The heat is on in Sheffield, warns celebrity chef

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YORKSHIRE’s two best-known chefs are set to slug it out for supremacy in the hottest competition that Sheffield has seen in years…

Brian Turner and James Martin are squaring up for the Food Fight Against Cancer at the city’s Crucible Theatre on February 4. And although it may appear light-hearted, the battle will be deadly serious, Brian has revealed.

“People always ask: ‘Is it serious? Do you only go out there to win?’ Absolutely not – but I don’t go to lose either!” he says.

The event is being organised by Kay Simons of Dronfield, who has been fundraising for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity since it was founded 19 years ago. She enlisted the support of city restaurateur David Baldwin, who persuaded his friend Turner to take part – and Brian, in turn, roped in fellow Yorkshire celebrity chef James Martin.

“We’ve worked together on lots of projects, but this is a bit of a one-off,” says Brian. “It’s very much an ad lib – we haven’t decided on the final format yet – but the secret is getting the balance right between education and entertainment.”

The first half is likely to take the form of a demonstration, with James cooking in the modern style and Brian going for a classic dish. Then the two will put their skills to the test in a live Ready Steady Cook-type battle.

“I suspect who wins will depend on the age of the people in the audience,” says Brian. “James has a great following so I think he’ll be odds-on favourite… But I’ll give him a good race.

“I’m very much looking forward to this. I’m sure it’s going to be a great evening and I’m really hopeful that the people of Sheffield will support us by buying tickets.”

He adds: “If we can get 100,000 
people there and they’re all supporting James, that’s fine by me. I’ll go down fighting!”

Tickets are now available from Sheffield Theatres box office, priced £45. For VIP packages (£150 including chauffeur, dinner and a chance to meet the chefs), email

Lesley Draper