A celebrity chef officially opened a new farmers’ market this morning (Friday) with a message to consumers to get behind “fantastic” local produce.

Jean-Christophe Novelli met traders at the first Offley Farmers’ Market at Offley Village Hall this morning, before cutting a ribbon to celebrate its opening.

The French-born five AA Rosette and Michelin award-winning chef, who runs a cooking academy at his home in nearby Tea Green, said there were many dedicated small scale producers in the area that deserve our support.

“People don’t realise how much work goes into these products. Take that cheese, it’s a work of love, and that bread over there – show me where you can get bread like that round here – you are more likely to find a new Ferrari.”

He added the flavour of food made within a few miles of the market, makes a huge difference.

“You would be amazed at how much deterioration there is in conserving so food can be transported. Why do you want to go to Tesco? Because of the care gone into it here, it is always going to be top quality.”

He said he hoped the monthly venture which this month featured Jo’s Loaves, Daisy Cakes Gourmet Cake Shop, and farms - Wobbly Bottom, Offley Hoo and Offley Bottom among others, would attract food lovers.

“I’m looking at it now and thinking this is going to be big and expand the whole concept because there’s always someone who’s got something interesting to offer.

“You can have a bit of everything. It’s a very unusual part of the country. When people find out what’s going on I hope it will be a very good success.”