My Life In Travel: James Martin, television presenter and restaurateur

'I've got a pilot's licence – I find it very relaxing'

First holiday memory?

Blackpool. I'm a northern lad. We used to drive across the Pennines to Lancashire and then drop down into Blackpool. I remember eating candy floss and rock, riding a donkey up and down the beach and proper fish'n'chips in newspaper.

Best holiday?

The Amalfi Coast. Every corner you drive around feels like it opens a whole new world. It's just beautiful scenery and some of the most amazing, winding roads. The region is fantastic for food, too. It's famous for San Marzano tomatoes that grow near Vesuvius, buffalo mozzarella, great seafood and Amalfi lemons.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

You can take the boy out of Yorkshire, but not Yorkshire out of the boy. If you go from Pickering, right up over the moors towards Whitby, there's an area called the Hole of Horcum. When you've got a day with moody skies, I think it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There's no place like home. It's great to venture out and see things, but you've got to appreciate what's on your doorstep. We've got great galleries across the UK and the landscape along the west coast of Scotland is some of the most beautiful you'll ever see. I've learnt to appreciate home a lot more.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

The thought of jumping out of a plane fills me with horror, but I did get my pilot's licence two years ago. I find it very relaxing: the phone's switched off and nobody can contact you.

I also love going to art galleries and cultural sites, especially in Italy. You almost can't describe the beauty of the Colosseum. The sheer size is incredible.

Greatest travel luxury?

Noise-cancelling headphones. I've got a massive pair, which take up half my luggage, but they're fantastic when I'm travelling.

Holiday reading?

I'm dyslexic, so I don't read novels. Instead, I take car magazines to flick through or my iPad. I'm better with more visual things.

Where has seduced you?

St Barts in the Caribbean. I want to retire there. It has the most frightening runway in the world – you drop off the edge of this cliff, land and hit the brakes quickly before you run into the sea – but if you could draw a perfect Caribbean island, it would be St Barts. I wanted to buy a house there after being there for 24 hours.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. Over Christmas, I went to Goa, which was both amazing and depressing. You can't believe how people live there and the disparity in wealth. There's a colossal difference between those who have, and those who have not. I fell in love with the locals though – they were just the most humble, nicest people you could ever meet.

Worst travel experience?

A visit to the US, which got off to a bad start at JFK airport. I took my mum for her 50th birthday and ended up spending most of the first 24 hours handcuffed to a chair in customs.

They ripped my suitcase and clothes to pieces searching for drugs. Apparently someone had been using my passport number illegally. I walked out with all my stuff in carrier bags.

Worst hotel?

A place along the coast of southern Italy where I stayed with a film crew. To say the bathroom needed a good clean was an understatement.

There was no shower curtain – just a drain in the floor. The duvet fell apart when I touched it. There were stains everywhere. I'm sure David Attenborough would've had a field day in there.

Best hotel?

The Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. I go whenever I get a weekend off from Saturday Kitchen. It's just one of those old-fashioned hotels with a fantastic lobby and opulent rooms. It's bang in the centre, walking distance from the Champs-Elysées and close to a great antiques market. It's luxury personified. Also, a country house hotel called Chewton Glen, in the New Forest. I used to work there and still love it. They've got a beautiful health club and they're just building some luxury tree houses, too.

Best meal abroad?

French onion soup followed by sole meunière at Le Fouquet's on the Champs-Elysées. I go every time I'm in Paris. Even though it's expensive, you can sit and watch the world go by while eating great food.

Dream trip?

Asia. I've never been and, as a chef, I find the region fascinating. They're very imaginative with their ingredients, especially in Japan. I'm drawn to those kinds of flavours and would love to taste them there.

Favourite city?

Naples. It's a mad place but has amazing restaurants. There's one called L'Antica Pizzeria Michele which has been going since 1870. It only does two pizzas – with cheese or without – cooked by an old boy who sits smoking in the corner. It's the best pizza in the world.

Where next?

I might be going to the States to do some TV work. In terms of a holiday though, hopefully I'll make it back to St Barts soon.

James Martin will be cooking live at the BBC Good Food Show Spring (12 to 15 April, at Bluewater, Kent) and at the BBC Good Food Show Summer (13 to 17 June, at the NEC, Birmingham).

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there