James Martin praised by Michel Roux Jr after ‘really intense’ time on show

James Martin praised by Michel Roux Jr after ‘really intense’ time on show

December 2, 2023

Chef Michel Roux Jr has praised his former co-star James Martin as “incredible”, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.

When Michel presented live on Saturday Kitchen, which James hosted from 2006 to 2016, his heart was beating rapidly and he was overcome with “adrenaline”.

The star went on to explain the challenging experience made him admire James for taking the “intense” workload in his stride.

“He did Saturday Kitchen for over 10 years, and that’s an incredible feat because it’s not just getting up early on the Saturday morning,” he exclaimed.

“There’s also a rehearsal on the Friday and new recipes every weekend… it takes a heck of a lot of time [and] it’s something really quite intense.”

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The 63-year-old restaurateur continued: “It is very difficult to do a show like that because you’ve got the producers in your ear telling you this, that, and the other, and then you’ve got to hold a conversation, and interview people, and cook at the same time. It’s quite something!”

Michel revealed that he still gets on “very well” with James, having reunited with him at the BBC Good Food Winter Show last week at Birmingham’s NEC.

James has had a tough time behind the scenes recently, after being diagnosed with recurring facial cancer back in 2018.

He recently revealed that he would be taking a break from television due to his treatment plan, but intends to be “back fighting” by the end of February.

It is believed that he and Michel have bonded over their passion for live television, with the English-French chef now explaining that being on-air “makes you feel alive”.

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“There’s a huge adrenaline buzz and it’s wonderful – [but] and there’s no hiding. You have to nail it, you have to get it right, and if you don’t, then you just have to be able to carry on,” he mused.

“Live telly is wonderful. It makes you feel definitely alive, that’s for sure.”

Meanwhile, Michel saddened fans of French food when he recently revealed that he’ll be closing his iconic Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair next year.

The venue, which has received rave reviews over the years, will be no more after January 2024, following the star’s decision to bring more balance to his life.

“My daughter’s given me two lovely bouncy grandchildren, so I want to spend more time with them, and I just feel it’s right for the restaurant to come to an end,” he mused.

However, he’s vowed that the restaurant will be “going out with a bang”.

Though Michel’s days of opening new restuarants are now over, he added that Le Gavroche will still be “going on the road” via a series of residencies.

He’s also signed up to do events at sea with Cunard, which will see him board the newly launched ship Queen Anne to “cook lots of delicious things”.

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