During my nine years working as an AGA demonstrator I have relished the opportunity to travel across the world, visiting places that I would otherwise never have visited and meeting people from all walks of life that I would never have met. On those occasions when I am lying in an unfamiliar hotel bed, many, many miles from home, I think about the boundless variety that there is in the world, yet the one thought that I keep returning to is that much of that variety is found within the United Kingdom. The discomfort of climbing into my car at the scrake of dawn of a morning is salved by the knowledge that at the other end of the motorway I will be presenting AGA products on a television channel or at a village fete or perhaps in a castle o. Most recently, I have been demonstrating from the back of a van.
Allow me to explain. With the recent launch of the new AGA Total Control, I’m spending the summer taking a shiny van to shows and events across the United Kingdom. The vehicle actually has a fully functioning AGA Total Control oven carefully fitted into the back. Before you think of cracking a joke about falling off the back of a lorry, I’ve heard them all already. I have a lot of friends who think they are funny. Besides, there is nothing questionable about the Total Control, which combines classic AGA design and functionality with a touch-screen panel which gives the user – in this case me – an enhanced command over the cooking process. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the next generation technology, not only in discovering the features myself but also in presenting them to the general public. I love the interaction with an audience. I make sure they feel involved in the presentation by telling anecdotes, freely answering questions and, most importantly, cooking a selection of dishes which demonstrate how user friendly the AGA technology is. I am consistently surprised how warm and welcoming audiences can be. While I have rehearsed my routine umpteen times, I always appreciate those moments when a spontaneous question from an audience member can take me in a slightly different direction. I can still present the benefits of cooking with AGA Total Control but it lends my presentation a freshness which I could not fabricate.
Last weekend, I was at the Gloucester Quays food festival with the AGA Rangemaster cookery theatre where television celebrities James Martin and Gino D’Acampo were cooking. It was fantastic to see these gents, who were as gracious and entertaining as you might expect, being so passionate about food, and I tried to emulate their energy in my own demo. This week I am at the New Forrest and Hampshire show, a cracking event which offers a plethora of interesting items: country wear for sale, local breweries selling their ales, and horse riding and dressage events. For me the focus will be seeing two different worlds collide: the old farming methods which have been passed down for centuries meeting the AGA Total Control. As I see it, they make for very comfortable bedfellows. Many of these customers have had an AGA in their home for over forty years, and while their ovens are still going strong they are fascinated by the benefits of the upgraded technology. For me that is the essential appeal of the Total Control: it maintains both the classic look and lifestyle appeal of previous AGA cookers yet opens up so many new opportunities for people with a wide range of cooking needs.
As I said previously, it is this variety which makes my job so rich and rewarding. I’m never entirely who I will meet on my travels. So, keep an eye out for the AGA Total Control van, and if you see me passing by, toot your horn and say hello!