen Cookbook (BBC Books). The Great British Village Show Cookbook was awarded the Best Cookbook award at the World Gourmand Cookbook awards.
2008 saw the release of The Collection (Mitchell Beazley), an anthology of James' best recipes to date. Also in 2008, James released his autobiography, Driven, published by HarperCollins. The book attracted huge amounts of media interest and has sold incredibly well. There was another Saturday Kitchen Cookbook - Saturday Kitchen's Best Bites, for which James contributed some recipes and wrote the foreword.
2009 will be another exciting year for James with the publication of James Every Day - The Essential Collection (Mitchell Beazley) as well as his first cookery book with HarperCollins, A Year at Home, due for release in Autumn 2009.
James continues to make regular appearances around the country including at all of the BBC Good Food Shows incorporating London, Glasgow and Birmingham and attracting vast crowds for his demos in the super-theatres. In addition to the BBC Good Food Shows, he regularly appears at Bingley Fine Food Festival, Stoneleigh Festival and works with organisations such as the Food Standards Agency.
2009 will also be an exciting year for James' licensing endeavours - he already has a range of small electricals with Wahl, Cookware, Knives and Kitchen Textiles with Stellar/Horwoods and Serveware with Denby. This year James will be launching his own range of cake mixes and cookers.
He is a consultant with P & O Cruises on the restaurants and menus for their cruise ships Ocean Village and Ocean Village 2.
This success can be attributed to James' early love of food which was nurtured at Castle Howard where his father ran the catering and where James often helped out - he even helped cook for the Queen Mother at 11! At 16 he began his formal training at Scarborough Technical College, where he was Student of the Year for three years running. 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' message about food has always been the same - he has been passionate about celebrating British food, using the best ingredients possible and creating simple, delicious recipes accessible to all.