What celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli said about his time in Sunderland

Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli wowed crowds in Sunderland as he taught visitors how they can make restaurant-quality and healthy food at home.

By Poppy Kennedy
Sunday, 23 June, 2019, 08:00
Celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli at Sunderland's Food Festival.

Stopping to take pictures with fans and admiring the local musical talent, Novelli always seemed to have a smile on his face in Sunderland.

The chef’s three demonstrations in the Keel Square tent were packed with visitors of all cooking ability wanting to see first-hand the skills showcased by the Michelin-starred chef.

The headline act of the first Sunderland Food and Drink Festival, the French chef wowed crowds with his passion for healthy food as well as sharing a few laughs with the audience.

Novelli, who travelled from Luton, said: “Coming to Sunderland has been superb. I’m very excited about the reception and the produce has been good.

“There’s nothing more wonderful than when you are well received – it’s fantastic.

“I’m glad because I don’t think they came to see me particularly I think they came to see something new.

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“We all love food, food is a necessity. Eating, cooking and it should not be a slavery, everyone should be able to enjoy these things that we need to do the most – to feed ourself not through obligation but for pleasure as well.

“I always have a walk around and see what’s on offer. I want to source fresh food, I want to use the local produce.

“The only thing I bring here is different techniques which are suitable and easy for anyone even the novice chef.

“I’m very happy. My last visit to Sunderland was 15 years ago and today walking about I discover how much has been done and the progress that has been made.

“There is much more of a food scene than it was previously. People are extremely excited to learn – I wonder if I was doing a different job if there would be so many people turn up.

“I don’t think it’s a case of being a celebrity, I think it’s a case of they probably understood that they would get something out of me or one of the other chefs doing demonstrations today.”