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Jean-Christophe Novelli reveals his celebrity crush ahead of Taste of Christmas

HE might be a regular on British telly, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get starstruck every once in a while.

Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli is more than a little comfortable catering for the rich and famous.

But while his dishes often leave their celeb consumers starstruck, he says he hasn't always been as calm and collected as he'd like to be when meeting his famous fans.

Speaking about his most 'starstruck moment', he told OK!: "I was invited to have dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York once. My friend called me and said 'Arnie wants to meet you and have dinner with you'.

"I thought he was having a laugh and didn’t believe him, but I thought I’d go anyway. When I got there I could see my mate, and next to him was Arnold saying ‘welcome to New York’.

"I looked behind me to check that he wasn’t talking to someone else, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was great. Arnold is fabulous and a real gentleman."

Ahead of Jean-Christophe's appearance at the Taste Of Christmas food festival in London this weekend, we had a chat with him about his secret celebrity crush and what was the best dish someone else cooked for him...

What's your favourite place in the UK?

If I have to be in Britain, it would have to be the west part of Cumbria in Whitehaven, which is on the coast so I get to swim in the sea. The sceneryis fantastic and there are some lovely restaurants. I probably go about seven times a year.

And your greatest escape?

I love going to the south of Salzburg in Austria because I love the mountainsand it’s a very unique place.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

It has to be Madonna. I went shooting with her, and she is very good. She looked absolutely phenomenal! I didn’t think she could shoot, but she shot a pheasant, which landed directly on my feet!

Your life is about food, but what's your favourite drink?

I don’t drink alcohol, but I love coffee. I must drink about six coffees a day. I use my Nespresso machine which is fantastic.

What's the best dish someone else has cooked for you?

It would have to be my mum’s stuffed baked tomato dish because she used to make it when I was a kid and she’s a fantastic cook! It’s very easy to make – you can use either beef or lamb mince, which you cook with chopped onions, parsley and a bit of garlic, then stuff it into a large tomato.

What are your plans for Christmas?

It looks like we will be at the 14th century farmhouse where we live, which is just by Luton Airport in the countryside. It’s beautiful and I love spending time there. We’ll have oranges and cinnamon hanging on the wall by the chimney, and I’ll just be cooking a simple roast - but will make it special!

Jean Christophe Novelli will be at Taste of Christmas in partnership with Electrolux at London’s ExCeL from 7th-9th December.

Visit www.tasteofchristmas.com