CELEBRITY chef Simon Rimmer wowed crowds with a mouth-watering cooking demonstration as Bolton Council officially launched its revamped market.
The Sunday Brunch star is the ambassador for the market following the council’s year-long £4.5 million project to redesign the indoor market and build a new outdoor market fronting on to New Street.
Surrounded by heart-shaped Valentine’s balloons, Mr Rimmer prepared three exotic dishes to the delight of a packed food court in the new “lifestyle hall” at Bolton Market.
The two dishes he whipped up were sea bass with a brown shrimp curry and mini bhajis, and a Japanese beef tataki salad, all using ingredients from Bolton Market.
In an entertaining perform-ance, Mr Rimmer described the “slim and perfectly formed” sea bass as the “Harry Styles of fish” and advised men that the chilli-dressed beef salad gives them the best chance of “getting lucky” after a Valentine’s meal.
Then he helped the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Colin Shaw, in cutting a special Valentine’s cake to officially mark the market’s opening at about 1pm.
Mr Rimmer said: “I’ve been involved with the project from the very start and was delighted when the council approached me to be ambassador. It’s not something I ever considered doing simply as just turning up and getting involved at the end.
“I think the market looks brilliant. The signage and appearance of the stalls is fantastic.”
Mr Rimmer has worked on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 for two years, after filming the show as Something for the Weekend on the BBC for six years. He also owns the restaurants Greens in Didsbury and Earle in Hale.
He added: “I think the food court with a central seating area is a fabulous idea, one of the aspects of the redesign that I really advocated.
“It’s a central area where people with different tastes can have a sit down and a chat at.
“Here, I could have a pint and a bacon butty. You could have a coffee and a cake, but we could sit together, round a table, which is great.”
Mr Rimmer was joined at the market by Adam Corbally, a contestant on The Apprentice in 2011, who started his business career as a market trader.
He said: “It looks like the market is changing for the better, bringing new micro-businesses and the next generation of traders in.
“That’s exactly what we need in markets, as they are more than just people trying to make a living. Without the local community, I would never have been able to make it in markets myself.
“The Coffee Grind looks an amazing business. We talk about upsell, creating many opportunities for revenue, and they’ve created a great example.
“You choose a coffee and if you like it you can buy it and take it home.”