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Jean-Christophe Novelli's Biography

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Jean-Christophe Novelli was born on 22 February 1961 in Arras, France.

Novelli came from a poor background and he told Waitrose Food Illustrated:

"Small treats become massive. I remember having orange juice once on Christmas Day."

Jean-Christophe Novelli struggled at school and left at 14 to work at a bakery. He also worked at a local brasserie before doing his national service, which he hated.

When Novelli was 19 he worked at a chain of restaurants, PLM St Jacques, which was owned by the Rothschild family. He then became the private chef to Eli Rothschild's son.

At 22, Jean-Christophe Novelli moved to Britain and his reputation as a quality chef started to spread. Rick Stein introduced Novelli to Keith Floyd, and he became chef-manager of Keith Floyd's pub and restaurant, the Maltsters Arms in Totnes.

Novelli moved on and won his first Michelin star whilst chef-pâtron at Provence in Lymington, Hampshire. Whilst there he also won the Egon Ronay Dessert of the Year Award and ever since Novelli has been renowned for his spectacular desserts.

Jean-Christophe Novelli moved to London in 1993 and became head chef of the Four Seasons Hotel. In 1996, he opened Maison Novelli in Clerkenwell. In nine months he had expanded his operations to a range of restaurants not only in London but also Cape Town. In 1999, however, Novelli went bankrupt.

According to Harpers & Queen in 1999, Jean-Christophe Novelli was the fifth most alluring man in the world.

For three years Novelli was Directeur des Cuisines of the restaurant, Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall stately home.

A recent venture is a Cooking Academy at his Crouchmore Farm residence in Hertfordshire.

According to Caterer & Hotelkeeper:

"Novelli cooks with his heart, with a passion that can at times seem reckless, and creates food fit for the Gods."

In 2005, Novelli and fellow chef Gary Rhodes took over from Gordon Ramsay as hosts of Hell's Kitchen. They, in turn, gave way to Marco Pierre White.

Novelli was seen at his most heated in an altercation with John McCririck in Hell's Kitchen.

Reportedly, Novelli has also banned the Standard food writers Toby Young and Kate Spicer from his restaurants, after their behaviour on Hell's Kitchen.

Jean-Christophe Novelli has been known to perform magic tricks after dinner.

It was reported in 2005 that Novelli had split up with Patsy Kensit.

In March 2006, Jean Christophe Novelli, Adam Reckitt, Carole Caplin, Freddie Windsor and guide John Hauf appeared in a Channel 5 documentary recreating the survival story from the plane crash in the Andes.

In 2006, Novelli also appeared in a celebrity version of The X Factor - forming The Chefs with Aldo Zilli, Paul Rankin and Ross Burden. However, they were the sixth act to be voted off the show.

On 29 August 2008, Jean-Christophe Novelli's fiancée Michelle Kennedy gave birth to a son Jean Frank Patrick Kennedy.

Jean-Christophe Novelli already had a daughter from his first marriage.

In 2010 Channel Five commissioned Family Food Fight with Flora, in which Jean-Christophe Novelli and Matt Tebbutt helped families improve their cooking.

In April 2005 he established the Novelli Academy and started running cookery courses from his house in Tea Green in Hertfordshire.

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