The TV chef will be attending the ‘Evening With’ event at Cannon Hall Farm which will raise money for head chef Tim Bilton and his family to make memories with his wife and two sons.
Tim was first diagnosed with cancer in 2003, just months before he and his wife, Adele, opened their first restaurant. He discovered he had three tumours in his left eye and over the course of two years Tim underwent surgery and chemotherapy to help remove the tumours.
However, in August 2015, Tim found a lump on his face and learned that his cancer had returned. After having his saliva glands and lymph nodes removed he had a gruelling round of radiotherapy five-days-a-week for seven weeks.
Tim’s cancer unfortunately returned for a third time in January 2019 after he began experiencing pain in his left knee. He found that he had melanoma in his knee and kidney and is currently undergoing dual immunotherapy - two drugs administered at once - to help combat this. Despite his terminal diagnosis, Tim has not given up his work as head chef at the popular White Bull restaurant at the farm.
“I saw the people who work at the farm and I discovered Tim’s story,” said Jean-Christophe, 57. “It is horrendous what he is going through. My son had cancer and it is a traumatic situation and when I found out that Tim has a wife and children and still works every day I had to send my respect and offer to help in any way I could.”
Jean-Christophe’s own son, Valentino, was diagnosed with stage-four neuroblastoma at just six weeks old. After four rounds of chemotherapy, Jean-Christophe and his family were told Valentino was in remission but his son’s struggle caused Jean-Christophe to become touched by Tim’s story after reading it on his blog, On A Knife Edge.
“I spoke with Tim and I cannot believe how amazing he is,” said Jean-Christophe. “His cancer is terminal but he is so inspiring - everything he does he does for his family. He was kind enough to ask about my son and wife and that really touched my heart, even with his own struggles he cares about other people.”
During the event, Jean-Christophe will take to the stage to do some cookery demos and discuss his varied career. All the proceeds raised will go towards Tim and his family.
“Being a chef is an amazing profession,” said Jean-Christophe. “You are in an amazing industry and we all stick together. Tim is a great chef and I know I am one of many who will want to help him and see him do well. I am using my skills to raise money for Tim, because cancer is unfair and horrible.”
Robert Nicholson, a farmer at Cannon Hall Farm, said: “We are really honoured that someone like Jean-Christophe has given up his valuable time to help us raise money for Tim and his family. Tim is really well thought of, being an experienced chef himself who once appeared on the Great British Menu, and so it really means a lot that people wish to support him like this.
“We really hope our farm fans get behind us to make this an amazing evening and to help us raise as much money as possible for Tim and his family.”
The ‘Evening with Jean-Christophe Novelli’ will take place on Tuesday from 6pm at Cannon Hall Farm, Cawthorne. Due to popular demand, Jean-Christophe will also host a taste masterclass from 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday where guests can sample some of his cooking.
For tickets visit cannonhallfarm.co.uk.