For Michelin star chef Marco Pierre White, being in Sheffield was like coming home as he greeted diners at his city centre restaurant.
The award winning chef - said to be the first celebrity cook - was at his New York Italian restaurant on West Bar Green, to meet fans, who were sampling his new menu.
Marco, who trained other greats such as Gordon Ramsay and was the youngest chef to ever receive three Michelin stars at the age of 33, said: “It’s always good to be back in Yorkshire. It’s my home county.
“I was born in Leeds, but you know something, when I’m in Sheffield I come home.
“I’m happy to be here. It’s been a great opportunity to speak to the actual customers to find out what they think.”
He added: “Let’s face it, they don’t come much more honest than us Yorkshire folk, so I definitely picked the perfect restaurant to attend the menu launch.”
As well as dining, guests were given the chance to meet Marco and receive a signed copy of his latest cookbook, Essentially Marco.
The renowned chef said it was important that his restaurant provided diners with quality food for a fair price.
He said: “If I go out to dinner I think ‘I want to spend £30 tonight’ and then there’s other nights when I want to entertain and think I want to spend £50 or £60 a head.
“I don’t just sell a plate of food, it’s about having a night out too.
“The most important aspect of any restaurant is the environment, if you don’t relax you can’t be yourself. The second is service with a smile. Thirdly is food.”
When asked what his favourite dish was, the restaurateur and television personality said he craved ‘ordinary’ and ‘hearty’ food.
“Sometimes I want something simple like a ham sandwich with English mustard. “There’s other times when I want something warm and comforting. It depends what mood I’m in.”
Among the diners were three very special guests, primary school pupils from St Mary’s C of E Academy, in Walkley, who had created pizzas for Marco to taste.
The three youngsters won a contest which asked children to put together imaginative recipes
Marco judged the creations of Alicia Nwanko, aged five, Rhia Haines, aged nine, and Roma Southall, aged ten to be the best, and invited them to the restaurant with their parents.
The chef met and congratulated each of the winners, presenting them with an edible chocolate certificate and a signed copy of his cookbook.
Each winning pizza will also be added to the Marco’s New York Italian ‘specials menu’ to be sold in the restaurant.
Marco added: “I’m delighted to see such passion for food in children of such a young age and hope that this continues.”