Celebrity chef James Martin's career has been a huge success, but he revealed this weekend that things could have easily turned out very differently. On the most recent episode of his cookery programme Saturday Morning with James Martin, the 47-year-old Yorkshire native admitted that not only did he struggle at cookery school, he almost failed entirely.
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But it wasn't due to a lack of hard work or enthusiasm – it was due to his dyslexia, which causes difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling and is thought to affect at least one in ten people in the UK, many of them severely. In James' case, it made it difficult for him to pass exams or even to follow recipes.
James has presented Saturday Morning... on ITV since September 2017
He told his guests this week, singer Lisa Stansfield and chef Ainsley Harriott, "I mainly failed it [cookery] because I’m severely dyslexic." He persevered and built a successful career but still has difficulties presenting sometimes because he has trouble following the autocue. "A lot of this crew think I’m ignoring them," he laughed, adding, "I am most of the time but it’s mainly because I have trouble reading a script."
Ainsley commented that James' brave words would have inspired people watching who are in the same position. The Can't Cook, Won't Cook star, who appeared alongside James on Ready Steady Cook in the 1990s, said: "I think there was a period in time when people didn’t recognise dyslexia. And now we’re there and it’s people like you who are saying, ‘I was’ and admitting it, gives them the confidence to say, ‘You know what? I can achieve things in life.'"
The chef is a motorbike and car enthusiast
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That's certainly been the case for James, who has appeared on TV for many years, including hosting Operation Hospital Food between 2011 and 2014 and Saturday Kitchen from 2006 to 2016. A car enthusiast, he raced in the Aston Martin Centenary Festival in 2013 and also holds a private plane licence.
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