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The much loved TV chef is back on screens today, as he is joined by comic Mel Giedroyc, and chefs Jonathan Phang and Ravinder Bhogal, on his flagship ITV show James Martin’s Saturday Morning. The outspoken cook is often vocal in his criticism of injustices he deems to notice, and has previously spoken of his anger at anti-Brexit sentiment that remains, years after the EU referendum. Among those he has attacked were Remainers, who shared their fears that as a result of the UK’s exit from the bloc, food shortages could decimate the nation.
These claims were highlighted again this month, after the UK signed a trade pact with the EU.
Some retailers argued that new regulations could lead to a shortfall in supermarket goods, with the likes of bosses at Tesco voicing their concern.
But James issued a frank assessment of those fears by claiming Brexit hadn’t really worried producers in the UK, as it would give them a chance to blossom in a new chapter away from the bloc.
Although he admitted “Brexit wasn’t going to be straight-forward”, he claimed in 2017 that “we’re not going to bloody starve”.
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He said during an interview with i: “Being a farmer’s kid, I thought the least we can do is support all the amazing producers that produce all the food or wine or beer in the UK.”
The former BBC star said it was time to “talk about what’s amazing about this country and its producers”, as opposed to just “slagging it off and moaning”.
He added: “We are good at moaning and groaning, not so good at praising people.”
Brexit helped the 48-year-old come up with his new show James Martin’s Great British Adventure, which he hoped would give farmers and producers a platform to demonstrate the brilliance of British cuisine.
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In 2019, James told the Daily Mail how he planned to travel the country, while eating in the “finest restaurants in the land”, cooking up treats on British beaches and enjoying good, old-fashioned chip shops.
He said after the Brexit vote: “I remember thinking, ‘Well, let’s show the country at its best’, adding: “If one good thing comes out of it, then maybe it’ll be that we support the food we produce.”
Following the continuing demise of high streets across the nation, James also poured further scorn on Remainer claims that restaurants could be getting killed off by Brexit.
Speaking after the losses of chains such as Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian in February last year, he argued that it was the customers who had contributed to our restaurants’ demise.
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He told Somerset Live: “The high street is hard anyway, but restaurants are usually the first to go. There’s an extremely low profit margin, high rent rates and usually very little parking in city centres, meaning people would rather dine outside of the city in country pubs and places like that.
“You shouldn’t put it down to Brexit, though, it’s not Brexit’s fault.
“It all comes down to whether people want to see their favourite restaurant stay open. If yes, they should go there.
“If a restaurant stands the test of time, it will stay.”
James Martin’s Saturday Morning’s cooking show has been one of the mainstays during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following his TV debut in 1996, James has spent 25 years bringing some of the world’s best recipes to Britons around the country.
In 2017, James left the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen programme after a decade, but was soon snapped up by ITV.
James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs from 9.30am on ITV today.
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