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Posts Tagged ‘Gourmand Awards’

The Cookbook Corner

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The kitchen at The Cookbook Corner is about the size of an average western kitchen. With its sink, fridge, benches, shelves etc this space would be a fine set-up for a single cook.…but it wasn’t like that. Oh no! In the middle of the room is a very tall fridge, and all around benches, one side with a double sink, the other two with elements, or spare bench space. Things stacked all around, including my seven heavy bags, and those of other chefs, and coats and clogs, chefs’ whites and toques. Still workable. The kitchen had a door through to the demonstration kitchen, which meant there was a lot of traffic between the two spaces. Still okay. The problem? At any one point there would be 10 people in this space, all fighting to prepare their food for their upcoming dem – demonstrators, assistants from Le Cordon Bleu school, administrators and the kitchen manager. Still just about manageable if you kept your elbows pinned to your waist. People popping in to get water and others asking if they could store things in the kitchen just for a short time (where, madam, on the ceiling?) became part of the wallpaper. When the film crews decided it would be fun to film the ensuing chaos, things got a bit too tight. You couldn’t move. You couldn’t get near the fridge, let alone in it. There were big cameras in the way and heaving bodies everywhere. But it didn’t matter, because there were no prima donnas (no room for them) and everyone helped each other (thank you Chef Ramzi and Le Cordon Bleu students). The general public through the other side of the door wouldn’t have had any idea. All in a day’s work!


The previous day I had made a brief introductory presentation on stage at The Gourmand Cookbook Awards. As I walked to the stage they screened a clip from one of my breakfast television pieces where I was showing my daughter how to make rice pudding (actually, she was showing me!).


To find out more about the Gourmand Awards (these awards are in their 12th year, and award wine and drink books as well as cook books) go to www.cookbookfair.com


Monday, March 24th, 2008

My life’s about to change. For the first time, one of my books – number 13, to be exact (now there’s a good omen, I hope) Sizzle is going to be published in the States. My journey thus far has been a circuitous one, but come mid-April, I’ll be smack-bang in the middle of it all, at the IACP conference (International Association of Culinary Professionals), which is being held in New Orleans. More about that later.

I’ve got a date in London first. The Gourmand Awards. I’ve got to stand up and talk on about myself for 5 minutes in front of the culinary literati. That probably sounds easy enough, but I’ll tell you what, it is always easier having someone else say nice things about you than you trying to say something positive about yourself! Then, the Gourmand Awards, the best food and wine books in the world, will be announced. I’ve got to be prepared for anything with Edouard Cointreau, (of the liquor fame) the award’s founder and president, because a few years ago he invited me to the Gourmand Awards in Perigeuex, France, and two days before the awards event he casually asked me if I was tired or jetlagged (which I wasn’t) and he said that’s good, because I’d like you to be MC for the awards. Big deal, you might think, all you have to do is stand up on stage, pretend you’re not blinded by the lights, and give out the awards in the order decreed, but only about 25% of the winners’ names and book titles were in English. Trying to get my tongue around Swedish, Japanese, French, Spanish, German and other European and Asian names and book titles gracefully was a challenge. But tripping up over language can happen to even the most skilled of speakers. Edouard, who speaks several languages fluently, when introducing me called me Juicy Biuso – and it’s captured on film!