Ugggh, cannot wait until school is over! What's that? Oh, its a four year commitment? Ah, well shucks! Guess in the meantime I will just have to find things to keep me busy, keep my mind off midterm season, and on to things more resembling food. Hmm, funny I should say that, seeing as how I totally kicked it with Food Network just two weeks ago. So you came here to be all stalkerish and find out how it went down right? Yes I know. Stalkers are welcome here. Just make sure you leave a cupcake by the window after you leave, okay creepy?
So after the burger bash fiasco, which I mean literally, was just all out nuts. I've never seen so much food, and I've been to like the biggest Whole Foods in the world. Well, the next day was Grand Tasting day, which is the closing event for the festival in which all the top chefs and celeb chefs from the network come out to play. Its a mixture of wine tastings, demo tastings, product booths, you name it, it was there. But get this. I never even made it to the tents! Not even close. I arrived as usual, did my sign in, had my pow wow, and waited patiently to be picked for a group to walk in. Waited. Waiteddd. Until finally, our team leader got this urgent phone call about needing last minute volunteers for an Alton Brown demo. I was like whatttt? Alton? I am so in! So I thrusted myself forward, arm waving foolishly in the air like an over eager student with an answer in class, and high tailed it 10 blocks north to where this mysterious demo was to take place. Goodbye Grand Tasting, hello Alton! Unfortunately, as soon as I arrived, I immediately felt I made a huge mistake. What was our assignment you wonder? To pass out the free Food&Wine and Travel&Leisure magazines! I left an afternoon of eating Mario Batali pasta and brownie sampling for this? I was devastated. That is of course, until our overzealous director informed us that our frowning faces inspired her with an idea. Why not let the hopeless volunteers watch the show once all guests are seated. Oh yes yes, I loved that idea. Pick me, pick me! Well, no, she didn't pick me. But that didn't stop me from discreetly holding the door open to peek inside. All you need to know is, yes Alton really is that energetic...and he is very very funny. It was a nonstop laugh fest.
Well, the demo was only an hour. We passed out our free goodies to the guests and awaited our departure instructions to go back to the Grand Tasting so we could all finish off our 6 hour shifts. But little did we know, this demo wasn't about Alton, this demo was about ALL the chefs. I'm sorry what! I started hyperventilating as the words Giada, Paula, Rachel, Guy and Bobby were pouring from her mouth. I was shaking. I'm sorry what! Giada and Paula will be in this building? This building I am standing in right now? They will literally be fifty feet away from me? So close I could make out the freckles on their arm? Oh yes, yes, pick me! And guess what dolls, she totally picked me!! Okay so it went down like this. We got everyone seated and ushered in, and then four volunteers got to stay inside. I felt bad sitting down when everyone around me literally paid about $700 to be there for this great cause, so I just took a stand in the back. But boy was it worth it! The room got quiet, the speaker came out (editor-in-chief of F&W magazine of course) to introduce Giada, and as she turned to look behind her, the room literally, literally went silent for a split second and you could not only hear a pin drop, but the subtle gasp that took over the audience. Giada...this woman is freaking beautiful! Beautiful! She is as small as a peanut, but gorgeous nonetheless. And her smile, my god, what a lucky husband, because her smile is like sunshine. And her voice so warm and friendly. I was in utter heaven. Goosebumps. Quivers. The works. The next hour was pure bliss, just listening to her talk about her life while she had this sweet and nervous married couple work on a potato dish with the assistant chef. It was so cute, because Giada would forget its HER demo and just keep talking to us, answering questions about her life, and then turn around to realize the potatoes were burning or something. She is that sweet! She went on to make double chocolate cookies and some vinaigrette dish, but I was so captivated by just her, that the food was not even in the picture. It dawned on me, that I would have spent $700 just to sit and talk to her and do nothing else. Watching her show was NOTHING compared to seeing her live, in action, being the sweetest human I've ever seen, just sharing this gift she is so passionate about. If her husband and family weren't in the front row, surely she would have had some marriage proposals that night. It was awesome. So do yourself a favor and watch her show from now on...knowing that she is just as great behind the lens.
Well, I don't want to bore you with what went on afterwards. More gifts bag passing out, a deluxe free lunch for the volunteers, and the likes of mademoiselle Rachey Ray herself, followed by Guy Fieri and Paula Deen. But I couldn't take anymore bliss. I had to go home and revel in it. It was overwhelming. So I grabbed some free mags, free spices, free drinks from the sponsors, and an extra box deluxe lunch (what! don't waste food is what they say) and followed the long journey home. All the while beaming from ear to ear. It was a weekend I'll never forget. And you know what, neither will the hungry moms, or kids, or starving homeless. They are beaming as well, with bellies full of food for a long time to come.
PS- Don't forget I am still running the Food Network Store giftcard giveaway! Since not many people commented last post about their volunteer stories, here is your last chance. To enter for a chance to win one of two cards I got for you guys, just comment any volunteer story you still feel good about. Good luck!
images courtesy Urbangirlsquad