OCTOBER’S Shetland Food Festival will feature very special guests including Jean Christophe Novelli, the man who’s been described as Britain’s favourite French chef. M. Novelli grew up in Arras, in northern France, and came to Britain at the age of 22 after working as private chef to the Rothschilds in Paris. He ran Keith Floyd’s restaurant while Mr Floyd was making his well-known television series.
Later, M. Novelli went on to earn several Michelin stars and, by the late 1990s, he was dividing his time between seven restaurants in London, France and South Africa. Latterly he has concentrated on running a cookery school and he owns two gastro-pubs with plans to open more. He has made many television appearances on programmes ranging from Saturday Cooks to Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.
M. Novell said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take part in the islands’ first Food Festival. Shetland is well known for producing exceptional lamb, beef, fish and shellfish and I’m really looking forward to sampling it all. I always use produce that’s seasonal and local, so the timing of the festival means that it’s a perfect opportunity for me to cook with the best of what’s available.”
Also demonstrating his skills will be George McIvor, chairman of the Masterchefs of Great Britain, who needs little introduction to Shetland audiences thanks to appearances at Flavour of Shetland and other local events over recent years. He always makes clear his passion for the exceptional ingredients that Shetland can offer.
Mr McIvor said: “It is always with great anticipation that I return to Shetland for the opportunity to explore and sample Shetland’s astounding natural harvest and of course the warm welcome from the islanders, proud of their islands and their produce.
“The cold clear seas around Shetland produce some of the finest seafood in the world and what a thrill it is for a chef to get his hands on fresh fish straight from the boats, add to this the distinctive flavour of the local lamb, dairy and baked goods and cooking on Shetland becomes a real pleasure.”
The Food Festival will run from Friday, 3rd October to Sunday, 12th October and is being organised by Shetland Islands Council’s economic development unit.
Principal marketing officer Neil Henderson said: “We’re delighted that Jean-Christophe Novelli and George McIvor are able to join us for the festival. They’ll be appearing over the first weekend and I’m sure their demonstrations will be very well-attended.
“We will also have a series of demonstrations being carried out by local people and, although we’re still working on the final details of the programme, there will be many other attractions during the festival, including a food producers’ market alongside these demonstrations.
“We’re keen to hear from any eating places or local groups, such as hall committees, that may be interested in putting on special menus or organising food-related events during the festival. We have had an excellent response from sponsors so far which will help to ensure the success of the event.”
A special North Isles section of the Producers’ Market is being organised. If anyone is interested in participating in that they can contact Anna Niven or Elizabeth Johnson on (01957) 755245 or 755222.
Anyone who would like to get involved in the Food Festival is invited to contact Mr Henderson on (01595) 744960 or his colleague Nicola Halcrow on (01595) 744944.