Skye Gyngell, one of my all time favourite chefs and food writers, shares her excitement of returning to Ballymaloe for the first ever Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in her guest blog entry:
The festival is getting closer – by my calculations only 13 days to go. I for one am very excited – for so many reasons. Firstly to see Ballymaloe again, it seems like ages since I was last there and along with a small handful of other places it is one of my favourite destinations on earth. Secondly to see Mrs Allen,Rory, tim and Darina again, although im sure that it will be only the tiniest of glimpses over the weekend. – spending any time at all with them reconfirms to me my chosen profession and makes me feel excited about food and produce all over again. Thirdly the line up of guests is so amazing that I feel star struck, nervous, excited and slightly breathless. Im participating in three events, which in my usual style Ive paid as little attention to as possible . Not because I don’t care, far from it but the more I think about things the more I agonise over them and then I begin to feel sure that whatever I do will be disastrous.
Rory is gently nudging me now to let him know what I am planning to cook on the Saturday evening at Darina’s house. I’ve used as many delay tactics as possible to buy some time – hoping that the perfect menu will come to me if I just sit quietly and wait. I know from experience this never happens and I just need to decide on something and hope for the best. The truth is I’ve been out of the kitchen for over a year and I have very little confidence! Im feeling very much that I cant cook and have very little to say that will be of any interest to anyone. It’s been a really interesting year and in many ways I’ve learnt a lot – but mostly I’ve learnt that being out of a kitchen and not having the privilege of working with an incredible group of passionate people feels very soul destroying – I feel like half a person and the best half of me has gone. What I have learnt on a positive note is I’m going to stay working in restaurants (cooking at home for me is not the same thing at all) until I simply physically can’t anymore – if possible I’m going to drop dead right by the stove.
This festival has come at just the right time for me for I know I’m going to get a much needed injection of knowledge and enthusiasm. I’m going to immerse myself in everything, be everywhere, see all that I can and however nervous I feel, I’m going to give of myself 100 percent !
See you on the 3rd !