In 2003 James Tanner became the latest recruit to the ever-popular TV series 'Ready Steady Cook', joining the regular team of celebrity chefs on the BBC 2 show which now draws in close to 3 million viewers per episode. Since then he has become one of the most popular chefs around – he has appeared on 'Step up to the Plate' (BBC1), 'Take on the Takeaway' (BBC 2), 'Saturday Kitchen' (BBC 1), 'Something for the Weekend' (BBC 2), 'Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is' (BBC 2) and the popular ITV breakfast show 'Lorraine'.
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Previously, he was a regular co-presenter for 'Great Food Live' for UKTV Food. James and Chris filmed their own 15 part series 'The Tanner Brothers', broadcast on the Carlton South West region during December 2003, and repeated on 'Great Food Live' in 2004. It was run in 2008 on UKTV Style. James also regularly appeared as guest chef on 'This Morning' (ITV1). James was the 2007 Christmas chef for 'GMTV' (ITV 1) dispensing all manner of helpful tips for making your Christmas meal delicious and easy. He was also taken on as a mentor in ITV 1's 'Soapstar Superchef.'
In 1999, aged 23, James and his brother Chris realised their boyhood dream of owning and operating their own establishment and they 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. Everything from bread to petit fours is made fresh each day with a great emphasis upon seasonal local produce and in just five years it has become one of the best known restaurants in the South West. It was voted the Best Restaurant in the UK for 2007/8 in the AA Awards, a huge and rarely bestowed honour! In addition to Tanner Restaurant, James also co-owns and run The Barbican Kitchen, also in Plymouth, and this too has attracted much praise.
In 2005 Chris and his brother James were invited to attend The Tri-Service Culinary Event at Sandown. This important annual military event brings together the best young – and old – chefs in the three services, the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, to compete against each other in a variety of demanding cooking associated tasks and the Tanner Brothers were the competition judges. This has now become an annual event for the Tanners. In addition, James is a regular at food festival up and down the country, including East of England show and Derbyshire Food Festival in 2008. James has been 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 is passionate about using local, seasonable and sustainable produce of excellent standards.
The Tanner Brothers published their first book, 'For Chocolate Lovers' (Jacqui Small, 2006). It was a huge success and they were invited to write another book straight after. 'Ice Cream' was published in March 2008 again through Jacqui Small. He has since has two more books published - 'James Tanner Takes 5: Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients (2011) and 'Old Favourites, New Twists: 100 classic recipes with a difference' (2013). The third of four brothers, James was brought up in Kent, and was taught to cook by his mother. After finishing school he studied Hotel Management and then worked in the kitchens of several well-known restaurants, often with his older brother Chris. He worked his way up through the ranks until he was invited by the Roux Brothers to move to the US and work in upstate New York – the rest is history.