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Surely You Zest!

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite ready for what happened yesterday while on my latest Spud outing. I’m still trying to take it in.

The day started innocently enough. I had laughed in the face of the rotten, pouring-down weather and made my way to the Mansion House for the launch of Zest!, a cookbook showcasing recipes from 62 of Ireland’s leading chefs and restaurants, and which was conceived with the aim of raising awareness and funds for the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Zest! Cookbook

Zest! - lovely book, great cause, €20 seals the deal

I arrived, looking not unlike a drowned rat, signed in and was handed a copy of the book. (Yes, lucky me, I qualify for press copies now). I admired the lovely looking tome, though I worried slightly that I might ruin it, what with my wet paws and wet everything else. I dripped into the reception room and tried not to create too much of a puddle. Then, a little yay! when I saw the Coffee Angel stand, followed by much boohooing when I realised that they were not quite ready to start dispensing caffeine.

It was then that Tom, the very friendly PR guy, zoomed over to tell me that the chefs in attendance would be done with their photo-call soon and if I wanted to interview any of them, just let him know.

Interview? Me??

I had known that some of the chef-authors would be in attendance, but I hadn’t necessarily expected to speak to them, much less conduct something called an interview. Curses. I was completely unprepared.

Zest! Launch: Kevin Dundon, The Coffee Angels, The Chefs, Biddy White-Lennon

At the launch, clockwise from top left: Kevin Dundon, The Coffee Angel folks, The assembled chefs with Paolo Tullio and Vivienne Jupp, and Biddy White-Lennon peruses Zest!

Moments later, Tom was back with an update.

“The lady from the Herald is just with Kevin Dundon, but I can get him for you when she’s done.” Or words to that effect.

I was struck dumb at the thought of conversing with one of Ireland’s best known chefs. I flicked through the book, desperately hoping that Kevin had included a spud recipe, but, alack and alas, he had not. There went that interview question.

I considered making a rapid exit-stage-left, but ran into the charming Orla Broderick before I had a chance to enact my escape plan. Orla was the recipe editor for the book and I got a great sense of the effort that went into the project and the attention to detail that prevailed. I had almost forgotten about the whole interview-Kevin-Dundon thing. Tom, however, had not.

“Kevin is free now.”

Talk about feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I managed to comment on how nice the book looked, while Kevin obligingly gave me his spiel on the recipes he’d included and how impressed he was with the project as a whole. I ummed and ahhed a bit and started simultaneously wishing that I had (a) watched Kevin when he was on the telly and that (b) I had eaten at his Dunbrody House restaurant, so that we would have something else to talk about. Unfortunately, neither was the case.

The interview came to a merciful end and I sheepishly asked if he might sign my copy of the book, which he graciously did. I scuttled away and finally relaxed into the arms of a waiting latte. I sipped, feeling relief mainly, followed by the urge to laugh out loud when I realised what the lesson for the day had been: that in the world of PR, there really is no such thing as a free launch.

Zest! cookbook, as signed by Kevin Dundon

...as signed by the chef

16 Comments

  1. lisaiscooking

    What a day! I’m sure he was relieved not to hear the usualy interview questions anyway. Sounds like a lovely book.

  2. George@CulinaryTravels

    What a day. I’m sure it went better than you thought though.

  3. Whitney @ Lettuce Love

    What an exciting day! Zest! looks like a wonderful book.

  4. SippitySup

    Funny story. In my “other life” I deal with publicists reguarly. Hollywood publicists, the kind that eat people! So I can imagine the force in which they suggested you committ to their expectations. I have yet to be approached by PR people over SippitySup. I can’t decide if that a good thing or a bad thing… GREG

  5. jenn

    Wow sounds like a crazed day. I’m glad you made it through the interview.

  6. Tangled Noodle

    That’s so funny! I can relate: when I called Hell’s Kitchen to get permission to prepare Chef Mitch Omer’s porridge recipe at a cooking demo, it ended with my being informed that he would attend and watch me. Yikes! All’s well, though, just as your day turned out – and it looks like you have yourself a lovely cookbook for it.

    “There’s no such thing as a free launch . . .!” [LOL]

  7. Daily Spud

    lisaiscooking: well, I’m sure he does a lot of interviews, so maybe he didn’t take too much notice :)

    George: what a day indeed, and I guess it wasn’t as bad as it could have been; as of my friends pointed out, I could have mixed him up with another well-known Irish chef, also called Kevin; if I’d done that, I might have been shown the door :D

    Whitney: welcome! exciting is indeed one word for it :)

    SippitySup: I can’t decide if the PR thing blogwise is good or bad – I guess it’s a bit of both…

    jenn: made it through and lived to tell the tale :)

    Tangled Noodle: Yikes indeed! I think having the chef watch me demo would be even worse than having to do an interview – what a pair we are!

  8. OysterCulture

    What fun, even if it was a nerve wracking event. I guess its one of those that is best appreciated in retrospect. Look forward to hearing some of your adaptations of the recipes for spuds!

  9. Jenni

    Wowie, DS–free copies of books! You have Arrived! :D

    And from now on, keep a few questions in your purse, just in case you are met with an Impromptu Interview Opportunity!

  10. Phyllis (me HUNGRY!)

    Such a hilarious post! I can totally identify – I’m always reduced to a giggling starstuck fool whenever I meet a chef.

  11. Michelle

    All is not lost, you can always write to offer to do a review of his restaurant for your AWARD WINNING blog (cue trumptets!!), and could he just stick the invite in the post please….

  12. Daily Spud

    OysterCulture: an experience best enjoyed/appreciated in retrospect, that’s for sure :) will certainly have to see what recipes in the book inspire me in new spud directions!

    Jenni: such sound advice (though of course I expect nothing less from your good self!) – I will prepare some non-perishable questions and stash them forthwith :D

    Phyllis: I know – it’s hard to get over that feeling :)

    Michelle: splendid idea, I should get to work on that

  13. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    Wow, must have been exciting and scary at the same time! Great opportunity though to talk to the chefs!

  14. Sophie

    What an exciting day!! It looks that you had fun!!

    What a lovely post this was!!!

  15. zerrin

    Sounds like too much adrenaline! I can imagine how exciting it was, but I’m sure he was happy not to hear the cliche interview questions.

  16. Daily Spud

    Natasha: you’ve nailed it exactly!

    Sophie: thank you – exciting, yes, and a bit nerve-wracking too :)

    zerrin: more adrenaline involved than is usual for a Tuesday morning :D

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