Photography by Darren Bester
(And by met, I mean stalked)
Another major perk to working at the Good Food and Wine Show in 2013 was that Mr. Gordon Ramsay was the head line chef, meaning the odds of meeting him, ‘were forever in my favour’. Especially, if like me, you made it your absolute obsession to ensure a ‘chance’ encounter with the man …
First shift – arrive and learn that I am NOT in Gordon Ramsay’s prep kitchen! Massive blow to my fantasy of Gordon discovering my talents while tasting the veal jus I had just prepared and asking me to head up his flagship restaurant …
But alas, it was not meant to be, as I had been assigned to the ‘Real Food Theatre’ Kitchen (which if you read my blog entry Chefs in Action you will know I actually really enjoyed).
Not one to give up so quickly, I head to Gordon’s kitchen to go and survey the scene …under the pretence of going to say “Good Morning” to my Chef Lecturer, who is running Gordon’s kitchen for the GFWS. Managed to get an introduction to Gordon’s actual Sous Chef, a charming chap but still no sign of Gordon. I enquire innocently as to his ETA and learn that his first show is scheduled for 3 hours time and he will probably arrive and be in the Green room shortly before that. ‘The Green room’ I say innocently, where exactly is this green room? It’s pointed out to me and hope now returns. All I have to do is be outside the green room prior to Gordon’s show and I will at least see the man up close and personal! I rush back to my kitchen with a spring in my step to tell the chosen few the plan!
20 minutes before curtain and the chosen few and I are casually hanging outside Gordon’s prep kitchen, avoiding eye contact with our Chef Lecturer, while he and the students are frantically preparing items for the demonstration due to start. We edge closer to the green room where we can see Eric Lanlard, the French Patisserie and Celebrity Chef, enjoying some refreshments, being served by a fellow student (how did she land that gig?!?). It is quite obvious that we are stalking the green room now as there is nothing between us and the room, Eric Lanlard gives us a nervous smile and we were just starting to feel really awkward and considering going back to our posts when, the side door should open and in should waltz Mr. Gordon Ramsay in the flesh. Taller than I thought, in fact he is about as tall as me, and I am pretty tall at 1.88m. He is in good shape, wearing a t-shirt and jeans and he is a hype of energy. He had no choice but to stop and greet us as we were quite literally blocking his way … he shook our hands (!!!), asked how we were doing, said his token Afrikaans word … something about boerewors, had a laugh with one of the full time male students, before joining Eric in the Green Room. Big grins on our faces, we skipped back to our kitchen – Mission Completed Houston!
And the cherry on the top? As a Thank you to all the students who volunteered their services at the Good Food & Wine Show, Gordon agreed to signing our recipe books – so I got to meet the man again, whilst he signed one of my favourite Gordon Ramsay recipe Books “Chef” (I have not yet attempted any of the recipes as they are all 3 star recipes and each recipe is about 10 pages long, but I love looking at the pictures and will get around to testing them out soon, especially now that I have a chefs qualification and all … 🙂
During the 3 day show, there had been a lot of buzz about Gordon taking a photograph with all the students on the last day, and I, of course suffering, with the most severe case of foodie fomo wanted to be front and centre for this photo op! But as the days wore on and my feet grew more and more tired, and the calls from Hubby got louder and louder (he was packing up the entire downstairs section of our house alone, due to the renovations set to commence momentarily), I just didn’t have the power and forewent this opportunity to have a moment in time captured with Gordon. I’ve been tempted to photo-shop myself in, anyone any good with that program?
It’s all good … Gordon and I will always have the Green Room !