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TGI Paul

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Terrifying Brush With Celebrity!

At last! It feels like spring is starting to raise it's pretty head, flowers are creeping through (even here in Hackney!), and the (possibly imagined) seasonal affectiveness disorder is disappearing like the fog from San Fran Bay.

Monday saw me in a particularly proactive mood at work. On top of my usual Monday morning duties, I got jobs done that have been hanging around for some weeks and still managed to look ahead and start some jobs that I had been planning to sort out later in the month.

Tuesday I had a lovely day off, lazing at home and getting over a Monday night out at

Wednesday, however, was the BIG day of the week!

We have a new staff initiative thats been introduced at work and all managers had to roll it out to their respective teams. Now, I'm perfectly comfortable training groups so I had offered the other Managers in my area to send their staff along too if they weren't comfortable doing the training themselves.

As it turned out, a few managers took me up on the offer, and I ended up having to do two sessions to fit everyone in. My Ops Manager sat in on one of the presentations as she hasn't seen me do any training yet. I had about 20 people there and I was all organised with the presentation on PowerPoint, as well as handouts and a flipchart for any additional notes.

Luckily, it went like a dream! The delegates all had fun, really understood the point of the initiative and were both receptive and free with their input. My boss was very impressed and said that she thought I had done an outstanding job!

At 3 o'clock, after the 2nd session of the day, we then had to change the function room from a corporate meeting room to a little girls 5th birthday room for a party that had been booked.

But this was no ordinary little girls 5th birthday party!!

The booking had been made under the name of
Jools Oliver. Well, how many Jools Olivers can there be in Hampstead with a 5 year old daughter? So I was kind of prepared for that one, although the irony of one the countries most famous chefs, pioneer of the school dinner makeover and healthy food activist having his daughters birthday party at my place wasn't lost on me.

But I then realised it was actually a HUGE compliment!

Jools had booked a pizza making party for the eldest of their girls, Poppy. The kids always love doing this and it usually provides wonderful photo opportunities for the proud Mums & Dads, who can sit back with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and let me & my staff get on with things!

So I was all set; 20 paper hats, 20 aprons and 20 pizza bases already stretched and 'sauced'. A selection of toppings all laid out in bowls ready for me to tell the kids all about the ingredients (where in the world they come from, what they taste like, how much to use on your pizza etc...)

What I wasn't prepared for was
Jamie Oliver himself actually attending! Internal panic set in and the fixed glazed smile appeared. How do you behave? He seems like a pretty down to earth guy, so anything too creepy is going to be naff naff naff! 'Act natural!' I kept saying to myself. But you kind of can't help being a little starstruck, especially if you're a fan (which I am! I'm still kicking myself for not taking my copy of "Jamie's Italy" in with me to get signed!)

I have often put myself in quite scary situations before, but standing in front of Jamie & Jools Oliver, teaching their daughters how to make pizza, was HORRIFYING!!

I don't know how, possibly the 15 or so double lattes and 40 Marlboro Lights I'd had that day, but it worked! Everyone seemed happy, the girls and their class mates enjoyed themselves thoroughly, and Mum & Dad were contented.

Jamie came up to me just after the kids had eaten and shook my hand.

"I'm really sorry mate but I've gotta shoot off," he said, "Well done on a great party!"

"Thanks! I must admit I was a bit worried doing the whole thing in front of you!" I joked.

"No worries mate, it gave me a day off! Top job mate! Good bloke!"

How nice was that eh?

At the end of the party, I gave Jools and her Mum a hand gathering up all the gifts and carrying them out to their driver who was waiting across the road and there were actually paparazzi outside my restaurant!

"Stop! Stop! No more photo's! Flash flash flash!!"


  • Fame at last ... (again)! Well done chicken, on all counts.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, March 12, 2007  

  • What a great 'brush with celebrity" story! I love Jamie and would never have been able to perform in front of him. Good for you!!

    Thought you might enjoy this bit...http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070313/ap_on_en_tv/people_heather_mills

    The bitch thinks we Yanks might have a better opinion of her.

    By Blogger rodger, at Tuesday, March 13, 2007  

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