Meet Jean Christophe Novelli, world renowned Michelin and 5AA Rosette award-winning chef with restaurants in London, France and South Africa, and voted “World’s Sexiest Chef” by The New York Times. Bravo’s “Chef Academy” chronicles Novelli’s move to Los Angeles as he opens a test program for a top-notch culinary institute and trains and transforms those who aspire to cook like professionals. First order of business: selecting nine students to be his test subjects for his first Academy across the pond, but is America ready for this French culinary genius? Find out on Bravo’s newest docu-series “Chef Academy,” premiering Monday, November 16 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
French born and residing in London, his Novelli Academy Cookery School in the UK has placed in the “Top 25 Cookery Schools in the World,” and he’s thinking of opening one stateside, setting his sights on Venice, California. Working with Novelli on the ambitious experiment is his executive chef and right hand man, Steve Kitchen. For additional support during his extended stay in the U.S., Chef Novelli brings along his pregnant fiancée, Michelle, and hires a temporary assistant, Joel.
On the season premiere, nine eclectic students are chosen to be the guinea pigs in Chef Novelli’s culinary education experiment, hand picked by himself and Mr. Kitchen after performing the simple culinary task of cooking an egg. The students represent an array of backgrounds from newly trained chefs to anxious homemakers hoping to learn some new culinary tricks. Students are assessed weekly via a variety of tests from preparing bread to gutting a fish. But Chef Novelli forewarns the students failing three tests are grounds for dismissal from his Academy. For a sneak peek at “Chef Academy,” go to: http://www.bravotv.com/chef-academy/videos/coming-to-america.
Throughout the series, Chef Novelli presents unique and delectable dishes that only someone of his caliber could create with directives laden with a heavy French accent. The awe-struck students, many of whom are culinary novices, are wowed by the creations they see too quickly taking shape with such ease in front of their eyes. While the dishes inspire the students, tensions arise when they are asked to recreate the dishes with their very fate at the Academy on the line.
The students form a tight bond through this unique experience of attending the Novelli Academy, but the bonds are often tested with at times too many cooks in the kitchen. The nine students selected to enroll in Chef Novelli’s esteemed Academy are:
o Kyle Daley, 29 Salt Lake City, Utah and residing in San Diego, Calif.
o Emmanuel DelCour Bordeaux, France and residing in Venice, Calif.
o Zoe Feigenbaum New York, N.Y.
o Leanard Goodloe, 28 New York, N.Y.
o Sarah Jacobsen, 29 Chicago, Ill.
o Kyle Kupiszewski Virginia Beach, Va.
o Carissa Loughead, 26 Charlotte, N.C.
o Tracie Norfleet, 46 Honolulu, Hawaii/Venice, Calif.
o Suzanne Winn, 47 Mission Viejo, Calif.
“Chef Academy” is produced by Mentorn USA for Bravo. Greg Johnston, Hannah Wyatt and Dan Barraclough serve as executive producers.