Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be bringing his much vaunted culinary skills to this year’s Alnwick Food Festival.
The star of TV’s Hell’s Kitchen will be cooking up a lavish three-course meal at a special ticket-only event in the town as what promises to be the biggest and best Alnwick Food Festival to date gets underway on September 23.
The presence of the Michelin-starred chef at the three-day foodie extravaganza is a big coup for organisers.
Alnwick Food Festival director, Karen Larkin, says: “We’re now holding the festival over three days and I’m delighted Jean-Christophe Novelli has agreed to be our celebrity guest chef. His attendance is a huge boost for the 2011 event and, this year, we aim to attract a record number of visitors and trade stands.
“We wanted to host a totally different attraction in the shape of a dining experience in order to allow Jean-Christophe an opportunity to demonstrate his world-class culinary skills.
“Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Jean-Christophe to ask questions.”
The meal for 100 guests being held in the town’s Northumberland Hall on the market place will feature local produce and will include a main course of pork belly braised in cider and honey and Alnwick Food Festival Crepe for dessert.
Tickets cost £50 per person.
Jean-Christophe, who began his career working as a personal chef to the Rothschild family before moving to the UK in the early 1980s, adds: “I’m thrilled to be visiting Alnwick and to be involved in this fabulous event. The region is famous for producing a fantastic range of top-quality food produce and I’m looking forward to meeting dinner guests and local producers, as well as suppliers, during my visit.”
This is the seventh Alnwick Food Festival and Jean-Christophe’s appearance is expected to significantly boost visitor numbers. Last year’s event attracted around 20,000 people, but with the extra day being added and Jean-Christophe’s appearance, it is hoped to break the 25,000 barrier.
Visitors to Alnwick between September 23-25 can expect a smorgasbord of other culinary delights. The festival this year incorporates Alnwick Farmers’ Market on September 23 as well as the town’s beer festival.
The Saturday and Sunday will see 50 stalls selling food, drink and cookery essentials taking over the Market Square, and there will be chefs’ demos and street entertainment. The Sunday will also feature a community market for the first time on Bondgate Within while on Saturday evening a Taste of Northumbria food and music evening featuring musician Alistair Anderson will be held in the Northumberland Hall.
Producers exhibiting this year include Allendale Brewery, Heatherslaw Bakery, the Hot Stuff Chilli Company, Northumberland Poultry, The Mad Jam Woman and The Proof of the Pudding.
Food and in particular Northumberland local food is now an important part of the Northumberland tourism and visitor economy, with visitors to Northumberland wanting to sample local produce while they holiday in Northumberland.
For more information on the food festival go to www.alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk