11.20.2009

adventures in wine and food

I got a call from my brother Terry yesterday saying that he would be in the city with work competing in a tasting competition. He's been cooking for a Relais & Châteaux in Cambridge for a while now and the head chef decided he was up to the task of cooking for the competition so he let me know and asked if I wanted to stop by and check it out.

Of course I wanted to see him doing his thing and check out the show, but Thursday was a VIP thing with a 35 entry fee which irritated my sensibilities. Spend perfectly good beer money on a wine show? Not on my watch! So I wandered around the back of the convention center and found a utility entrance being propped open with a broom. I snagged the broom, tossed it over my shoulder and made my way in stepping with purpose and no one gave me a second look.

Took me a bit of wandering from hall to hall to find the event, but when I finally tracked it down I entered through a utility corridor into a massive wall of curtains. Hearing a lot of chatter and smelling some tasty food I figured I had the place so I tossed the broom and pushed through the curtains ... straight into a ticket agent inspecting me dubiously. In my hoodie, tshirt and blue jeans I was definitely not dressed for this event.

Well I figured the jig was up at this point but thought what the hell I'll just act lost and bluff my way through it. When I reached the agent she seemed quite concerned and said "Well it seems you don't have your drink tickets sir, did you not receive them when you came in?"

Oh ho!

"No actually, no one mentioned drink tickets, I was expecting cash and carry."

"Oh no not on VIP night, here you are sir", she said with a smile as she tore off a sheet of TWENTY and handed it to me.

So I perused the exhibitors getting tipsy on free wine, flirting with booth girls, and generally enjoying the hell outta myself until Terry finally had a moment to call me, turns out I was in completely the wrong event! He was in the south hall and I was in the north end of the building. I'd been scamming free food and booze for almost an hour and I still have absolutely no idea what event I actually attended.

Fortunately he came up to find me, his chef whites clearing the way for him handily, and brought me to the correct venue. They had finished the tasting and were cleaning up while the judging went on, so we hung out a bit and chatted with some of the other staff he works with.

Found out today he placed second in Ontario, not too shabby methinks. Good night, free booze, and fine accolades. Can't beat that with a stick!
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