Novelli to cook up storm at Clipper

Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli
Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli

Jean-Christophe Novelli, “the nation’s favourite French chef”, will be getting foodie pulses racing on the banks of the Foyle on Friday, July 15.

The multi award-winning Michelin chef, TV star and author will bring his distinctive French flair and creative excellence to the free admission, four-day family-friendly food extravaganza taking place in Ebrington Plaza as a highlight of the wider Foyle Maritime Festival programme which runs from July 9 to 17.

Popular local celebrity chefs Jenny Bristow, Paula McIntyre, Noel McMeel, Brian McDermott and Ian Orr will also be headlining at Clipper Race Kitchens, which is expected to be one of the biggest events held during Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) NI Agri Food programme, Tourism NI and the Loughs Agency.

The Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said: “Council is to be applauded for organising what promises to be an absolutely superb showcase of our finest local food produce and culinary talent as part of the wider Foyle Maritime Festival programme,” she declared.

“Festival-goers will be delighted at the calibre of the visiting and local celebrity chefs taking part, and we are particularly excited at the announcement that Jean-Christophe Novelli will be joining us for a series of live cookery demos in the Theatre of Food on the afternoon of Friday, July 15.”

Mary Blake, Council’s Tourism Development Officer and organiser of Clipper Race Kitchens, said: “Clipper Race Kitchens is the biggest event in our Year of Food calendar as we showcase LegenDerry food and produce from across our Council district and beyond. This is an excellent opportunity to profile the city as a leading food destination with international appeal, particularly following our success last year as runner-up in Ireland’s Foodie Towns competition. We expect Clipper Race Kitchens to create a huge buzz as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival.”

Jean-Christophe Novelli is a 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award-winning chef, who began his career aged 14 as a baker in his home town of Arras, Northern France, before becoming the private Head Chef to Elie de Rothschild, of the French banking family, at the age of 19.

Jean-Christophe’s life changed completely when he arrived in Britain in 1983. He spent a year taking care of Keith Floyd’s pub, ‘The Maltsters’, as Head Chef, whilst Keith was filming his famous TV shows. In 1996, Jean-Christophe opened four restaurants in London and now runs the Novelli Academy from his home in Hertfordshire, providing training for chefs and inspirational courses.

He has made numerous guest appearances on TV cookery shows including Saturday Kitchen, Chefs Academy and Hell’s Kitchen as well as on This Morning, Loose Women and Countryfile.

Clipper Race Kitchens will have three main food zones on Ebrington Plaza, including two huge festival marquees. In addition to the LegenDerry Boulevard of Chefs with 12 local restaurants cooking signature dishes priced from around £5, and Theatre of Food with live cookery demos and sampling in the Clipper Race Kitchen marquee, there will also be a Flavours of the Foyle showcase.

The Clipper Race Food Pavilion will showcase around 40 artisan producers selling their delicious wares, while the Clipper Race Village will be serving up the finest local street food from selected chefs/vendors out on the Plaza.

The family-friendly food event, which opens from 12 noon on July 14-17, will also have a kids zone with arts and crafts as well as water boats, jungle playground, cheroplanes and live music to keep everyone entertained.

For more details about the Foyle Maritime Festival programme, visit