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"My Academy is my home, my heart and my life" - Jean-Christophe Novelli

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Jean-Christophe Novelli coming to Elton food festival - Peterborough Telegraph

The 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award-winning chef will be staging three demonstrations at the event, organised by Cambridgeshire based Market Square Group.

He said: “It is what I love doing. It is not all about winning Michelin stars.

“Becoming a chef turned my life around, so it is nice to give something back.

“I love being able to travel to different parts of Great Britain and discover new local produce, and I like meeting people. I get really excited speaking to people about food.

“Eating is very important - we do it three times a day, don’t forget. I like to talk about the benefits of cooking it yourself - and not just for health and budget reasons. I always say that once you know how to make a good meal at home it will prevent arguments and even divorce!

“I’m delighted to be invited to play my part in Elton Hall Food & Drink Festival, which promises to be a fantastic family event.

“I am really looking forward to meeting the local food and drink producers in this special part of the country where three counties meet.

“Also it is nice to actually be out in the fresh air after all those years working long hours in kitchens and barely ever seeing daylight!

The highlight for many will see the aa Chef’s Chef of the Year in the kitchen theatre cooking one of his favourite classic dishes at 11am, a Mediterranean meal at 1pm and, at 3pm, a culinary creation focusing on locally-sourced produce.

“But I won’t be telling you what I will be making,” he said. “ I am not a robot, besides I do not know what I am having for dinner tomorrow so why would I decide what I am going to be cooking in June?”

Visitors to the event are being invited to put their cookery skills under the spotlight and enter a homemade summer fruit dessert competition which will be judged by the international chef between 4.30pm and 5pm.

A daunting thought, given the impressive CV of the restaurateur, whose Novelli Academy is one of the country’s leading cookery schools.

“Don’t worry, I am not a harsh critic or judge,” he said. “I appreciate what people are trying to do – I have been there. You never know, someone shy and timid can step up and make something marvellous.

“Cooking is the only time we can use our five senses at the same time. For me this is about taste, smell and texture. It is not just creating something that looks right.”

When he is not demonstrating his cooking skills, or judging competitions, he will be chatting with festival visitors during the day, and signing copies of his latest book Simply Novelli, a collection of classic French recipes which he describes as “honest and easy to read”.

Paul Kennedy, Market Square Group’s event coordinator, said: “The excitement surrounding this high-profile event is building and we are privileged to have Jean-Christophe Novelli as our headline chef.

“He is hugely popular with the public, his Novelli Academy has been voted one of the top cooking academies in the world and he has made countless appearances on television in the UK and US.

“The most remarkable thing about Jean Christophe, however, is the enthusiasm and passion that he brings with him – you don’t have to be a foodie to fall under his spell.”

Elton Hall Food & Drink Festival promises a feast of entertainment for all the family and will showcase some of the best regional, national and international food and drink available in the UK, alongside high-quality products and services for the home and garden.

As well as the cookery demonstrations by Jean-Christophe, champions speakers local chefs and comedy cooking duo The King Elvises, who will be sharing mama’s recipes from the Deep South, will be taking the stage.

Other highlights will include free children’s baking workshops by local Coco’s Kitchen, film screenings, talks and demos by ‘The Historic Gardener’ Mike Brown and potter Jim Newboult, and a beer festival will run throughout the three-day event.

During Saturday evening’s Supper and Song, the audience can enjoy live music headed up by CoCo and the Butterfields with their own unique fusion of folk, pop and hip hop, accompanied by delicious Indian cuisine. On the same evening there will be a multi-course Medieval Banquet, washed down with liberal quantities of wine, with musicians, entertainers and re-enactors.

A tasting arena will be open all three days of the festival where local producers will be showcasing their food and drink and offering samples to visitors.

Tickets for Elton Hall Food & Drink Festival are available at www.clickit-tickets.co.uk. Adult prices start from £9 with children and concessions £5. Children under five are admitted free on all three days. There are additional charges for some entertainments and demonstrations.

Win festival tickets or get 25% discount

We have got 10 tickets to the festival on Sunday, June 8, to give away - and the winners will also receive a ticket for admission to Jean-Christophe Novelli’s first cookery demonstration of the day at 11am.

In addition, if the entrants provide their e-mail address, anyone not lucky enough to win will receive a 25 per cent discount off any day’s admission to the festival (not event or demonstration tickets).

To be in with a chance of winning answer this question: What is the name of Jean-Christophe’s latest book? Send your answer to P O Box 1257, Peterborough, PE2 2LL.