When you’re a funny speaker and emcee, you often get thrown into situations you never thought you’d experience.
Not too long ago I worked one of the coolest gigs I’ve ever had. I presented a couple of programs for a food service wholesaler and also served as the emcee for cooking demonstrations during the two-day show. And yes, for those that know me, I’m aware that you’re laughing. A make a living as a funny speaker and would starve to death if I was a chef. Pun intended. The kitchen is foreign territory to me. About all I can do is grill. That’s because danger is involved. Give me a chance to lop off a finger or singe off an eyebrow and I’m all over it. I just don’t know “food and drink”. The only thing I know is that the best beer is the third one.
My job was to interview these professional chefs as they dazzled the audience with their culinary skills. And by the way, these guys were rock stars in this profession and also seasoned pros with a mic. All were alumni of the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen”, so here’s a shout-out to my new pals Rock Harper, Kevin Cottle, & Van Hurd. I wandered into this not knowing what to expect, but in the end mainly just sampled the food they were preparing. Turns out, I’m good at that. I tried to stay away from trite statements like “wow” or “excellent” or “mmm”. Instead I called upon my expert wordsmith skills and offered brilliant commentary like “nice” and “yum” and “goody, goody”. I am a pro.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure they were impressed when I told them I thought the world’s most perfect food was the Corn Dog. (Meat wrapped in a vegetable on a stick. Does it get any better than that? I think not.) Nor did they laugh when I told them that researchers had discovered the gene that causes obesity. It’s Gene Schwindleman, the guy who invented cupcakes.
I tried to make this a learning experience for them too. I gave them advice that only a non-chef would think about, but nonetheless important stuff. Things like…when faced with a choice, always buy fruit instead of vegetables because when fruit rots you can make wine. Try doing that with asparagus. Or when you cook Cornish Hens, blindfold your parrot if you have one. You don’t want him to think he’s next. And since chocolate can reduce the chance of stroke and boost your immune system, put chocolate on EVERYTHING!
These guys have inspired me. Cooking is now cool! In the past the only thing I could make was a dinner reservation, but now I’m turning over a new leaf of Romaine lettuce and going to learn how to operate more than a can opener. Chances are it might be a while before I’m an expert though. At this point I don’t even know what wine goes with cottage cheese.
Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message