FRENCH celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli heaped praise on Bolton’s Food and Drink Festival as he compared it to an Olympic event.
The 52-year-old, who runs a cooking academy, wowed the crowds yesterday in the festival marquee in Victoria Square when made a range of tasty treats including spiced summer berries and ice cream in a spun sugar basket. Mr Novelli told The Bolton News that the festival was the “centre where things happen”.
He added: “It is the Olympic event. Instead of sport or gold medals, we get people learning about food.
“Anybody who really likes cooking should not miss out on a chance to visit these stalls and these people who have so much to offer.
“Bolton has such a good reputation.
“I don’t think there are enough festivals like this around the country.” The established chef left school aged 14 to work in a bakery, before becoming a personal chef to the Rothschild family, running several restaurants and opening his own restaurants around the globe.
He did three demonstrations in the packed marquee throughout the day and said he hoped he would inspire people to cook themselves or to try individually owned restaurants rather than chains.
“I think individual restaurants are better, if people go to less commercial outlets. I think that is the way it should be and the food is better,”
Mr Novelli, who has appeared on a number of TV programmes including Hell's Kitchen and his own show Chef Academy, recently became a father for a third time when his second son Jacques was born a month ago.
He also has a four-year-old son as well as a 26-year-old daughter, Christina Novelli, an aspiring singer. Mr Noveli admitted he huge fan of Bolton and said it has always been his dream to compete in the Ironman triathlon.
He said: “I was hoping to be part of the Bolton Ironman two years ago.
“It has always been my ambition.
“I think Bolton has one of the most organised sporting events.
“Doing the Ironman for me is like going to Silverstone for people who love Formula One.
“For people who love triathlons, it is about going to Bolton.
“Hopefully next summer I can come to Bolton and take part.”