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James Martin hits back at criticism as cookbook idea rejected ‘Don’t have a clue!’

James Martin teases his ‘really exciting new project’

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James Martin joined Giles Coren on Times Radio on Friday as the TV chef discussed his new cookbook Butter. ITV’s Saturday Morning chef revealed his cookbook idea was initially rejected by his publishing team who thought eating-in style recipes would be preferable. However, James hit back when Giles cheekily suggested the chef as being “lazy” for releasing a cookbook focussed on butter.

Giles questioned why the TV chef felt a butter cookbook was the next step for him. 

James began: “Well this came about because obviously we were in lockdown, I’m with the team and the publisher said, ‘Look, we need to do another book.’

“‘We want to do a book on eating-in together and family and stuff like that.

“I went, ‘Really?’ People are sat at home, they’ve been together for two years they want to get out.

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“I said, ‘Let’s do something totally different, let’s do an ingredient book.’”

Giles pointed out chefs Rick Stein and Monica Galetti had both recently released cookbooks focussing on eating at home.

“They’ve all done it to be fair,” James continued. “Whether it’s just me but I just want to get out of the house. 

“I don’t want to be cooped up with someone else for two years, you want to be out and see things.”

“I said ‘No, let’s do a thing on butter’ and they went, ‘Really? Think it’ll work?’ And I went, ‘I’m pretty sure because I love the ingredient,” he explained.

“‘I’ve got 800 recipes in the computer now that I could just click on the button.’”

Giles cheekily questioned if James was being “lazy” by pitching a cookbook idea that could include a variety of different recipes. 

Sharing why he was driven to focus on butter, he hit back: “It’s a huge subject that people don’t know much about.

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“Last month I did a demonstration I said, ‘Tell me what butter is’ and half the audience didn’t have a clue what it was.”

Describing the process, James said: “The simple purest form is you start with cream but obviously we were farmers for 35 years. 

“First of all you’ve got to understand and Cheese is a prime example – you produce cheddar cheese in the summer, it is a very different product from the summer to the winter, very different. 

“If you look at the same farm of cheddar cheese that produce it in the summer, as opposed to the winter it’s a totally different cheese, totally different flavour, totally different colour because they’re grazing on grass in the summer, and they’re grazing on silage in the winter. 

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“The actual raw material and the raw cheese is very different – butter is the same thing.”

“You get various types of butter from all around the country all around the world,” he continued. 

“Let’s face it, we’re all doing it it’s not just the UK, the French consume far more than what we do.

“But it’s all to do with the pasture, it’s to do with the animal produces it, i.e. the reason why the jersey cattle produces richer creamier different types of butter, and also the way it’s made.”

James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs on ITV on Saturday at 9.30am. Giles Coren airs on Times Radio on Fridays at 1pm.

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