It began with a delicious jolt of espresso-resisting the idea of adding frothed green milk in celebration of St Patrick’s Day, instead choosing to wear green earrings. Checked the vanilla panna cotta shot glasses: all set beautifully! First of the season rhubarb plus fresh ginger, lime and vanilla pods for gazpacho to top the panna cotta: tick! Vanilla Sauce whisked into submission for the tartine, then to the Organic Walnut and Parmesan Shortbread Stars. Like Santa’s to do list, we checked off the array of bags, boxes, platters and the vital toolkit-off to the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus to spread the vanilla word! Waterstones Piccadilly coordinator Mark transformed the scone and flat whites café into an elegant candlelit bistro as we set up.
With great help from fellow chef and friend Kathy Kordalis we got the tasting platters organized and Jessica set up the science of vanilla memory experiment and I extolled the virtues, science, history and my love for this power behind the throne of fragrance and flavor … VANILLA. Chef, food writer, my gorgeous friend and cheerleader PETER GORDON (who wrote the Vanilla Table foreword) sat front row with colleagues and friends from Kopapa and The Providores for the vanilla show! With glasses of Proseco we shared tastes of Rhubarb Gazpacho with Vanilla Panna Cotta, Smoked Salmon Tartine drizzled with Vanilla Seed Sauce and The Walnut Parmesan Stars. Not a bite left and every single book was sold and signed! A fantastic evening spent in London!