Published: 00:13, 09 March 2019
TV chef James Martin set up his stove on a Kent beach to cook freshly caught fish for his latest TV series and cookbook.
James popped to Folkestone for his Kentish instalment of James Martin’s Great British Adventure, meeting old friends and familiar sights.
After starting his culinary tour in Hampshire to see a buffalo mozzarella producer, he came to the county with local chef and friend Mark Sargeant, who owns Rocksalt in Folkestone; to visit Dockers Bakehouse and Brewery, and to meet Sam Mount, a fourth generation fruit farmer making Kentish Cider.
True to chef form, James cooked recipes along the way featuring local produce - and when he arrived in Folkestone, he set up shop on the beach.
He said: “There are a few fresh fish shops dotted along Folkestone harbour selling herring straight from the boats to the public and to restaurants, so I wanted to cook these on the beach outside Mark Sargeant’s restaurant, Rocksalt.”
He also joined the Folkestone trawlermen as they brought in their very fresh catch of the day.
He said: “The guys at Folkestone Trawlers are first-rate fishermen who supply restaurants and their little shop by the harbour.
“We waited there, early doors, to get the fresh catch and, with other boats bringing in different shellfish, I jumped at the chance to get a few bits of local fish to cook with.”
He added: “Sadly, nowadays most people buy fresh fish from supermarkets but if you have a stall or fresh fish shop near you, do use them as they need your support and the quality is usually brilliant.
“Plus, asking about the fish from the people who catch them is always best.”
The book sees James travel from coast to coast, meeting local producers and chefs along the way who are putting Great Britain firmly on the gastronomic map of the world.
“It was one hell of a road trip,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to travel but I spent 10 years on Saturday Kitchen in the studio. I was doing home comforts that were all based here, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I wondered what it would be like, to venture out.”
He did - and the result includes cooking with Michelin star chefs and some of his personal food heroes - including Clare Smyth, Sat Bains and Michel Roux Snr (“I pulled my black book of chefs out”), to uncovering little known food suppliers.
NO FRILLS – JUST JAMES
Famed for recipes that don’t overcomplicate for the sake of it, long-standing fans will be pleased to know that his latest collection stays true to that. “I’m still of the ethos that you should never cook anything on TV that my mum can’t get north of Watford. I think chefs can go too restauranty and you’ll start to lose people.” And although he takes some inspiration from British classics and age-old techniques, “it’s fundamentally about the place, about the ingredients, about now.” It’s been some time since James first did work experience, aged 14, in a London kitchen - and longevity, in a world of Instagram foodies is not to be sniffed at. “This book is an accumulation of 35 years of work, of knowledge, built up over the years,” he says.
“And that knowledge, you can’t buy it and you can’t Instagram it.”
James Martin’s Great British Adventure is showing on ITV.
James Martin’s Great British Adventure: A Celebration Of Great British Food With 80 Fabulous Recipes by James Martin is published by Quadrille, and costs £25.