Chef Novelli applauds Wakefield food ahead of city's rhubarb festival

Jean-Christophe Novelli
Jean-Christophe Novelli

Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has praised Wakefield’s rhubarb festival ahead of his return to the city.

The 12th annual Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb kicks off tomorrow (Friday) and the Frenchman is one of many culinary experts who will be showing off their their skills with the Yorkshire delicacy during the three day celebration.

Speaking to the Express he said: “When I was asked to come back I said, straight away, ‘yes’. I really enjoyed it last time and the time before. It was a place you can mellow with everyone.

“The local produce is fabulous and all the different stalls were amazing. There is a good spirit and there is not another festival like it in Britain.

“Rhubarb is key to the identity of Wakefield. There so many wonderful recipes and different ingredients, and I am delighted to come back.”

The festival will include more than 70 stalls selling a variety of rhubarb produce such as breads, cakes, sausages and pies.

It will feature a new family marquee in the Bull Ring, jam-packed with activities and entertainment for younger visitors.

The demonstration tent will also welcome top local chefs including Heather Copley from Farmer Copley’s, Ashley and Ben McCarthy from Ye Old Sun, Fiona Sciolti from Sciolti Chocolates, David Jones from Bier Haus, and Stephanie Moon from Rudding Park.

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “This year’s festival promises to be the best one yet. Some of the region’s tastiest food and drink will be on offer, alongside amazing cookery demos, fabulous street entertainment and kid’s activities.

“There really is something for everyone. So come along and join us this weekend.”

It will be hosted throughout the city centre and run from 10am until 5pm on Friday and and Saturday, and 10am until 4pm on Sunday.

Jean-Christophe’s demonstrations will take place at noon and 2pm on Saturday.

Demonstration timetable

Friday

11.30AM - 12.15AM RACHEL GREEN

12.30PM - 1.15PM HEATHER COPLEY, FARMER COPLEY’S

1.30PM - 2.15PM FIONA SCIOLTI, SCIOLTI CHOCOLATES

2.30PM - 3PM DAVID JONES, BIER HUIS

3.15PM - 4PM RACHEL GREEN 4.15PM - 5PM STEPH MOON, CHEF CONSULTANT TO RUDDING PARK

Saturday

11.15AM - 11.45AM HEATHER COPLEY, FARMER COPLEY’S

NOON - 1PM JEAN CHRISTOPHE NOVELLI

1.15PM - 1.45PM DIXIE & EMMA COOK OFF

2PM - 3PM JEAN CHRISTOPHE NOVELLI

3.15PM - 3.45PM ASHLEY & BEN MCCARTHY, YE OLD SUN INN

4PM - 4.30PM FIONA SCIOLTI, SCIOLTI CHOCOLATES

Sunday

11.30AM - 12.15PM CLOVER HUTSON

12.30PM - 1.15PM FIONA SCIOLTI, SCIOLTI CHOCOLATES

1.30PM - 2.15PM CLOVER HUTSON

2.30PM - 3.15PM MURDO MACLEOD, ZEST MIXOLOGY DEMONSTRATION