Matt Tebbutt speaks out on backlash to him replacing James Martin on Saturday Kitchen

Saturday Kitchen: Matt Tebbutt asks Emma Bunton ‘are you still talking?’

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Presenter of Saturday Kitchen Matt Tebbutt, 47, has spoken about taking over the BBC cooking show from chef James Martin, revealing that he faced a backlash from the restaurateur’s fans. Speaking exclusively to, the show’s current host explained that being accepted by Saturday Kitchen viewers was a “gradual process”, as over the past decade the Yorkshire-born chef had built a large following of dedicated fans.

It was a slow process and people like to have their favourites and don’t generally like change

Matt Tebbutt

After joining the favourite weekend show in 2009, Matt was often the stand-in presenter for when James was away.

However, after James’ decision to leave the BBC programme in 2016, it was announced that he would present the show on a full-time basis.

But after over a decade at the helm of the cooking show, James had gained a loyal fan base which weren’t all happy to see the back of the star.

Addressing the backlash he got for taking over the role from the Yorkshireman, Matt said that his acceptance from fans was a “gradual process”.

He said: “It was a slow process and people like to have their favourites and people don’t generally like change.

“So yeah, it was a gradual process,” he admitted.

The star went on to to reveal that his approach to the job was a simple, straightforward one.

“I think, just do your job and if people like you, great, and if people don’t then so be it, and you just hope enough people do,” he laughed.

Luckily, over the five years he’s been fronting the show Matt has gained loyal followers himself.

However, he admitted that he felt “anxious” about first starting the presenting gig.

He said: “I was quite nervous about it, it was not without trepidation.”

But for the former restaurant owner, there was never any question about not accepting the role.

Matt continued: “But, you know, when the offer comes in, what do you do?

“You don’t do it because you’re nervous? Or you do it to the best of your ability and if people like it then great, if they don’t, well so be it and if the BBC didn’t like it then I wouldn’t last long,” Matt added.

The chef finished: “So you just do it and get on with it and be yourself.”

The Yorkshire born chef fronted the favourite weekend cooking show for ten years from 2006 to 2016, before making the decision to leave the BBC.

Two years after his exit, James told ITV’s Loose Women panel that he made the decision to quit the show after witnessing a man drop dead in front of him.

Speaking about his work-life balance, the chef told the women about the incident which caused him to shift his mindset.

He said: “I was doing a gig abroad and I was chatting to a gentleman the same age as me, same work ethic, really keen on work.

“He went out on stage literally five minutes after I spoke to him to present an award and he was dead before he hit the floor,” James explained.

He continued to tell the panel: “I got back on the plane and thought now I’m going to readdress the balance.”

Saturday Kitchen is on today at 10am on BBC One.

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