Imagine your very first cookery demonstration: not even in a kitchen; supported by a chef who barely speaks English; an audience of the most powerful women in the world’s largest city. Daunting or what? I desperately fell back on the tried-and-tested Victoria sponge but with a little twist to make it my own (https://youtu.be/0H0jPBwpD1M).
I was in Chongqing in China with one of the top chefs, Frank, at the prestigious InterContinental Hotel. We were providing the entertainment for the regular lunch of the International Women’s Group. This was a truly impressive gathering of the key female influencers in this vast city of 37 million people: Consuls general heading up the local representation of their national embassies; leaders in business and academia; my Rotary Club sponsors; movers and shakers in heels. And this was my initiation audience so I chose something hopefully foolproof and quintessentially English.
Frank and super-Beverages and Food Manager, Sam, did all the hard work. All I had to do was crack the eggs and turn on the mixer. I just tossed raspberries in to the mix and let Frank carry it away to the oven. Hardly testing or high cuisine!
My mini-sponges looked suitably simple alongside the accompaniment Frank had produced: a delectable chocolate stiletto shoe each garnished with fruit. He was just showing off and definitely caught the attention of the whole group. It was clearly the difference between a truly professional chef and yours truly – but did he have to rub it in so hard?
Frank and I had a great time working together – I just wish we had been able to do more. But the lunch was another chance to spread the word that disability needn’t be the end of the world – just give us a chance to show what we can do.