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Culinary 6 Nations - Week Two - Ireland V France

Friday, 12 February 2010

We are celebrating the Rugby 6 Nations tournament by having a culinary 6 Nations tournament most Fridays on the show over the next 2 months. For each big match we will have a chef of the opposing teams nationality in to have a cook off against our regular chefs. This Saturday is the France V Ireland match so we have French chef Jean Christophe Novelli to step up to the challenge against Oliver Dunne.

Who Is The Guest?

Oliver Dunne - Head chef at Bon Appetit

Born in 1977 and raised on Dublin's Northside, Oliver Dunne has spent his career surrounded by award winning chefs - Conrad Gallagher, Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay to name but a few. After taking over the helm of Bon Appetit in 2006, Oliver was awarded his own Michelin Star in January 2008.

Jean - Christophe Novelli

Jean-Christophe Novelli is a 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef, who is also dubbed "the nation's favourite French Chef".

He began his exciting career at the age of fourteen as a baker in his home town of Arras, Northern France, becoming private Head Chef to Elie de Rothschild in Paris before the age of 20.
Jean-Christophe's life changed completely when he arrived in Great 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 his first restaurant, Maison Novelli in Clerkenwell, London, followed quickly by Novelli W8, Novelli EC1 and Les Saveurs in Mayfair. In addition to his mini empire, Jean-Christophe also launched Novelli at the Cellars; Cape Town's leading five-star Relais et Chateaux Hotel, Moulin de Jean in Normandy, France and was Chef Consultant on Sea France Ferries. Over his career Jean-Christophe has accumulated no less than four consecutive Michelin Stars. After putting these restaurants on the international map, Jean-Christophe decided to move on to new ventures.

Some of his culinary accolades include '5 AA Rosettes', 'AA Chefs Chef of the Year' 1998, 'European Chef of the Year' competition representing Great Britain, 'Face of the Future' The Times 1986, 'Newcomer of the Year' Carlton TV Awards, Egon Ronay ' Dessert of the Year 1992' for his famous Jack-in-the-Box dessert, many times voted 'Restaurant of the Year', awarded on numerous occasions 'Best Restaurant of the Year outside London'.

The Novelli Academy opened its doors on April 22nd 2005 and, within three months, was voted amongst the 'Top 25 Cookery Schools in the World'. Jean-Christophe restored part of his 14th century Hertfordshire farmhouse so that the Novelli Academy could be accommodated in his own home.
In September 2007 Jean-Christophe was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Bedfordshire University for his 30 years of dedication to his craft and outstanding achievements in cooking. Jean-Christophe is only the 3rd Chef in history to achieve this recognition!

Jean-Christophe is also a well-known TV chef having appeared on a wide variety of the UK's most popular cookery programmes including Daily Cooks, Saturday Cooks, Richard & Judy's Tender Loving Cooking and Maa Osama Atyab in the UAE. In addition, he has also featured on an impressive selection of prime time TV shows including Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Hell's Kitchen, Celebrity X Factor, Loose Women, Through the Keyhole, The Apprentice, The Alan Titchmarsh show, BBC Breakfast and MTV Cribs.

He makes regular appearances at regional, national and international events including the Festival of Dubai, Ideal Home Show, The France Show, BBC Good Food Shows, Grand Designs and Homes and Gardens and in April 2008 launched London Restaurant Week.

Jean-Christophe also has extensive consultancy agreements with a number of blue chip companies including Carlsberg and Volkswagen UK.

In February 2008 Jean-Christophe released his second book 'Everyday Novelli' published by Headline Publishing. Everyday Novelli is a gorgeous collection of accessible and inspiring recipes which look and taste delicious and are easy to create. From weekday breakfasts and indulgent Sunday brunches to quick lunches, impressive dinner party dishes and even tea-time treats or midnight snacks, this book covers every occasion. His first book 'Novelli Your Place or Mine?' was published in May 1998 by Quadrille Publishing Limited.

Jean-Christophe signed a deal in 2008 with Mentorn USA for an exclusive series for NBC BRAVO. "Chef Academy" is a nine part series that chronicles his move to Los Angeles as he opens a cooking school, which aired in December 2009. Ten chefs with varying levels of cooking ability are set to be trained by Novelli, all of whom want to improve their skills, some to a professional standard. A second series is expected to be filmed early in 2010. On 7 January 2009 he appeared as a judge on Top Chef, an American reality competition show that also airs on Bravo, in which chefs compete against each other in weekly challenges. They are judged by a panel of professional chefs and other notables from the food and wine industry with one or more contestants eliminated each week.

Last year , has been an exciting one. In January, Jean-Christophe was once again the 'face' of the France Show 2009 at Earls Court in London where he hosted his own Cookery Theatre for three days. The demonstrations were watched as many as 600 people per show.

In February 2009 he was invited to Russia for the French Cuisine Restaurant Week at the Pavilion Restaurant in Moscow where he personally designed a special menu which provided the clientele with a "fusion taste experience extraordinaire".

Not only was April a busy month for him it was also a very exciting month! He became one of the very few chefs to return to Hell's Kitchen, the blockbuster reality show which this time took a new collection of celebrities to face devilish challenges which only the 'Kitchen' can produce. His return was immediately followed by an appearance on the ITV1 Good Morning Show.

Jean-Christophe also teamed up with Pizza Hut to celebrate the launch of their Salad Station by creating an exclusive 'limited edition' salad dressing containing gold and champagne among a host of tantalizing ingredients.

Later on in the year, on the other side of the Atlantic, Jean-Christophe celebrated the launch of his new TV series 'Chef Academy' on NBC Bravo. Following on from that he will be setting up a Novelli Academy / Chefs Table in Los Angeles, building on the success of his TV series which he will use as a spring board to launch a new and innovative culinary regime on the American continent.

Back in the UK he is currently pioneering a new high street contemporary eating concept with celebrity entrepreneur Dean Dunham. The Dunham Novelli Urban Bar Kitchen opened in February 2009 in Northampton and prides itself on serving fantastic food, captivating cocktails, wonderful wines and a superior selection of champagnes together with a broad selection of bottled and draught beers

Much of what Jean Christophe has spent time building is now reaching a point where further expansion is being considered. The Dunham Novelli concept is already proving so popular that plans are already being discussed to open a second venue in the centre of London and the possible development of a second academy is also being considered for 'North of The Border'. Another first for Jean Christophe is the launch of a brand new charcuterie range which will soon be finding itself on the shelves of shops and supermarkets alike, with Morrisons being the first to launch in October.

Dublin Coddle

Serves 4

. 1 l chicken / ham stock
. 100 g smoked Irish pork belly
. 12 pork sausages
. 12 slices of dried Irish bacon
. 12 baby carrots
. 12 baby turnips
. 8 baby leeks
. 12 new potatoes
. 1 tblsp chopped chives

1. Cut pork belly into small pieces and fry in olive oil until golden brown.
2. When brown, cover with stock and bring to the boil. Add the sausages simmer until cooked.
3. Cook the potatoes as normal in salted water, and all the veg separately.
4. To finish add the potatoes, veg to the stock containing the pork bring to the boil add chopped chives and seasoning and top with crispy bacon.

Brittany Mussels with Endives, Cider and Reblochone

Serves 3- 4 as a starter

. 2 kg Mussels
. 1Belgian endive - sliced
. 2 Bananna Shallots - sliced
. Fennel - sliced
. Garlic clove- cracked
. Fresh Basil
. Chives
. Chervil
. Clear Honey
. Dry Cider
. Nutmeg
. Crème Fraiche
. ½ Reblochone
. Wild mushrooms
. Extra Virgin olive oil
. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
. Straws to serve

1. Pre heat a heavy based pan.
2. Add shallots, fennel, garlic and endive, season and sweat with a little honey to help them start to caramelise. Then add the mushrooms and mussels and replace lid and allow them to steam and open which should take about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Once starting to open remove everything from the pan except the liquid and place into a clean bowl.
4. Infuse with the basil and add enough olive oil to coat keep them moist.
5. Cover with cling film to prevent drying and allow the mussels to open naturally.
6. Meanwhile reduce the remaining liquor to a thick consistency and add the same amount of cider, reducing down again to the consistency of double cream.
7. Now add the same amount of crème fraiche by volume and bring just to the simmer. Add the cheese and a little grated nutmeg and allow to melt in a sauce.( this should be fairly thick and seam not enough for the amount of mussels.)
8. When ready to serve return the mussels and resulting liquor back into the sauce and reheat.
9. Finish with a touch of lemon juice and ensure the mussels are thoroughly reheated before serving.
10. Place into serving bowls and finish with chives and chervil. Serve with extra bowls for the shells and a straw for the sauce.