Culinery Team GB at Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing

“Are you in in hotel Baby? “

It’s 12:30am. I’m still awake.  My phone goes and it’s Jimmy.  Jimmy is the other co-presenter as well as Chakall, for China Food TV.  I like Jimmy. He’s a good man. But having him to stay in London in March was challenging!  He says, “in 30 minutes we have gin tonic”. He tells me he has bought the Gordon’s Gin.  It’s not. It’s Beefeater. He, like all Chinese can not pronounce the letter “r”.  That’s why I never cook rabbit in China, ‘cos it’s “Labbit”!


Today I felt I did my country proud.  I woke early (could not sleep), Coffee is hard to find in this country unless you want to spend silly money in Starbucks and there are none near!  Anyway, I arrived at the Bird’s Nest Stadium to find the schedule had changed.  It’s called “Chinese Style”.  Anything I know from home I forget, my ways, manner, ingredients……

I came on stage to a video that was produced for me. (The Vauxhall Boys and Lightyear Films, you did me PROUD.  Thank you for the intro you provided me.) The 1.5 minute intro was fab and the music was “Land of Hope and Glory” remixed with Chinese sounds.  The crowd (160,000 of them) chanted James and I’m so glad I had some time to meditate before it to get ready. A bit of clubbing music on my iPhone and off I went.

Now, we need to backtrack.  This a.m. I went to the Supermarket.  I had a list of simple things to make two dishes.  Coronation Chicken and a Victoria sandwich.  The idea was to talk about the UK and the Jubilee (I cooked a dish from both Jubilee Queens) and I had my mate Wenlock, the Olympic mascot, with me.  Now Wenlock is a stuffed London 2012 toy. An ugly little thing, but important to me.  Much Wenlock is a place in Shropshire where the modern Olymics started. It’s also close to the AGA factory and AGA have a stove called the “Little Wenlock” and “Much Wenlock”.  (AGA Living.)

By the way, The Seamstress of Sudbury, your Navy chef’s jacket went down a storm. With me in red, white and blue, and union jacks down my sides and inner arm.  At the end I took off my neck tie which was a huge Union Jack as my tablecloth!

Now, the food was not what I wanted or what I had practised.  The Chinese were fascinated by my western cuisine.  I did the Beer Can Chicken to cook the chicken, but I inserted a coke can into the chickens cavity filled with Beefeater Gin so during roasting the gin infused into the chicken.  Cooking for the Queen (Mother!).  Then I made my coronation sauce but mayonnaise is not available here.  I quickly made some. And as for the cake.  I had to steam a Victoria sandwich in a wok!  The only flour I could get was “fermented flour”.  Ingredients here don’t behave the same as those at home, that’s for sure.

The energy from an audience that size really took it out of  me and  I fell asleep at 3pm, exhaisted.  I’m having drinks with Jimmy now.

I missed dinner tonight – a good thing!

Tomorrow I have the serving girls.  Am I equipped?  Well, I have read the handbook!

‘Til then….

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