A WEST END favourite and supplier of an exclusive Knightsbridge store is to add the Eat Local Banquet to its list of customers.

John Stephens, owner of Anthony Stephens Bakeries, will produce one of a quartet of puddings for the Evening Press-Dean Court Eat Local banquet to be held next week.

Although still relatively unknown in North Yorkshire, John is a favourite with retailers in the West End, counting elite London store Harvey Nicholls among his exclusive client list.

John said: "We are really popular in the South with our top class produce, now we want to bring to the North some of the great goods we have on offer, and this banquet offers us a great chance to do it."

The latest development for the bakery is a new range of products developed with TV chef and I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here star Antony Worrall Thompson.

Antony said: "My food range is all about the best taste from the very best producers, nothing unnecessary added and nothing important left out.

"These cakes are a perfect example, full of superb ingredients, deliciously moist and just great with a cuppa."

It is all a far cry from John's own beginnings. He first entered the food trade only five years ago, after spending years in the City as a merchant banker.

"After several years I finally took the plunge and decided to train to become a chef, then spent a couple of years working in restaurants in London," he said.

"It is a much harder life as a chef than when I used to be a banker, much longer hours, and huge pressure. Then three years ago I moved North and set up the bakery. Now I am in control, and loving it. I love baking cakes, and set out wanting to bake the very best possible. Our motto is 'hand baked without compromise', and it is proving very successful."

Now as part of the Eat Local Banquet at the Dean Court Hotel, York, on Thursday, Evening Press readers can try what John has to offer.

Seats are still available for the exclusive event at £35 per guest, and can be reserved by phoning the Dean Court on 01904 625082, faxing on 01904 620305 or emailing sales@deancourt-york.co.uk Keep your nominations coming in for the Eat Local competition.

Updated: 09:23 Friday, May 09, 2003