Friends, Laughter…and Celebrity Chefs

A few weeks back my friend Sue rushed up to me outside Walmart, on a Sunday afternoon just after church (Shhh!).

‘I’ve got to tell you…we’re going to be filmed for TV at the market and meet Nick Nairn and Paul Rankin!’

It turns out that she’d been selected to be interviewed and her food taste-tested by Chefs Nick Nairn and Paul Rankin for their Big Food Trip show. Few Canadians would know who they are, but us Brits, having grown up in the UK watching ‘Ready, Steady, Cook!’ We do. They’re both Chefs who have Michelin Starred restaurants and they’ve made many TV appearances on cooking shows, and now they have their own series together.

When we first visited Fredericton back in 2008 our friends, who had recently moved to Canada themselves, took us to meet the Warrington family. ‘You have to meet them,’ they said. So they took us on a drive out into the New Brunswick countryside to Harvey, to their farm. The kids thought it was great as at that time they lived in a house with a swimming pool room, and their kids are roughly the same ages as ours. They moved out to Canada from the UK a few years before us to start a business making preserves which they mainly sell at Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market. Soon it was more than that as they moved into baking as well, selling yummy pies and cakes. Shortly after we moved here they moved to a bigger farm with much more land and potential.

On those first visits, Sue encouraged us to take the plunge and move here. At the time I was thinking of doing the market myself, thinking that I might be able to make some money through baking. That didn’t happen quite as I’d hoped, but Sue is always an encouragement. Whether I drop by her stall or on the odd occasion we make it out to the farm I come away feeling better than when I arrived.

Every Saturday they’re at the market here and they also have a stall at St Andrews Farmers’ market during the week as well for five months of the year. It’s hard work week in and week out, but it really is a family business, they’re all in it together. Now everywhere you look in the market there’s a Warrington because their kids have got Saturday jobs with other sellers too.

When Sue said they were going to be interviewed for the programme I was happy for them. Of course anyone who knows me will know that I can’t resist being curious where TV cameras are concerned. A British TV crew in Fredericton! Well, I have to be there just to watch…

I messaged Sue the night before and asked what time the filming would take place. She replied by asking me if I’d like to come and help for a few hours as her husband Keith didn’t really want to. I understand this. When I did a life swap for This Morning on ITV, Tim didn’t really want much to do with it. He kept away from the cameras as much as possible (pretty hard when they’re in the house). It’s my dream, his nightmare, as I’ve said before.

On Saturdays if I’m working at the library in the afternoon, I’m usually killing time doing chores or running errands before I have to go late morning, so it made a change to be behind The Warrington Farm stall. It was fun to be there waiting with Sue for the cameras and then the chefs to arrive. They would be visiting a few of the market sellers so we watched them getting nearer. Sue and the twins, Danny and Jasmine helped me to learn the ropes before they went to work. I served customers as best I could while Sue was spoken to by the producers, the cameras came to take some shots of the food, and then later when the chefs came to taste test a couple of her bakes. They loved the raspberry pie – it is delicious – and told her that she could ‘teach Paul Hollywood a thing or two’ about pastry. Fun to be the bystander, gaining vicarious enjoyment from the sidelines, and Sue does deserves the praise. We did get a picture together at the end in which I have a stupid grin – seems to be my usual photo-with-anyone-remotely-famous-face.

More than anything though I had a few hours chatting to a great friend. Take away all the cameras and celebrity chefs. We were like two giggly teenagers. I went off to my actual job later feeling a whole lot better than I usually do (I struggle with working weekends).

That day continued to be a good one. In the evening, Tim and I were going to some friends’ for a curry night. Tim thought it was just the four of us. What he didn’t know was that it was a very belated 50th birthday party curry night with a few other friends (He does not like big ‘dos’). We had it planned for about two months, but I hadn’t told anyone, not even the kids, until the day before as I was so scared he’d find out. It worked! He didn’t question the amount of curry I made to take with us, he didn’t notice the other cars parked nearby as we drew up outside the house, he didn’t even question that I volunteered to drive home later (I really thought I’d blown it when I said that). He didn’t know until he walked up their stairs into the kitchen that there were other people there. Ha!
It wasn’t until we got home, and we’d dried the tears from all the belly laughing we’d done (mine not Tim’s, Tim can’t cry – he’s like Cameron Diaz’s character in the film The Holiday), that we realized how long it was since we’d had an evening like that.
I’d fallen into a bit of a funk in the last little while. Life seems a bit of a slog. Our bathroom is still a work in progress, which makes me a DIY widow (it’s a real thing people), there’s an endless list of things to get sorted out beyond that. I feel a little fed up and lost with what I’m doing. The summer is disappearing and we haven’t even been to a beach. Everyone else in the social-media-sphere seems to be having so much fun. This was a much-needed interlude.
We have a little history here now. It takes time, but it feels good when you realize you can relax with some friends and laugh like that, whether it’s behind a market stall or spending an evening together. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much that is needed in the midst of doing all the things.
At least I found something I’m good at too – if you ever need someone to cheer you on while you’re being filmed for TV, I’m your gal.

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