In November, I received an ominous email from a Gmail account that looked like firstname.lastname@example.org. The sender asked for my phone number and wanted to chat about making a public appearance. All of that made me a little leery because I have received enough emails telling me I won the lottery, earned a huge lawsuit settlement or could have my choice of Russian brides. I figured it was a scam or better yet a prank from friends because we love to pull some mean pranks on each other. And when I say “we”, I mostly mean “me”.
Usually I wouldn’t respond but for some reason, I did. Over the next couple of days, they told me they were looking for a food blogger to be on a nationally syndicated TV show with a recognized chef. There were rumors around Wichita that Gordon Ramsay was in town so I was thinking that was the reason. I was told the chef and his team would choose from the list of applicants and I would be informed if I was selected for the show.
The next day, I was notified that I was selected! I was allowed one guest. I knew any of my friends would have gone with me but I chose the one friend who ironically told me months before he always wanted to meet Gordon Ramsay.
On Tuesday, November 21, I arrived at Fetch Bistro. I had to sign a bunch of paperwork and get mic’d up. They said to be careful because it was going to be a live mic and anything I said would be recorded. So from 3:30pm to 5:30pm in the windy cold weather, I stood outside nearly freezing and constantly worried about saying something stupid.
Later that afternoon, the producers led me, my friend, Matt Riedl of Keeper of the Plans, and the extras around to the front of the building. We stood in front of Fetch Bistro to film a countdown and yell and celebrate. Once that was over, they proceeded to walk people into the restaurant. Some extras walked in, including Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. Then I heard the producers say over their headsets, “OK, bring in the VIP table.” That was us!
Next thing I know, CHEF GORDON RAMSAY is standing right in front of me. What he would say next to me is burned into my memory forever. He introduced himself to me, thanked me for coming and mentioned that he saw my blog and loved what I was doing for the community. My heart sank and I nearly passed out.
We were then led to the VIP table where Chef Ramsay introduced us to the owners and explained the new menu. At this point, I was just sitting there star struck. Everything he said went in one ear and out the other. I wanted to take so many pictures but the producers gave us STRICT RULES not take pictures. On other episodes of ’24 Hours to Hell and Back’, I’ve seen people take pictures but for some reason we weren’t allowed to at all.
The staff brought us out every dish to try. We were all impressed with the meals, especially the chicken & biscuits and the grilled fish tacos. There were at least 4-5 cameras on us at all times with a big mic over our table like a mistletoe. It was awkward and uncomfortable being filmed eating . I don’t get nervous much but I did then. So nervous to the point, I held my silverware like a 5-year-old.
Below is just an example of what I’m talking about. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until it was too late. I really hope that gets edited out or I’m going to make viewers think Wichitans eat like children.
Everybody has asked me if Gordon Ramsay is as mean as they make him out to be on TV. We were all taken back by him; he just has an ambiance about him that is full of charisma and sincerity. In our brief exchanges with him, he was nothing but pleasant and nice.
I won’t get into the rest as I’ll let you watch it all unfold but it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
After the taping, the producers then pulled Matt Riedl and me aside for one-on-one interviews. I was dreading this. When it was my turn, I was asked to stand in front of a camera with bright lights shining down on me from all angles. The producer calmed me down (or tried to) and said it was going to be some simple questions and we could do retakes if needed. The first question he asked me was what I do. What transpired next was embarrassing:
“Hi, my name is Eddy with Wichita By E.B. and I write about things to eat and people to do.”
I paused immediately, and the producers and I took in what I just said. So I tried again.
“Hi, my name is Eddy with Wichita By E.B. and I write about people to eat….”
This went on for probably 5-6 more times until I nailed it. I honestly should have just settled for, “Me, Eddy, Me Write Blog.”
After my interview was over, I was so relieved. I hope they don’t use a single answer I gave and would be OK if they only featured Matt Riedl’s interview portion. My friend watched me and said he’s never seen me so nervous in his life. And he’s seen me officiate many weddings including his own. In its entirety, I was there from around 3:30pm to 9pm. Looking back on it, it was such a great time and something I’ll always look back on fondly. Everyone from the producers, the crew and Chef Gordon Ramsay were so nice. While we didn’t get to take any pictures with him, it was one of the coolest experiences I’ll ever have.
Forks Down tonight because the Fetch Bistro Wichita episode airs Wednesday, July 25 at 8pm CT on Fox.