Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Hartley / Rex Features ( 655112f )
James Martin
Celebrity chef, James Martin signing his new book 'Desserts', Waterstone's bookshop, Southampton, Britain - 06 Apr 2007
Martin, 36, who took part in the inaugural Festival of Taste two years ago, said he was looking forward to returning for the second event.

UK celebrity chef eager to serve Dubai

DUBAI // A British celebrity chef hopes to bring the hearty tastes of northern England to the exotic climes of Dubai. James Martin, whose Yorkshire burr is as authentic as his cooking, plans to look to his roots to realise his dream of opening a restaurant in the city. The chef, who is due to take part in the Jumeirah Festival of Taste next month, said he wants to serve up a slice of old-fashioned British food to expatriates pining for home. "There would be no fancy glasses or posh cutlery. People miss a good old-fashioned Yorkshire tea," he said. "I have eaten in Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in Dubai and while they were OK, I would like to do something different." He said "a traditional English place like Betty's tearooms in York" - an institution in the tourist city - "would be great here". "I just love things like Yorkshire rarebit [Wensleydale cheese on toast], fish and chips and afternoon teas. I was brought up on that kind of food on a farm and have always believed old-fashioned is best. "We never had ready-made meals when I was growing up, it was always freshly cooked, wholesome food. "I am a big fan of British produce and there are plenty of expats who miss that kind of food. "I definitely want to be part of the scene in Dubai. I was approached two or three years ago and was interested but decided it was not the right time. Now is the right time. "If the right place came along and we had a great infrastructure and the right crew, it would certainly be a possibility." Martin, 36, who took part in the inaugural Festival of Taste two years ago, said he was looking forward to returning for the second event. He has already visited once this year to look at potential restaurant sites. "There are opportunities and it is getting busier in terms of the number of chefs opening sites in Dubai. People are moving here to settle down and as it becomes less of a tourist destination and more of a liveable place, it is more of a temptation to have a restaurant here." Martin has appeared on several television programmes and made a name for himself at the age of 12 by cooking for the Queen Mother. His father ran the catering at Castle Howard, a stately home near the family home in Malton, north Yorkshire, and the budding chef began dabbling alongside him from the age of four. He already had years of experience by the time it came to whipping up a rack of lamb, a vacherin - a meringue-like dessert - and a ginger and syrup ice cream for the Queen Mother, who, he recalled proudly, "came into the kitchen afterwards to say thank you". After training in the British seaside town of Scarborough and working in kitchens in his home country and France, he opened the Hotel and Bistro du Vin in Winchester at the age of 21. The venture changed his life. "The restaurant was packed out and word got around in London," he said. "That hardly ever happens outside the capital." Offers of television work soon followed and he became a regular on BBC shows such as Ready Steady Cook and Saturday Kitchen, which he now presents. He has also presented Kids Eat The Funniest Things; James Martin Sweet and Sweet Baby James, focusing on his passion for desserts; Yorkshire's Finest, where he sourced and cooked local produce; Use Your Loaf; Out Of The Frying Pan and even a show called Deck Dates on which he played Cupid, persuading contestants to cook a meal for a romantic blind date. He was once voted one of Britain's most eligible bachelors by Company magazine and has been linked to a series of glamorous women, including Barbara Broccoli, the producer of James Bond films. Martin has been in a relationship with Sally Kettle, a former Miss England winner, for two years. The car-loving cook's website shows him in front of a stove and draped across one of his Ferraris. Fans can download images of him performing on Strictly Come Dancing, the British TV dance contest he competed in three years ago. He currently owns 19 cars, including a Maserati 1948, two Ferraris and an Audi RS4. "My days off are very expensive. I tend to buy one a month and the garage is getting very crowded. I find driving them is a release and the complete opposite of my normal job." His appearance in Dubai will be squeezed in between festivals in Spalding and Scarborough, in Britain. "They are very different but I am really looking forward to coming to Dubai," he said. "I had great fun at the last festival. The highlight will be cooking on a yacht. We have some great dishes planned and are cooking different kinds of food every night." The events he will be co-hosting from Nov 9-13 include a gala dinner in Madinat Jumeirah, a cooking show with some dance steps thrown in at Rhythm and Basil in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, an afternoon tea in the Burj al Arab and a day on-board a yacht cooking lunch for 15 chosen guests. Tickets for events are available from or by calling 04 301 7781. tyaqoob@thenational.a

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024


Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).


Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).


Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).


Starring: Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Amer Daher

Director: Elia Suleiman

Rating: 4.5/5


Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

New Zealand 15 British & Irish Lions 15

New Zealand 15
Tries: Laumape, J Barrett
Conversions: B Barrett
Penalties: B Barrett

British & Irish Lions 15
Penalties: Farrell (4), Daly

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, John Cena

Rating: 3/5

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

The 10 Questions
  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonise space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?
The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE


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