As a celeb's "minion" (I hate that word), I meet a decent amount of celebs. When I say celebs, I really mean celebrity chefs. Though I work for a celebrity chef (I'm talking about Andrew Zimmern, btw), I'll admit that I watch surprisingly little food television. I'm surrounded by that stuff at work, why subject myself to it when I am home? Therefore, when I meet other celebrity chefs, I barely even know who they are, save Paula, Emeril, Martha and Guy (they're fine, but I am not a big fan of any of them... shhh).
However, there's this fantastic thing going on in the food TV space called "every celebrity is into cooking." Even legit ones like Debi Mazar (have you seen her show on Cooking Channel??), Aziz Ansari and Christopher Walken. Where there are food fests, there are real celebs. And one of my favorites was co-judging Burger Bash at South Beach Food & Wine Festival (where I had the pleasure of thawing out from this stupid polar vortex)...
As you may know, I co-host a podcast with Andrew called Go Fork Yourself. We talk food, restaurants, chefs, and pop culture. Andrew's job at Burger Bash was to judge burgers; my job was to get good interviews for the podcast. Trishia Yearwood = gold, and there she was, sitting right next to my boss for three hours, having nothing to do but eat & judge 12 burgers between hanging out & chatting with AZ. I mean, talk about teeing it up for me!
Normally, I come prepared with questions for the podcast, but this time I figured I'd wing it. How hard is it to come up with softball questions about food, burgers and escaping the freezing cold winter for hot, sweaty Miami? I wasn't anticipating meeting the woman behind "XXXs & OOOs" and "She's In Love with the Boy" and my favorite, "In Another's Eyes," that duet she sings with her now HUSBAND, GARTH BROOKS (!!!). This is one of a handful of songs I love blasting in my car while fighting back the tears because it is so damn good. It'll rip your heart out of your chest, even though you know it's about two people cheating/wanting to cheat on their spouses! Agghhhrrrghhh!! Emotions!!! All of a sudden I was tongue tied and freaking out. What if I said the wrong thing? What if she didn't like me? Or, worst of all, what if I didn't like her? Would her songs be forever tainted?
It took me 20 minutes to work up the courage to ask her if she'd like to do a GFY interview, which was awkward because I was kind of just standing in front of her in a not-too-crowded VIP space. Eventually, I sputtered out the words (which probably sounded like a grown-up journalist's version of "willyougotopromwithme?") and she said yes. Of course she was completely gracious and classy and funny. Much to my surprise, she confided that she felt like an impostor because she's just a home cook, not a "chef" and didn't feel qualified to be a judge because she just likes plain ol' burgers. Yep, Eleanor, I think Trisha was a little scared! It just so happened that I knew that the other three judges (you know, "real chefs") also prefer plain burgers. I told her that, and I think it actually made her feel better. Aren't conversations great?!