When I received the call from the BBC asking me to make a special appearance as a guest on 'The One Show' I was absolutely ecstatic.
Alex Jones and Matt Baker were to be joined by David Walliams and the Hairy Bikers in the studio. And I was to be a secret guest!!!
I wasn't sure what to expect and whether to rehearse what I was going to say. The only brief I was given was that I am going to be part of a banter they will be playing on the Hairy Bikers who have recently published a book on how to cut fruits and vegetable.
I only had three days to prepare for the show and that wasn't long.
ON THE DAY
I was up early. Got my carving knives ready and made my way to the BBC studio in Great Portland Street.
As I arrived I was taken to the green room where I explored the pictures on the wall of all the guests who had appeared previously on the show. One picture stood out as I noticed it was of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the very best superstars of Bollywood.
I was shortly taken into the studio where they were preparing for the live recording of the show.
The studio was buzzing. It was bright with lots of illuminated panels. There were big screens opposite the green sofas where the guests were to be seated.
I was introduced to the camera crew and the very own Alex and Matt, the presenters of The One Show. I was given a worktop table where lovely vegetables were waiting for me to do my magic on them. And most importantly there were courgettes. And there were lots of them. Why courgettes? Well The Hairy Bikers are experts in cutting courgettes and have dedicated a section of their new book on how to cut certain vegetables artistically.
WHAT WAS MY JOB IN ALL THIS?
I was to create a work of art with fennel, mango and courgette. Now I was really in my element. I had to do what I did best. So I carved away. As I was finishing each piece, I had quite an audience. Which is always nice. I knew I can pull a crowed anywhere as soon as I pull out those shiny carving knives.
As I finished the carvings, I had to be ready for the rehearsal. I am not usually a nervous person, BUT knowing that it's going to be recorded LIVE worried me a little. What if I said something silly and gave the game away. I was instructed by the crew what to do. I wasn't to give the game away at any cost. I had to pretend I was a member of the audience and had no clue about cooking or cutting vegetables. THAT WAS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT. Because 1) I love cooking and 2) I cannot pretend!
The rehearsal wasn't too bad and all the carved items were well hidden away for the time being.
ITS SHOW TIME
It was 7 0'clock and all the other audience had entered the studio as the live program commenced. These audience were a very loud bunch; Irish football supporters I was told. As I was standing with the noisy and boisterous audience I suddenly noticed David Walliams standing just a meter away from me and the world renowned chefs, Dave Myers and Si King from The Hairy Bikers were standing right next to David Walliams.
I felt a rush of adrenaline inside me. How surreal is this, to be standing on the same platform as these guys. I so wanted to say "Hello' from the other side, but it dawned on me that I cannot pull a long convo as I could not reveal who I was. Damn!
Then David Walliam was introduced on the show and as he walked on the seating area there was a loud cheer. He was interviewed and spoke of his new book 'Gangster Granny' which my son loved reading. I must say David was a dashing fella in real life. Nothing like the ghastly characters he played in Little Britain.
THE CURTAIN CALL
Then it was time for the Hairy Bikers to walk the ramp and onto the seating area. Alex and Matt brought up the topic of their new book, 'The Hairy Dieters', and quizzed them about the instructions on how to cut courgettes like match sticks. As David Myers was about to do a demonstration Alex turned to the audience and asked if she could have a volunteer to follow the instructions from David Myers. I put my hands up like a nervous new comer, stepped forward, put on the apron, a tiny mic was quickly fitted to my blazer and walked to the worktop.
They asked me if I cooked at home, and I said I was a novice....yeah right! I wanted to tell them I preferred make my green Thai chicken curry from scratch instead of using the jars from the shop.
I wanted to tell them my zealous for cooking creative dishes using the freshest ingredients. But I was star struck.
Now turning back to reality.
As David was doing the demo and instructing me on how to cut the courgettes very carefully, I was pretending I didn't know what I was doing. Suddenly Alex and Matt stop David told him to glance his attention to my courgettes.
The camera focused on me and my courgettes and TA DA! I didn't follow his instructions at all. I, on the other hand, created something a little more quirky!!
After I pulled out my carvings one by one, the look on their faces were priceless!
Then it was all revealed; we had stomped the hairy bikers...HIGH FIVE! I wasn't who they expected me to be. But in fact I was a professional fruit and vegetable carving chef.
I also created a small gift for David Walliams. Rumour has it that the duo of X-Factor, David Walliams and Simon Cowell, have a bit bromance going on. So what could be a better present than a personalised Courgette carved with script reinforcing their eternal bond.
It has been an amazing experience to be carving on the show and take part in the program. It has definitely left me feeling elated.
To be featured with the likes of David Walliams and the Hairy Bikers is an absolute honor. Although my role was small I felt excited to be able demonstrate my craft on prime time TV.
The BBC crew have also captured me carving the some of the vegetables and can be viewed here. Live Carving Video - Mango Carving Live Courgette Carving Video - Specially for David Walliams