First celebrity chefs revealed for Bishop Auckland Food Festival

The first three celebrity chefs heading to Co Durham for the Bishop Auckland Food Festival have been announced.

The event is set to take place April 23-24, with top TV chef Jean-Christophe Novelli returning to the North East for a Sunday demonstration.

Beginning as a baker at just 14 in Northern France, Michelin star chef Jean-Christophe has built an international reputation through his TV career and world-renowned restaurants. He arrived in the UK in 1983, spending a year helping his mentor and friend Keith Floyd as chef-manager of his pub and restaurant. Then, 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. He also launched Novelli at the Cellars, Cape Town’s leading five-star Relais et Chateaux Hotel, as well as Moulin de Jean in Normandy and was the chef consultant on Sea France Ferries.

Jean-Christophe will be sharing the stage with Leicester-born Chigs Parmar, who demonstrated his passion for food on Channel 4’s recent series of Great British Bake Off. A self-taught baker, Chigs won star baker twice on the show and earned two handshakes from Paul Hollywood en-route to the final.

Sunday’s line up will also include the return of local favourite Mike Bartley. After appearing on Masterchef 2021, Bishop-born Mike has gone on to be involved in a whirlwind of cooking enterprises including hosting exclusive private dining evenings and spending time in two Michelin star restaurants. He has also launched a luxury Dine @ Home box, and has been working with the Veterans Hub in Newton Aycliffe to teach cooking skills.

Saturday’s celebrity guests are set to be announced soon, as well as news on the food, drink and street food traders involved, family entertainment, cookery workshops and new features for 2022.

For more information about this year’s festival, visit

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