Good Food Blog
You schmooze, you losePosted at 12:02PM, 20 August 2008 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
Now don't get me wrong, I know that I have an amazing job, even when I'm taste-testing my fortieth soup (no jokes about it being 'souper' please). However, press shows are another matter...
With the exception of Christmas shows, I attend around five shows a month, with each PR trying to make their event the most eye-catching and memorable.
This year I've been to a temporary fish finger restaurant serving fish finger bouillabaisse and thermidor. I'm still scarred by the experience eight months on.
Then there was the coffee machine launch - fifty people crammed into the tiniest room you have EVER seen. A guy pretending to be Ali Baba presented the event - I kid you not. Two hours later I left hot, slightly bemused and still no wiser about said coffee machine.
And then there was the time a supermarket launched a new range of 'Royal' teas. So far so lovely afternoon tea, until you understand their gimmick was tea at The Dorchester served by a bevy of Prince William lookalikes.
Once in a while I get to visit places I've only dreamed of
Now if you think I sound ungrateful, I'm not. I get to talk to some wonderful producers at first hand and see the latest kitchen gadgetry months before it hits the shops, and once in a while I get to visit places I've only dreamed of.
For example last year I was invited to Fortnum and Mason's Tercentenary (300 years and sadly a word too long to use on Countdown). The champagne flowed, the canapés were of the chicken in a basket/cheese on toast variety, and to top it all, the after-dinner speaker (as such) was HRH Prince Charles.
Continuing with my newly acquired royal connection, this month it was Buckingham Palace for a sneaky preview of the palace's summer opening. The ballroom (where the function was being held) had been set up in official State Banquet mode; from the chandeliers to the perfectly positioned ornate silver cutlery, it was breathtaking. Indeed Sir Hugh Roberts, director of the royal collection, was overheard saying of the banquets, "the spectacle, the sense of an event, the company, it's all wonderful - and the food is superb." I'll have to take his word on the latter - I wasn't even offered a sausage roll.
Now if only they'd had a Prince William lookalike serving fish finger thermidor...