Harpenden schoolboy’s day with celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli

A TEENAGER who wrote to his idol Jean-Christophe Novelli asking for work experience impressed the internationally renowned chef so much that he was invited to spend a day cooking with him.

Thirteen-year-old Justin Reader, a student at Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden, contacted the French celebrity chef to ask if he could get some work experience.

The youngster, who wants his own restaurant when he is older, received a reply from the Michelin Star chef inviting him to attend a prestigious masterclass, which normally costs �1,000 and has been voted in the top 25 cookery classes in the world.

Justin travelled to London on Saturday for the cookery session where he helped make dishes using ingredients including octopus, rabbit and trout.

He said: “I had a superb time helping at the academy. Everyone was friendly, helpful and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Everybody was having a great time making lots of exotic dishes. I would like to say thank you to everybody who kept me occupied, particularly Jean-Christophe. I had an amazing time and I’m even more determined now to become a good chef.”

Justin, who went home to Breachwood Green armed with an apron, certificate and herb pot, helped out in the kitchen and sampled all the food that was prepared.

He was accompanied by his dad, Martin, who said: “The hospitality and warmth of the whole team at the academy was very heartfelt and friendly. Justin felt relaxed right from the start, He had a smashing day, was over the moon and can’t stop talking about all the exciting things that happened.”