By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: 2011 has been a year of food festivals and celebrity chefs for a whole range of cooking appliances brands. Ilve is a key sponsor of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival which begins this weekend, Fisher & Paykel has featured heavily at the Good Food & Wine Show throughout 2011, and De Dietrich is a primary sponsor of MasterChef Live.

Along with the opportunity to get their hands dirty with Australia’s food-loving public, many cooking brands also use these sponsorship opportunities to promote their celebrity chef endorsements.

While some appliance suppliers have decided against the need for such endorsements, De Dietrich is only too happy to use a bit of star power to gain exposure for its brand. According to De Dietrich brand manager Belinda Toner, pairing with renowned chef Jacques Reymond made perfect sense for the company.

“Products should speak for themselves, but it’s always very helpful to have endorsements,” said Toner. “We’ve got Jacques Reymond who has signed on as our brand ambassador, and the reason we have Jacques is because it just fits so well – he’s a really high-end three-hatted chef, and he’s French, which fits really well with our brand."

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“He’s also a fantastic ambassador – he uses De Dietrich products, he’s got them in his home and he speaks really highly of them. I think if you’ve got celebrity ambassadors that don’t believe in your products then it falls down."

Jacques had a guest spot doing cooking demonstrations on the De Dietrich stand at the Taste of Melbourne festival earlier this month, and he cooked up a storm at the company’s media launch in Sydney on Bastille Day. He will also be appearing in the company’s new print advertisements which are due out next month.

“We had Jacques down at Taste of Melbourne doing demonstrations on our stand, and watching people, the reaction that he gets is amazing. He’s so well regarded and people are so keen to get in and see him cook. It’s a really easy partnership for us.”

The partnership is set to continue, with Reymond scheduled to appear at the Sydney MasterChef Live event in October.

“We’re also in negotiations with him to have all our De Dietrich cooktops put into the restaurant down in Prahran in Melbourne,” added Toner. “He’s doing things as well and he always insists on using our products. So if he’s doing demos or things like that he usually works on our stand.

“It’s a broad agreement. We sit down at the beginning of the year with Jacques and say ‘this is what we’ve got planned for this year’ and work we out who’s going to be a part of it. For a three-hatted chef he’s one of the easiest men I’ve ever had to deal with.”