Video: Star chef James Martin launches his new ‘fast food’ menu in York

James Martin road tests – or should that be track tests – his new menu. Photographs: Kate Mallender
7 Jul 2017 @ 4.54 pm
| Food & drink

He’s always on the go, that James Martin.

Opening a new restaurant, starring in a new TV series… And this week James was back on his old stomping ground as he brought his new menu to York.

It’s fast food in every sense, as the grub travels at speeds of 125mph.

That’s because the celebrity chef has just put the finishing touches to the refreshed seasonal menu for Virgin Trains, which will now be served up to passengers along the East Coast Mainline.

And it includes some unusual flavour combinations…

Sausage roll with sultanas

Not stinting on the shortbread as the train powers its way to York

One of the biggest hits from his new range is the sausage roll, James told YorkMix.

“We do this with quite an unusual dressing. We do it with sultanas and brown sauce.

“It’s like a puree but it tastes amazing. You get this umami hit that you get with the warm sausage roll.”

James said it takes about six months from the initial concept at the development kitchen to the food being served to passengers.

“It’s very different to running a conventional restaurant, where you can put what you want on the menu, and 48 hours later it’s in your kitchen.

“You have to look at so many different parameters. Fundamentally, space, the crew that they’ve got, the kitchen equipment that they’ve got.

“And you are on a moving train. It’s going at over 100mph and there are two ovens and a stove. You work from there, and try to achieve your best.”

York memories

Having a laugh about the food they serve up on Southern Trains. Probably
James was brought up on the Castle Howard Estate – and returning to York Station brought back memories.

“I remember taking the train from this platform aged 17 years old. My grandad used to work in the ticket office here.

“My first ever job was in London, and I took the train.

“I disappeared off, my mum was in tears, my sister just wanted to go back in the car. My dad gave me 50 quid in my pocket and that was it.

“Basically, ‘sod off, and don’t come back for three years’! A lot’s changed.”

And a lot has changed for James too. He has just opened another restaurant and is about to start filming his new ITV show, Saturday Morning with James Martin.

He left BBC’s Saturday Kitchen to do the show, which he will host from his home kitchen.

Yorkshire’s finest

Say cheese! Time for a quick selfie with Caroline Bell of Shepherds Purse Cheeses
While he was in York James met some of the Yorkshire producers whose foods are featured on his new Virgin Trains menus.

Representatives from cheese maker, Shepherds Purse, and traditional jam makers, Fruity Kitchen, were amongst those welcoming James to the city.

So too was David Horne, MD of Virgin Trains East Coast. He revealed to YorkMix that he took part in a testing day for all the potential dishes on the new menu.

“It’s a day when you’re eating 18, 19 dishes in an afternoon, so you end up very full.

“But it’s always good to get a preview of the dishes before they launch.”