James Martin

Daily Echo:

CELEBRITY chef James Martin may be a household name all over the UK but he has a piece of his heart reserved for Hampshire.

The Saturday Kitchen presenter lives in Winchester, where evidence of his local links are not hard to find. His best selling recipe books feature heavily in the window displays of his delicatessen Cadogan & James, fresh produce emblazoned with his name is sold at the weekly farmer's markets and the landmark Hotel du Vin - where Martin was head chef - is a permanent reminder of his achievements.

When he's not indulging his passion for gardening or tending to his fleet of 11 sports cars - including a Formula 1 car - he can, of course, be found in the kitchen.

Martin came to the public's attention when he began a nine-year run on Ready Steady Cook in 1996.

Since then he has become a familiar face on television, most recently in his BBC2 series Sweet Baby James in which he shared his passion for puddings with a salivating nation.

His accompanying recipe book Desserts went straight to the top of the best sellers charts.

Martin's cookery skills were honed from an early age. Almost as soon as he could walk he was helping his dad in the kitchens of Castle Howard, a stately home in North Yorkshire. By the age of six he was cooking roast dinners on his own and cooked for the Queen Mother when he was just 12.

But despite his five-star cooking credentials, Martin says he wants nothing more than to open a humble pub or fish and chip shop.

Speaking to the Daily Echo this May, the star admitted he already had his eye on a couple of sites in Southampton and Winchester.

"I've got a couple of serious chefs who are interested," he said. " I want a real, proper fish and chip shop. No table cloths or silver service."

Martin's down-to-earth charm won over more than just the cookery buffs when he appeared as a contestant on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing.

Name: James Martin Occupation: TV chef Date of Birth: June 30, 1972 Local link: Lives and part owner of a delicatessen in Winchester

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