The cheeky TV chef with a twinkle in his eye and a Yorkshireman’s steady hand joins Asda today as the ‘face’ of the supermarket.
"I can’t wait to get stuck in," James Martin said, at today’s announcement. "I can’t think of a better way to offer inspiration to busy families looking to cook up simple, tasty meals on a budget while still having time to enjoy life."
Whether it was TV shows Saturday Kitchen or James Martin’s Food Map of Britain, James has always championed great suppliers and fantastic, quality food – wrapped up in traditional meals with a modern twist – something Asda are keen to build on.
But why now and why Asda? "I got a call one evening from Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda and we talked for over an hour about Asda and his vision for the brand. Next day, I went into one of the stores to have a look for myself. I stopped at the fish counter and I was blown away by the quality of the produce and the sheer enthusiasm of the lady working there. The fish was her pride and joy.
"I also discovered that the people who supply beef to my restaurant in Manchester also supply Wagyu beef to Asda. They’ve invested in this herd and yet no one seems to know about it. Why aren’t we talking about the quality of Asda food? That’s what I’m here for really, to get the message out and to help develop recipes, spot new suppliers and new produce.
"For the last ten years I’ve been filming Saturday Kitchen and had a great time. Now I’m keen to dig deep into what makes British food great. And if I can help bring that food to the Asda customers then I’m really happy about that."
Andy Clarke, Chief Executive of Asda (left) and Asda's new recruit, James Martin (right)
James, 43, who lives between the South East and Yorkshire frequently travels the country filming and touring for his cookery shows. He also owns restaurant James Martin Manchester, which serves top quality, locally sourced British food.
"As a born and bred Yorkshireman, I’m also looking forward to getting back to my roots to help people realise that low prices don’t mean low quality. I try to cook great, simple food and I have to bear in mind my mum’s words - she always tells me to keep it simple.
"To me, it’s really important to teach people how to cook with what they can afford. If I can make it accessible and inspire people along the way then I’ve done my job."
And with that he’s off… to cook up a storm for Asda customers nationwide.