Jean-Christophe talks about his love for Bucks ahead of Eden appearance

Jean-Christophe Novelli

Jean-Christophe Novelli

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

JEAN-Christophe Novelli set up his own cookery academy, not just because he wants to teach people how to cook more healthily, but also because he loves meeting people.

And he will be at Eden's Food Fair next month to meet and greet and show off his culinary skills. Recognisable for his dark mop of hair and known as the "nation's favourite French chef", Jean-Christophe is a well known face in the celebrity chef circuit.

He first moved to Britain in 1983, and spent a year taking care of Keith Floyd's pub, The Maltsters, while Keith was filming his famous TV show.

He later went on to open four restaurants in London in 1996, and later moved onto our TV screens. In 2005 he opened his cookery school at his home in Hertfordshire, which he is hoping to expand by opening another school- perhaps in Buckinghamshire.

He said: "I am trying to find a new site to expand my cookery school, as I am having to turn people away. "I can't find a site at the moment. I have looked in Bucks too."

Jean-Christophe lived in Little Chalfont for five years, while he was working at his restaurants in London. He had previously lived in Knightsbridge but wanted a quieter time, and also wanted to give his dogs a better life in the countryside.

Just a few weeks ago he was back in the area on a 100 mile bike ride for charity.

Jean-Christophe said: "It is beautiful, amazing. I have always liked there. Bucks is superb. "I was living there for five years- it was a beautiful time. "

At Eden’s Food Fair on August 2 Jean-Christophe will be in the pop up kitchen with demonstrations at 12, 1 and 2pm.

He said: "I am hoping to give them what we give in my cookery school- healthy tips in cooking. "It is going to be exciting food- people think healthy is boring but it is not."

He’ll also be signing copies of his book, Simply Novelli in Waterstones from 3pm. In he aims to eliminate the myth that French cuisine is difficult and time consuming to prepare and it was released last November.

Jean-Christophe said there are good recipes and tips in the book, and how to cook more healthily with less salt. He said: "Also financially it makes you realise there are ways of doing less and getting more.

"This book has resulted in a lot of satisfaction. I know the book is great. There are lots of people coming back to me and telling me."

It took him six weeks to write, with a team of support. He said: "Cooking is creating- you get something new. It is an expression. "To put it down in black and white is very hard."

They took 7,000 photos in five days of food for the book. But what did they do with all the food, which was cooked for the photo shoot?

Jean-Christophe said: "We made a lot of people happy. And the dogs. I have got lots of dogs- about 12 dogs." He runs his cookery school from his home in Hertfordshire.

"I was hoping to swap my life as a restaurant chef to be more involved with people," he said.

And he hopes to instil an enjoyment in cooking for people: "I do [enjoy meeting people], especially as this is my cookery school.

"It is my home. It is where I live." He teaches three times a week and people who book him- get him. Jean-Christophe said: "The good thing is everyone we have- there are people who are celebrating or had it as a gift, or there are chefs who want to learn more.

"I just focus a lot on my cookery school. I travel a lot around the world. I am booked constantly- whether launching a new car or whatever. I am quite busy."

He enjoys his TV work, and there are more and more things coming in, especially his youngest son is getting that little bit older now.

He has two boys- two and five- as well as an older daughter from his first marriage. Jean-Christophe said: "My oldest boy who is five can make pancakes, pizza, bread and pasta."

Perhaps another chef in the making? Also at the Eden Food Fair is The Big Bucks Bake Off, demos and free samples from Eden's restaurants and entertainment from The Courgettes- a creative mix of food, music and comedy.

It takes place at the Eden Shopping Centre on August 2.

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