FOOD festival favourite James Martin is a man of many talents.

The celebrity chef is not only a sought-after TV star with his own foodie shows, he owns restaurants and a cookery school, is a car-mad classic vehicle collector and now... a rock star?

James, relaxing in the Bolton Food and Drink Festival marquee ahead of his ever-popular demonstration, laughs at the suggestion.

On Saturday he stood on stage with his guitar the first time, just after Jules Holland and before the Kaiser Chiefs, playing for a 34,500 strong crowd at his mate Chris Evans’ charity Carfest event.

He said: “It’s the first ever gig — I picked up the guitar about a year ago. We rehearsed in a scout hut and my living room. The maximum we have performed in front of before was my mum and a few chef mates of mine.

“It was an amazing experience. I came straight off and Chris said ‘What are you doing next year?’ — I said whoa, whoa.

“The main thing was we weren’t s***.”

While fans might have to wait a while to get another earful of the 47-year-old’s guitar playing, the musical debut was just one example of the affable star’s philosophy of living life to the full.

“I’ve never been one to say ‘I wish I’d have done this’. You should grab every opportunity that comes to you,” said James.

But no matter what he does, James says food will always be at the centre of his life.

“Food has always been at the top of the list and will always, always be at the top of the list and the restaurants will be because you employ people and they have got kids and families and mortgages to pay, so that’s your priority 150 percent,” he said.

“Without the media stuff the restaurants wouldn’t have the success.”

Although he is off to Ireland next week to film for his latest TV series, Islands to Highlands, he has still found time to stop off in Bolton for his 11th annual visit to the Food and Drink Festival.

His easy-going manner and culinary skills have endeared him to thousands of festival goers over the years and he loves coming here.

“I love Bolton. I love the people — I love the place. It’s 11 years I have been coming here and the enthusiasm and the passion have been literally since the moment I got here,” said James. “To be invited here every year since is a privilege and also to see it grow.

“When I first came here the market was a lot smaller than this — there was one Portaloo and now we’ve got a bank of them out there!

“This is certainly the biggest and the best food festival around, there’s no question. The chefs now they are pulling in are big names.”

Despite food trends coming and going James remains true to what he believes in, delighting the Bolton audiences at his demonstrations today with a massive cheese and ham toastie, Monkfish and Korean aubergines, Seabass with buttered tagliatelle and beurre blanc and Summer fruit pudding with clotted cream.

The amount of butter he added to his beurre blanc and the ladles of double cream he laughingly poured into the cheese sauce for the cheese and ham toastie were quite honestly staggering.

But as he said: “Healthy food... yeah. If you want that get Joe Wicks down here but it’s not me. I like tasty food. Food’s a magical thing. We’ve all got to eat so why not enjoy it?”