Yesterday evening I attended an inspirational talk by the chef James Martin, organised by Business Link at the National Railway Museum in York. What an evening. I never expected the evening to be organised the way it was. I heard that James Martin was coming to give a talk from receiving an e-mail from Business Link and the seminar was free. Naturally when someone who has made it like James has and the chance to hear him talk is free then I want to be there, but I was very much expecting it to be a lecture theatre style layout and to simply hear him talk. I was therefore quite amazed and very pleasantly surprised when I arrived to be met with a glass of wine and to see the place set out with table cloths, place settings, ready for a meal. I did wonder whether I had come to the right place, to be honest, as I did not expect a full sit down meal with approximately 400 other like minded business people from in and around Yorkshire. To say that Business Link pulled out all the stops and really went to town is an understatement. It was organised very well and was a very pleasant evening. Having James Martin speak was a bonus.
James really talked about how he has got to where he has and become a television star, as well as owning quite a number of businesses, not only restaurants, but a range of different businesses including a couple of clothing shops. It was very interesting to hear how and at what age he started, and his passion for being a chef, and what he had to do to get to where he has. Living on the Castle Howard estate I suppose he was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the kitchens at Castle Howard by the age of 8 and he worked his way up knowing he wanted to do better and follow a passion to work with the masters in the industry. I suppose some chefs would be very happy to get the opportunity to work in the Castle Howard kitchens alone but James had a drive to want to achieve higher. I would certainly enjoy the opportunity to photograph a wedding at Castle Howard as I photograph at a lot of fantastic venues around the country, and Castle Howard is certainly up there with the best of them.
I think being in debt to the tune of £18k and working for nothing, moving away from his family to go to London at 17 is not something that most people would willingly consider, but if you have a passion for something then you aim as high as you possibly can to work at the highest possible level. James set his sights on working with the best in the best kitchens in London in order to learn his craft, and getting the opportunity to work in television seems to be where his career turned around from being poorly paid to being very well paid for what he does. At the young age that he has achieved his ambitions he was very inspirational, especially at a time when a lot of businesses are being hit by the recession. I wonder whether he would have made it if he had stayed in Yorkshire, as opposed to working in both London and France.
James has recognised his name as being a brand and uses that to endorse products, and in his business speculations. He believes everyone is a brand and how you market that brand will ultimately lead to whether you become a success. If you have a passion for something then you will ultimately work as hard as you can to achieve your ambition, and to this day James will be the first in to work and the last to leave.
If you get the chance to hear James speak then I would recommend taking the opportunity as he was witty, and being a Yorkshire fella had that dry sense of humour that Yorkshire folk are renowned for. I would highly recommend people taking advantage of the seminars that Business Link have to offer at the moment, as most are free, and they offer a lot of very helpful advice for anyone in business. All in all a very worthwhile and great evening.