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LUTON, BEDFORDSHIRE, Friday 20th March, 2009:

Easter arrived early for kids at Keech Cottage Children’s Hospice in Luton, Bedfordshire this week thanks to kind-hearted celebrity chef Jean- Christophe Novelli.

The chef decided to surprise children at the local hospice by personally hand-delivering them a giant luxury four-foot chocolate easter egg.

However the delivery of the Easter egg was not without incident, and turned into something of a mini-marathon, as Novelli ended up having to personally walk the enormous chocolate egg through Hertfordshire country lanes for three miles, from his award winning cookery school in soaring temperatures of 17 degrees (over 60 degrees F) when his car unexpectedly ran out of petrol and broke down en route!

The UK’s favourite French chef, whose farmhouse cookery school Novelli Academy is at Tea Green, Luton acquired the giant egg this week during his filming of a weekly Easter cookery promotion on GMTV this week. After filming he and fiancée Michelle decided to donate the Easter egg to children at the nearby hospice.

“The Easter egg is fantastic, but instead of being greedy and eating it ourselves we decided to give it to the children at Keech Cottage. I believe all of us should try and help a local charity if we can, and I hoped this chocolate egg would delight some of the children,” he said.

“Thankfully we have a contact at Pasque the charity who run Keech Cottage, called Amanda Kennedy. She runs the local Pasque charity shops, and helped us with access to the hospice.”

Due to the substantial size and weight of the egg, however, the logistics of moving it proved a challenge! The impressive egg was stored safely at the Novelli Academy cookery school. Weighing in at around 80lbs it was decorated with hand-crafted chocolate Easter figurines around the base.

Novelli and fiancée Michelle decided to deliver the egg together immediately after finishing his cookery course. However due to the size and weight of the egg, and its fragility, Novelli was obliged to enlist help from his Academy Executive chef, Steven Kitchen and together they managed to load it into the back of the chef’s VW Touareg.

However, disaster struck when Novelli ran out of petrol and broke down in country lanes en route to the hospice with the huge chocolate egg in the back of his vehicle:

“As usual it had been rush, rush, rush for the whole day because we had a full house at the cookery school. But in our hurry to get to the hospice in time, despite the warning sign, we managed to run out of petrol on the way in one of the country lanes I was using as a short-cut.”

“Luckily Michelle and Steven were with me, but on one of the hottest days of the year – 17 degrees - Steven and I had to unload this enormous chocolate egg – 80lbs of pure chocolate – and start walking through country lanes with it to try and get to the hospice in time! Michelle managed to call for help, which eventually arrived, and saved us. But a trip which should have taken 20 minutes ended up taking hours!”

“My main concern was that in that heat, the chocolate would start melting. I could smell it melting, which made it very difficult to handle. At one stage there was a dog running without a lead. He ran straight towards us and it was very difficult carrying the egg and get the dog away from it. But I was determined to get the egg to the kids in one piece, so we persevered and eventually arrived. By the time we got there, we were both exhausted!”

By the time the egg did finally arrive at Keech Cottage, most of the day-staff had already left – so Novelli and Kitchen carried the egg into Keech Cottage personally - and Jean-Christophe spent time seeing and talking with each of the young residents and their carers individually. The egg is now on prominent display at Reception amongst giant cuddly toys, which Novelli re-arranged around the egg before he left.

The chef’s visit to the hospice has made him determined to help Pasque and Keech Cottage even more in the future:
“Where children are concerned, or if someone is suffering, it is impossible to do nothing if you are in a position to help. The care at Keech Cottage and Pasque is so important and I believe we should all make an effort to try and remember to help our local charities and especially children’s charities if there is any way we can.”

For further information on Novelli Academy Cookery School or to book a class at one of the wide range of one-day cookery classes and the new Chocolate course contact 01582-454070 or log on to
For further information on Pasque or Keech Cottage and how you can help support their vital work or make a donation please log on to or call 01582-492339

- ENDS –



To arrange an interview with Jean-Christophe Novelli or Novelli Academy please contact Alison on or Mobile 07988023940 (including out-of-hours & weekend) or Suzanna at Novelli Academy on 01582-454070


For further information on Novelli Academy and the exciting range of one-day cookery classes, including the forthcoming NEW one-day Chocolate cookery workshop contact: 01582-454070. Details of all the cookery classes, schedules and prices can be seen on the website.


For further information on Pasque or Keech Cottage contact: 01582-492339 or refer to their website

PHOTOS: Photos of Jean Christophe and the giant chocolate egg, including his walk through the countryside with the egg, available upon request

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