Looking back through old blogs, and reflecting upon the thousands of words scribbled here, I’ve begun to realise something. There are two recurrent themes in my writing: food and travel. These, one could argue, are your most basic human imperatives. I might complain about it, but I’ve always felt the need to go exploring, to discover new worlds – brave or otherwise.This urge gives my life a strange, often frustrating propulsion: I get twitchy if I stay in the same place for too long, yet I get homesick when I’ve been away for too long. And I’m away from home a lot.
Of course, the reason that I find myself in a state of perpetual motion is because of food and kitchen appliances. If I had never chosen the profession in which I am now ensconced, I sorely doubt that I would have trotted as much of the globe as I have. People all over the world need food and kitchen appliances, and in most instances they like their food to be tasty and not too much hassle to prepare. It’s that need which has led to me demonstrating cooking techniques from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, and from The Great Wall Of China to Toronto’s CN Tower.
After returning from Abu Dhabi, I had the grand total of a week at home, just enough time to get my washing done, readjust my body clock, and pack for New York. I was heading there to launch the AGA PRO+. This might conjure up images of me turning up at the
venue with an oversized pair of scissors and cutting a ribbon, but in fact weeks of prepartion are involved in getting ready for an event of this nature.
We decorated a studio in Manhattan for the occasion, and the CEO of AGA had flown over especially, along with other members of the senior management team. In other words, the pressure was own. I’m not normally nervous, but this was a biggie. There were over a hundred of the city’s journalists there. All I could think of was ‘The Devil wears Prada’.
Maybe it was the pressure of being quite a distance outside my comfort zone, but it turned out to be one of the best demos I have ever given. I was helped enormously by the fact that the AGA PRO+ is a tremendous product which offers the user several unique benefits. Not only can it save the average American family up to 30% in running costs due to its unique divider panel by reducing the size of the large family oven to a smaller everyday oven, but it will also heat from cold to 375F in under 8 minutes.
Allow me to get a bit more technical. The five burners burners from 5,000 to 15,000 BTU ensure cooking on this pro range is suitable for all family tasks. The absolute simmer means that chocolate melts perfectly without a bain marie and care and control can be obtained when making delicate sauces. The huge wok burner can easily provide more than enough heat for a sizzling fast stir-fry. Its self-cleaning and comes in a range of five colours and stainless steel with matching appliances. All to make life easier for the family.
Oh yes, it’s a great price too.
I cooked an 8 rib roast of beef, a large yellowfin kingfish, jambalaya, poached peaches in vanilla with amoretti mascarapone, and a host of other dishes and ended with a Cointreau flambé on an orange soufflé! The Yorkshire puddings were fantastic too, even if the American clientele looked at them quizzically.
After a quick lunch I popped across Manhattan to Grange (I am beginning to sound a little too much like Carrie from Sex And The City here), a French furniture range owned by AGA. One of its stores can be found in the design center on 200 Lexington Avenue. I presented an evening event to friends and members of the AGA family as well as distributors and journalists. Phew! Talk about a busy day at work.
This was topped off with me cooking an array of canapés under my new concept of Ameri-pean food. Ameri-what? you might ask. Well, just store that term in the back of your mind. Repeat it a few times and then file it away for safe keeping. Ameri-pean. Ameri-pean. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It lilts off the tongue. It sounds both strange and familiar. I’ll be talking about it in more detail over the next year, but for now all you need to know is that I am very excited about it and I trust you will be too.
Back to my native Northern Ireland, I headed to the AGA shop in Belfast, where I presented yet another demo, was collected by my mum, and promptly fell asleep in the car. Everything after that disappears in a haze, but I do know that I woke up sometime, somewhere in London, where I’m now preparing myself for my next trip: I’m off to San Francisco in a few weeks. I’ll tell you all about that in due course. But the next blog is going to be a little history lesson to explain why I’m proud to be the Brand Ambassador for AGA and Great British Cookers. We produce the best in the world.
Before I go, have a look at this short video, its be at the London Book Fair on the Gourmand Stand.