Celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli was in Birmingham to launch his latest venture at Equations Restaurant, in Maxims Casino.
The flying French chef, who is currently working to launch his brand in the US and keep his cooking academy going, took time out to cook up a feast for the people of Birmingham.
Upon arrival at the Edgbaston venue, Jean Christophe introduced himself and began proceedings by whipping up a summer fruit flambé. He talked to guests about his recipes and introduced the kitchen staff, led by head chef Kevin Reid.
Novelli’s involvement with Maxims is part of a bigger deal with the parent company Genting Stanley Casinos which has seen him, not only design a bespoke menu, but train the top chefs around the country at his cooking academy in Hertfordshire.
“We have now had two sessions with the chefs from the casino and they have been tremendous," said Novelli. "They are willing to learn new ideas, which is refreshing.
“We’re working very hard with the casino to make sure we succeed. When you play in a casino, it is a gamble and there is a risk. However, we know that with hard work and goals we can achieve success. The partnership with Genting Stanley and me is the first of its kind in the UK. In the Las Vegas, casinos have been doing fine dining for years, so I am very confident that we will do well and others will follow.”
Novelli has schooled the kitchen staff to source good local produce from in and around the Black Country, adding: “I believe that in order to provide your customers with the very best, you have to buy the best. That means sourcing local fresh produce.”
Jean Christophe designed the menu with the casino’s customers in mind. “We have tried to change the perception of the casino and its cuisine. Typically, you would not normally associate casinos with good food. So we have had to make a subtle impact and make sure we surprise everyone."