"What did you do on Thursday, Vic?" "Y'know, just hung out with top celebrity chef Gizzi Erskine...yeah, nothing special really. Totally normal. You?"
Yup yup, you read it right and no, I haven't photoshopped myself into that photo. It ACTUALLY happened and I'm still pinching myself, because I'm convinced that I dreamt the entire day. And because I need to be sure that I didn't, I'm going to bore you lot reading this with the gory details.
2 weeks ago, one of the coolest people to grace this Earth and my mate, Gemma suggested we get tickets to be part of the audience for Gizzi's new show, Drop Down Menu. Through Twitter, we've both built up a friendship with Gizzi so it was only normal that we wanted to go see our girl in action. Tickets got confirmed, we planned the day and suddenly, 2 weeks had flown by and Thursday was all over us like a rash.
For those of you that haven't seen the show, a) why not?! and b) it's a cookery programme, fronted by Gizzi and Matt Tebbutt where the audience get to choose what the chefs cook. Basically. It's totally cool and the show itself completely engages the audience so it's a win win situation really. Being part of the audience for any show is a pretty cool experience but it's totally different when you *know* one of the presenters.
Before the show, Gizzi grabbed Gem and myself from the room where the audience hang out before they get ushered into the studio. Amongst the gasps of "wow, that's Gizzi Erskine! That IS Gizzi Erskine", lots of people were whispering to each other about how we knew Gizzi. "They're friends with her? What?!"
It was completely surreal and I just wanted to answer back with "YES, we KNOW Gizzi." because it's not every day that I get to shout about that but I kept my cool...kinda.
Let me clear something up before this turns into more of a brag than a blog. I was SO nervous, totally uncool and didn't take any second for granted. Our aim wasn't to rub our friendship with Gizzi in any body's face, we were just there to support her and enjoy the show. It still isn't my aim to brag about it and as far as I'm concerned, Gizzi is as human as you or I, but she just happens to be on TV, in magazines and on posters in the Underground. I blog about exciting things that happen to me and it just so happens that this day was pretty damn exciting.
After hugs, pictures and general chit chat (when I say general, I mean I spent about 10 minutes apologising for looking like a prostitute. My bag had ripped my tights as I was walking to the station and it was too late to change), it was time for the show to start. To say that Gem and myself sat through the show beaming with pride would be an understatement. I know I'm bias but Gizzi (and Matt) totally rocked it. It was such a hilarious show and I fell in love with Matthew Kelly, who was a guest on the show. You can see the show here, which I think you should all do as you see me and Gem at the beginning. Whoop whoop, yeaaaaaah.
At the end of the show, we went back to Gizzi's dressing room and chilled out for a little bit. This is the part where I ask somebody to pinch me because I've NEVER been in a dressing room before...unless you count the makeshift dressing room my year 6 class had when we performed Romeo & Juliet to the rest of the school, but that was just a classroom with the tables pushed back. After gushing about how much we loved the show (I'm totally joking, we're a lot cooler than that) and nosing at the books in her dressing room (what can I say, I'm a total bookworm), Gizzi took cool to a whole new level and asked us if we wanted to join her for dinner that evening, at her restaurant in the Ideal Home Show. Now, it's not everyday that I get invited to dinner by celebrity chefs and I can say the same for Gemma, so we obviously jumped at the chance when Gizzi asked us.
We said goodbye, letting Gizzi get on with her day job and I then spent the next 4 hours boring Gemma with questions like "but, it's ok to turn up with a hole in my tights, right?" and "do you think Gizzi will judge me because I eat with my knife and fork the wrong way round?" (the answers are yes and no, in case you were wondering). We got to the Ideal Home Show, totally transfixed by the 'snow' blowing out of snow machines positioned all around us and the Christmas trees that lined the entrance. The theme this year is Winter Wonderland and the minute you step out of Earls Court tube station, you feel like Christmas has hit you smack bang in the middle of your face.
We collected our tickets and can I just say that I was genuinely so excited by the fact that I had a ticket to collect. I felt beyond special, in a good way, and I'll never love saying anything more than I loved saying "Hi, I think there's a ticket with my name on...I'm Gizzi Erskine's guest". I'm totally joking here, because I made Gemma ask for our tickets, just in case it turned out to be a massive practical joke and I didn't want to look like an absolute idiot. But I said those words in my head and it was wonderful.
3 shots of toffee vodka, 2 more holes in my tights and 2 hours later, we met up with Gizzi at her restaurant. Well, Gizzi, her Mum, her sister and her boyfriend. We were meeting the family and I looked like a drunk prostitute. Brilliant.
I can't even remember the full details of what happened after introductions had been made, but let me tell you that it was lovely. I know, I know, I'm completely bias but the food really was awesome - I even lost my morals and ate meat which is a pretty big deal for me, but how can you be fussy with food when you're dining with a chef? -, the company was amazing and the whole night in itself was brilliant.
Champagne was drunk, conversation veered from the wacky (something about chasing somebody around a forest?) to the wonderful and it really was an bloody awesome few hours. I don't think words can even express just how grateful Gem and myself were, not only for the evening but for the invitation as well.
It's safe to say that the whole day was a bit of a champagne/toffee vodka fuelled blur, but it really was super lovely. For those of you wondering what Gizzi's like *in real life*, she's exactly the same as she is on TV/in magazines. Absolutely lovely. We're all a little bit fake on social networking sites, wanting to seem better than we actually are (no? Just me then? Cool...) but Gizzi is as genuine as they come. She's completely charming, making you feel as if you're just hanging with your best friend, instead of a celeb chef and she made me feel 100% comfortable, even with holes in my tights.
Thursday really was such a nice day and I'm glad I've blogged about it because it's not a day that I want to forget (the toffee vodka and champagne are clouding my memories from this day rather well, so having something to re-read is pretty helpful). I couldn't be more grateful and as you'd expect from a day like that, I've fallen completely head over heels for Gizzi. And her boyfriend actually, but let's keep that between me and you...