When James Tanner became the latest recruit to the ever-popular TV series Ready Steady Cook (BBC1) the show drew in close to 3 million viewers per episode. Since then he has appeared on Step up to the Plate, Saturday Kitchen (BBC 1), Something for the Weekend, Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is, Take on the Takeaway (BBC 2), Country House Sunday (ITV), and is a resident chef on Lorraine (ITV).
2010 saw James’ career soar, with his own range of products with Matalan incorporating everything from cookware to kitchen textiles with a new range hitting the shops in 2011. Previously, he was a regular co-presenter for Great Food Live for UKTV Food. James and Chris (James’ brother) filmed their own 15 part series The Tanner Brothers, broadcast on the Carlton South West region in December 2003, and repeated on Great Food Live in 2004. It also ran on UKTV Style.
James is regularly asked to work with top brands; he was the face of Blossom Hill’s Summer 2012 campaign, and in Autumn 2012 launched the new range of Heinz soups with a series of soup-inspired recipes. In 2013 he worked with Flora Buttery.
In 1999, aged 23, James and his brother Chris realised their boyhood dream and opened Tanners Restaurant in Plymouth. This was the perfect opportunity to put into practice their excellent Roux Brothers training. The restaurant is in a Grade 1 listed building that is the oldest in the city and was a medieval priest’s house. However there’s nothing old fashioned about the menu which is mainly modern British with Continental and North American influences. It has been voted as the Best Restaurant in the UK for 2007/8 in the AA Awards, a huge and rarely bestowed honour! In addition to Tanners Restaurant, James and his brother Chris have The Barbican Kitchen also in Plymouth, and their latest venture, The Kentish Hare in Bidborough, Kent – a family pub restaurant boasting a menu of local Kentish produce.
James is a regular at food festivals up and down the country, and in 2014 began work as the newly appointed Chef Director of Salon Culinaire at the Hotelympia show. He has brought an innovative competition schedule and new ideas to the show to build on the 25 years of work put in by his predecessor, Peter Griffiths MBE.
He is passionate about using local, seasonable and sustainable produce of excellent quality. James was involved in the Red Tractor campaign, which focuses on an alliance of farmers, processors, retailers and distributors who work together to maintain and raise production standards.
James’ books include For Chocolate Lovers, and Ice Cream co-written with his brother Chris, and his first solo book, James Tanner Takes 5: Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients. His second book, ‘Old Favourites, New Twists – 100 classic recipes with a difference’ was published 11th July 2013 by Kyle Cathie.