Once upon a time, when James Tanner was a mere boy of 12, a man didn’t turn up for work. It may sound unremarkable, but that fateful day marked a crucial turning point in Tanner’s life.

“I grew up in Kent among the oast houses and hop fields and used to have a Saturday job as a pot-washer,” says Tanner, right.

“One day the old chef didn’t turn up so the owner asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of cooking. So there I was, doing the vegetables for the roast dinners every week. I loved it.”

And he hasn’t looked back since. The Plymouth-based chef, who often appears on BBC One’s flagship cookery programme Saturday Kitchen, has turned his Saturday job into a successful career. When he isn’t busy preparing dishes at his restaurant Tanners, which he co-owns with his brother Chris, he’s serving up delights for Lorraine Kelly on daytime TV.

“I really enjoy going on live TV,” says the chef, who lives with his partner, their seven-year-old daughter and a newly-acquired miniature schnauzer puppy called Lola.

“Lorraine Kelly is lovely and exactly the same as she is on the telly. Don’t get me wrong, live TV can be nerve-racking but I feel very fortunate to do all the shows I’ve done, and also get to write books too.”

Indeed, following his previous title – James Tanner Takes 5: Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients – he recently brought out Old Favourites, New Twists, which features tasty updates on 100 classic crowd-pleasing meals.

“I understand what it’s like being at home, especially as a parent. You get, ‘Is it spaghetti Bolognese again?’, ‘Oh another roast on Sunday?’” he says.

“I’ve seen in the restaurant trade that people are going back to basics again, so I wanted to create meals that people feel confident they could cook, but give them a tweak if they’re getting bored with them.”

Here is one of Tanner’s fresh takes on summertime classics to try at home.

n Old Favourites, New Twists: 100 Classic Recipes With A Difference by James Tanner (Kyle Books, £15.99.)