CELEBRITY chef James Martin has urged people to protect the future of Bolton Market, ahead of his visit to the town this weekend.

A supporter of local producers, the Saturday Kitchen presenter will be at Bolton Food and Drink Festival on Bank Holiday Monday.

He will be demonstrating his culinary skills, including whipping up a chicken dish, BBQ lamb and monkey bread, which people can try out at home after picking up ingredients from Bolton Market.

James, aged 42, from Malton in North Yorkshire, said: “People can go and buy the produce after seeing the demonstrations.

“Markets are becoming more and more extinct and if you have got one then look after it.

“It’s generally up North, I think they seem to look after them a lot more.”

James’ television career began in November 1996 with The Big Breakfast and Ready Steady Cook and he since appeared in countless programmes, including Yorkshire’s Finest, which showed him sourcing and cooking local produce.

It was as a young boy that his passion for food was first ignited, helping his father out as catering manager at the stately home Castle Howard.

He said: “I was eight-years-old when I first started, it’s all I’ve done really.

“It’s all I ever wanted to do, I just enjoy it, I enjoy food, I enjoy cooking.”

In recent years, he has helped BBC’s Saturday Kitchen hit a new record with viewing figures of 3.5 million.

James, who has a restaurant at Manchester’s 235 Casino, serving modern British cuisine, said: “It’s always a good laugh.

“It’s hectic but I’ve got a three week break now off Saturday Kitchen, which enables me to go and do the food festivals.

“When I’ve finished, I’ll have a week off and put my feet up.”

He has just finished filming the next series of James Martin: Home Comforts, which sees him sharing recipes and secrets for home cooking.

He said: “It goes out at Christmas on the Beeb. It’s in conjunction with a book. It’s all stuff that I cooked at my house.

“It was nice being able to walk out of the room, 10 feet, and you’re at work. It’s not often you get that.”

Looking towards Monday’s visit to Bolton and James said: “I’ve been doing it for quite a number of years now. It’s grown every year.

“I feel like I’m a regular. Seeing it from its initial beginnings to what it is now, it’s grown. The amount of people that turn up, it’s fantastic.”

James Martin will be in the Festival Marquee, at Bolton Food and Drink Festival, on Monday.

Visit boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com for tickets.