Meeting Gordon Ramsey was the highlight of last week for sure. As we queued up one of the employees wrote our names on post-its and stuck it in the inside of the book. I asked her if he could sign the Kitchen Nightmares DVD that I had brought with me (I thought it would be nice to return an autographed copy since we borrowed it so long ago from friends), but she said that was against the rules. We were so far back in the line, and he would have signed so many copies already by the time he got to me, that I wasn't going to risk pissing him off. Imagine being the one person that Gordon Ramsay reams out at the book signing. Hell no I wasn't going to be that person (although I guess it would make for an interesting story.)
As we wound our way around the store, I could see people asking to take pictures with him. He seemed slightly agitated. He had a word with his publicist who then told us that Gordon wouldn't be able to stop and pose for pictures with us, but that we were allowed to take pictures while he talked to us and signed our books. I understood his time constraints. There were so many people.
When I got up to the table and handed my book to him, Gordon was having a side chat with some store employees, so I was caught off guard when he whipped open the book and said, "Hello Gigi, how are you doing?" (How did he know my name? Oh! It was on the post-it, duh).
To which I replied, "Good...I guess better now...." (ha ha ha...I am so corny.)
And then he asked me something which I wasn't prepared for. I was preparing for questions like "What do you do for a living?" or "Have you been to my restaurants before?" or "Why haven't you been to my restaurants before?" or "Do you want to come to work for me as a pastry chef?"
He asked me "So, what's for dinner tonight?"
I was so busy thinking of other things that I hadn't thought about what I was going to cook for dinner that night, so my quick reply was,
"Something from your cookbook?"
(I've gotten mixed responses on this answer from people I've told the story to. Jeff thought it was brilliant. Other people thought it was kind of stupid. What was I supposed to say? Mac and cheese?)
I quickly followed up my response with, "I cooked the pasta with anchovies dish last night." And this was true, I had bought the cookbook the night before, cooked that dish and thought it was very tasty.
And then he said, as he was scrawling his signature in my book, "I love anchovies. Lots of protein," and as he was handing me back my book, all I could do was stare and say "Yeah." and I might have muttered "Thank you," but I can't be sure since I was kind of in a daze.
And that was that. That was the extent of my conversation with Gordon Ramsay. I don't know what witty remark I could have said about the protein content of an anchovy. When I was in the supermarket, there was only one can of anchovies and tons of sardines, which prompted a Wikipedia search on the difference between anchovies and sardines (Anchovies are a family (Engraulidae) of small, common salt-water fish. Sardines or pilchards, are a group of several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae.) I guess I could have told him that, but I'm sure he already knew that. At least he didn't yell at me.
Jeff didn't get a good picture of me with Gordon (some stupid girl kept jumping in front of the camera), so I'm posting a picture of Gordon I took while I was in line (above), and of course, the signature (per Dirk's request.)
P.S. I did end up cooking the Shrimp Pilau dish from his cookbook that night (I didn't lie!) It was really delicious, although it took a lot longer to cook than was suggested but perhaps our oven wasn't up to temperature.