Be inspired by ♥ Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

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Master Class With James Martin — 78 Comments

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  3. Oh dear what a shame. I went to watch one once in the UK with Anthony Worrall Thompson and he was so drunk he dropped all the food on the floor. it was dreadful.

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    • I had a similar experience with Anthony Worrall Thompson, he was hungover and decided to cut the morning short!

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  5. Dear Tandy,

    Loved reading your comment on the hands on Workshop. I was toying with the idea of signing up for the masterclass and decided against it based on cost.Also becuase the masterclasses in previous years had been “behind closed doors” i didnt pay much attention and only realised much later that i could have watched the masterclass live. I have to admit I also would have felt particularly cheated because everyone could watch.

    I did however opt for the VIP ticket on the saturday evening show to see James live. (I’m a HUGE fan). I thought he was great. Funny as heck. What did disapoint me were two things: The first was because there were plenty of empty seats, the non VIP members got moved forward (fair enough) but then to say that the VIP ticket inlcuded a book signing and a photo. What had happend was earlier in the evening (18h15), I was purchasing my book and low and behold James is standing in front of me and signed my book. No VIP ticket needed. And I wasnt the only one. you didnt need a ticket to have a book signed, but those with VIP tickets to the shows “got preference”. while I enjoyed the experience of meeting James ( so much so that I was completely startstruck and instead of all the witty things I could have said, i went mute) I did feel rather cheated. It seems there were a few people who were also disapointed with Hestons show. I am really impressed with Louise Cashmore’s response to your comments. I will be attending the show again and hope to see “Sweet Baby James”
    back in SA soon. His dessert book has inspired this single gal to get back in the kitchen….

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    • thanks for the comment Claire and for subscribing to my blog! The people who watched the masterclass came up to James afterwards and had their books signed and photo’s taken – so if I had paid for the VIP treatment I would too have been a bit peeved at that. I met James in the green room on Friday night but we did not have a long conversation. He keeps quite to himself. Have a great day 🙂 Tandy

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  6. Dear Tandy

    My apologies for the delay in reply. I wanted to investigate your concerns, so I could revert with detailed feedback from all involved;

    I really appreciate your input. Each year, we work hard to improve the Show, updating the exhibition feature areas and adding new ones where applicable to showcase the very latest in global trends. The Get Fresh with BBC Lifestyle arena is as you have seen over the years, an update on the Hands On Workshops forum. When we initially launched the Hands on Workshop concept, the celebrity chefs loved the opportunity to cook with the public, however we had so many requests from participants to have a seating area, where Mom/Granny/my best friends etc. could watch them cook. The general public also enjoyed being spectators to the hands on workshops and the result was a mob of people standing around the Perspex enclosed hands on workshops, blocking the isles and being generally uncomfortable, standing for a long period of time.

    As a result of this, we incorporated a seating area, where the public could watch the workshops and a stage on which the participants cooked.

    I have investigated your complaint thoroughly. The co-ordinator from the culinary school running the area has confirmed that he personally checked that all the ingredients were there, together with the utensils and cookware and James Martin, has confirmed that he felt that the workshop went well and didn’t see any problems. Be that as it may, I am deeply disappointed that you did not have a great experience.

    We are going to make the following amendments for next year:

    – We will grade the workshops – for novices and experienced chefs

    – We will enclose the main stage, creating an attractive barricade to ensure that the seated audience cannot access the main stage.

    – We will include the ticket entry price into the hands on workshop ticket price

    – We will employ an additional home economist to ensure that the ingredients and cookware are double checked before each workshop.

    I would love to meet with you for a coffee so you can share any other suggestions and insights you may have to further improve this opportunity. Please let me know when you are available. I can see from your blog that you have attended these hands on workshops for a number of years and that you appreciate what a great coup it is to cook alongside chefs of this calibre. I would like to offer you a complimentary workshop with a chef of your choice next year.

    I look forward to hearing from you and to welcoming you next year, to an awesome interactive hands on workshop experience.

    Warmest regards

    Louise Cashmore

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    • WOW, how nice to see a well-constructed complaint handled in constructive and professional manner. Well done, both Tandy and Louise.

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      • I agree Cindy, the complaint was dealt with in a professional way 🙂

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    • I am glad that they came back to you! Unfortunately it seems like almost everyone was disappointed with various parts of the show! They will have to get their act together!

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      • I am hoping that with the constructive criticism they have received, next year’s show will be better and bigger 🙂

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    • Based on your description of the event, I think they should have offered you a full refund and a free entrance to the next one.

      You paid R1500 to have people be rude to you – that on its own, without any of the numerous other problems, should entitle you to a full refund.

      Paying customers deserve to be treated with respect at all times, and they forgot that rule.

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      • I do agree with you on this one, but as my husband has pointed out, I did get to cook, and I at least got my recipe book signed! Have a great day, and thanks for subscribing to my blog 🙂

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  7. Have linked you in to my review of the show 🙂

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    • thank you so much, I really appreciate that!

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  9. I notice – Still NO reply from the organisers!!!! Wow they really dont care….

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    • I wonder if they think this will all just go away – which it won’t!

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  10. I have sent the link to the blog post to Capsicum Catering and this is their response:

    Thank you for your email.

    I will send it to our Marketing Manager

    Sunel responded as follows:

    Good morning Tandy

    Thank you very much for you email of yesterday.

    Did you forward this information to the organisers of the Good Food and Wine Show? Capsicum assist the Good Food and Wine Show with the running of the kitchens. I read through your block and would gladly assist you to get in contact with the organisers to discuss your concerns.

    If you have time, maybe we can chat over the phone?

    Please let me know how I can assist you.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Have a good day.

    Kind regards

    Sunel du Plessis

    National Brand and Marketing Manager

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  11. I sent a copy of the blog post to BBC Lifestyle Channels and here is their response:

    Dear Tandy,

    Thank you for contacting BBC Worldwide Channels.

    Please be assured that your feedback regarding the BBC Lifestyle Hands on Workshop that you attended at the weekend has been received by us and that we are currently looking into the points you have raised.

    We will be back in touch with you as soon as we can.

    Best wishes,

    BBC Worldwide Channels

    Follow up – Friday 10 June:

    Dear Tandy,

    Thank you for your patience while we are looking into your concerns. Just to let you know that the person we need to liaise with on this has been on holiday, but we have not forgotten your concerns and will be in touch with you with a reply as soon as we can.

    Best wishes,

    BBC Worldwide Channels

    Dear Tandy,

    Thank you again for contacting BBC Worldwide Channels with your feedback regarding the BBC Lifestyle Hands on Workshop at the Good Food and Wine Show and we apologise for the delay in responding.

    We were extremely sorry to learn that your experience at this event was not as good as you had quite rightly anticipated. We are very grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to contact us with your feedback and we would assure you that we will take this into consideration for future events. We are, however, pleased to note that you have received a detailed response from Louise Cashmore and we hope that this has gone someway to reassure you that your feedback has been taken onboard.

    Thank you again for contacting us.

    Best wishes,

    BBC Worldwide Channels

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    • I hope someone sends an apology to James Martin!!

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      • I wonder if they even think they need to?

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  12. Woolworths who sponsored the food for the master class left me this comment on twitter:

    Really sorry to hear about your experience. We were only sponsors along with BBC, we’ll try to do better next year. Thank You.

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  13. Hi Tandy,
    My daughter and I were 2 of the twelve who did the Masterclass with James Martin on Saturday and I couldn’t agree more with you on EVERY point that you made! Once my computer us up and running again I will also be sending an e-mail to the organizers.

    Besides everything you said, we even found members of the audience (and the assistants) eating our food when we got back from queuing to have our book signed!!!! The lady (and her daughter) who were behind you is a friend of mine and besides all the problems that she had, her recipes were stolen while she was having her book signed!

    No wonder James Martin said he didn’t do many of these types of ‘classes’ and that he felt that he’d aged 10 years in that hour!!!! He’s such a professional gentleman and I’m sure he must have been thoroughly irritated with the complete lack of organization!!

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    • Hi Louise, thank you so much for leaving your comment here. I hope you get a response from them when you send the email – use this email address: louise@gourmetsa.com
      Someone ate our food as well which I found quite strange. I put my recipes away while we were cooking and I will gladly send you and your friend a copy of them if you would like. Your poor friend had such a shoddy day. I must apologize to both of you then for not moving – but I was already hacked off at the attitude of Capsicum Catering staff at that stage I was not willing to do anything but stake my place. I met James in the green room on Friday night and he is a quiet person. Have a great evening Tandy 🙂

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      • I have absolutely no problem with you not moving and must say I would have done the same!! I’ve still luckily got my recipes and have copied them for my friend but thanks for the offer! My daughter and I managed to grab the attention of one of the properly qualified chefs (she’s a lecturer) and she kept apologizing for all the mess ups (and we had plenty)!!!

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        • what a sad state of affairs! I still have to send a copy of this blog post to Capsicum Catering – lucky you to have had a chef next to you who was properly qualified 🙂

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      • Just wish she’d been around the whole time instead of having to step in at the end to help fix a lot of mistakes made by the assistants! Would so love to do it again (but properly organized next time) as I’ve always been a fan of James Martin!

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        • I wonder what would happen if we contacted him directly? I cannot see myself going to another Good Food and Wine Show to do anything other than catch up with my suppliers 🙂

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  14. Hey Tandy
    I was also p…ted off cos payed R150 to watch James at the Chefs in Action teather and next to me stand ppl that got the tickets FREE…I was so angry…

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    • I can understand you being angry! I saw a whole lot of photocopied tickets for Heston’s show that were not actually valid, but the organizers had not told the security company that 🙂

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      • I was at the show and actually learned that it was the organisers who gave away FREE tickets to see James – those photocopied ones – to fill the auditorium since they didn’t manage to sell out tickets! What a sham.

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        • That is not OK, as that means there was no reason to pay for a ticket if they were giving tickets away free of charge 🙂

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  15. Wow Tandy – I must say I was rather excited to read this as I expected you to have an amazing experience! I am so disappointed on your behalf!! And who knows what James even thinks of this “third-world-rate” organisation. So sorry “hugs* – hope you get your money back!!

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    • Thanks Leaine – I am going to do everything I can to make sure I get reimbursed! As you can see from Michelle’s comment I was not the only one who was upset. *hugs* T

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  16. Dear Tandy

    We as the organisers do take your comments and everyone else’s extremely seriously and will be investigating the situation. We will be reverting later on today.

    Kind Regards, Kate

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    • Hi Kate, thank you for getting back to me. I look forward to the successful resolution of my complaint.

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  17. Hi, I am one of the “unfortunate” to have experienced the hands on with James. I was the lady in front that was mocked for the mayo/sponge/ganache………. The equipment was 3rd world to say the least. There were not enought bowls to mix the ingredients, my oven only had a top element and was turned high to compensate, thus leaving a swiss roll over cooked on top and still raw at the base. There was no water for us to drink, like previous years, there were no hand wipes or dish towl to wipe counter tops. NO OVEN MITS to remove hot swiss roll. I did not even have a proper swiss roll pan, we had a the deft drip pan????

    I did the hands on work shop last year November with James. At R1000. we deboned a chicken (fresh, free range) and made a ginger cheese cake and did our own sugar work, and took it home. This year, the cost of the ingredients would not be more than R90 and to top it all my fish was stolen of my plate while I was having my photo taken with James. So value for money, all I have is a photo.

    NOW here is the issue. I was the silly person to pay R850 for a VIP ticket to see Heston at 14H00. The show as advertised as a 40 minutes long and an experience not to be missed. Leaving plenty of time for a book signing and maybe a photo with Heston and then moving over to the Hands on Workshop. This was a joke. The Heston show started at 14H45 and I had to “sneak out” from my highly paid uncomfortable seat to rush to the hands on workshop. R850 for only 20 so minutes of talking………… could have watched him on TV

    I arrived flustered and shaking. Unsure where to enter the stage as James was already there. The MC ripped into me when I entered his domain. I had “highly” paid for this right. Last year James walked to each person and greeted them, not this time, or maybe I miss out on that treat. I could not hear him and also struggled to follow him.

    My cost for the show. James Martin R1500. Enterance 2 x R85., Heston VIP ripoff 2 x R850, Lindt workshop R150. Hotel for the night R820. Airflight tickets R2968. (Mango cheap seats). Car hire from Avis R457 (also a cheapie) Now remember I have not bought any goodies or fed myself or my mother or even bought a cup of coffee.

    BITTER AND OUT OF POCKET
    Michelle

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    • Thank you so much for you response to my blog – I see I am not the only one who feels ripped off! I sincerely hope that you send an email to the organizers about your experience! use this email address: louise@gourmetsa.com – but please note, I have not yet had a response. James did not greet anyone – in fact, he did not look impressed at all and I have a photograph showing that! Seems all in all, your day was not a good one at all!

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  18. Well in true Tandy style I do hope you take this further with the organisers. What a rip off!

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    • thanks Cams, I am still waiting for the organizers to respond!

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  19. I believe you would have a case for a refund under the Consumer Protection act, specifically
    Part H, which confers the right to fair value, good quality and safety. The goods and services which are provided must be safe and fit for the purpose for which they were intended. I don’t believe that the services you received were fit for the purpose for which they were intended.
    Good luck.

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    • thank you so much for that advice Georgina. I am going to give them another day to respond and then start with taking some action 🙂

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  21. I was watching Tandy and really felt for her. I basically had a better view, knew what was going on, and saw everything from the audience. I would not have liked to have been cooking on stage like that. I think Tandy did really well under pressure! It was a bit like a Masterchef pressure test.Compared to other participants I observed you were doing really well. Even James had to keep asking for equipment and ingredients. I hope you get a refund!

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    • Thanks Michael – I did not even know that James did not have everything he needed either 🙂

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  22. Aijaijai. What a disappointment. Very glad I didnt have the money to afford a ticket in the first place. But if I did I would have gone and been disappointed. Sorry to read all this Tandy. Hope the organizers sort it out. I had a bit of problems with organizing the free Indaba tickets as well. Had to keep asking until finally Kate came back to me. I was told to tell everyone that the tickets would be waiting at the VIP media desk but they knew nothing about them, there was no list of winners etc etc. Was it worth it for the sponsorship? I don’t think so. xx

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    • that is so poor! I cannot believe that they think they can get away with such poor service to the very community whose support they need!

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  23. Oh my word, what a horrible experience, Tandy. I would be just livid, too. I hope you get a refund, do persevere. I loathe poor service as a much as you do. Hugs, my friend.

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    • thanks Linda – I am going to make sure they deal with this! Have a super day xxx

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  24. It will be interesting to see the response from the food festival organisers….

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  25. It will be interesting to the the response of the festival organisers

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    • I am waiting to hear from them. They have had my email since 7h36 and still no reply!

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  26. I went to the chefs in action theatre and had VIP ticket to see James and Heston. I was also very upset when I found out that my Heston ticket of R850, did not include a door ticket – but that beside.
    I will say that Heston was very informative and I was very happy with watching him. I wish I could have been closer, as VIP was not was VIP as I expected – there were at least 200 of us. Heston’s show was 20 minutes late and did not have any cooking. I had hoped to see some liquid nitrogen in the act.
    James did a 3 course meal and was very entertaining. I enjoyed this show, as I had better seats. Although, as they had not sold out the VIP tickets they filled the space with the other members of the audience – great deal for them.
    All in all I thought this year was very expensive to see the chefs in action and over priced for the value.
    Having said that I would still pay another R850 to see Heston again. But not James, that was over-priced for the foolery.

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    • I was amazed how many people came to Heston – but I have heard that there were photocopied tickets for his show! The VIP people should have got front row seats. The show ran late as the organizers did not allow time to clear the theatre out and refill it between shows – basically they ran back to back without considering a gap between each ‘act’. At least you could see James’ 3 course meal! But, people who came to watch our master class saw him cooking at no charge! It was expensive indeed 🙂

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  27. Just a thought – have you sent a link to this post to the organisers? I would have thought some sort of compensation was in order. What a disappointment.

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    • Hi Sally, I have sent them an email and a link as I really believe I should be refunded 🙂

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  28. What a miserable disappointment. I hope you feel better having aired your understandable grievances! 🙂

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    • much better just knowing how many people are standing by what I have written 🙂

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  29. I would have been quite annoyed too.
    *hugs*

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    • hugs to you too xxxx

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  30. Tandy, thanks for putting this into perspective – I think it’s really great that you offer such a detailed overview, so that the organiser will (hopefully) be able to start seeing where the GFWS seems to go wrong…

    Having never been to one, I am limited in my commentary, but I can say that I have not felt the need to attend purely based on the negative feedback of previous shows – in particular, people being sorely disappointed by the highly-paid-for celeb chef interactions such as the master classes. It would appear that there is a nasty trend taking place and I think that the organisers would do well to nip it in the bud before next year, as the show just grows and grows!

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    • hopefully they can sort this out before they go on to Durban and Johannesburg! There is a lot of money involved and the right people need to be employed to handle this type of event! Thanks for your comments 🙂

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  31. they are all responsible. if you are the ‘lead’ you also have a responsibility to make sure the whole thing happens.

    it’s poor planning, poor communication and poor leadership.

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    • exactly! But as James was an invited guest (and I assume paid) he had no choice or control over the area in which he cooked!

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  32. WOW! I am sorry but I would have flipped my lid at that sous chef! What a joke! Thats a fair amount of money to spend on disappointment! But you are right, its not really James Martin’s fault nor the BBC, its just about organization!

    My head chef was at Heston and even though he says he was slightly disappointed that he didn’t do a cooking demo, it was very informative and got to ask a lot of questions and learnt a lot from the whole experience.

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    • sounds like Heston was better value for money! All in all, I was so let down by this 🙁

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  33. I am seething on your behalf about this 🙁

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    • thank you for seething with me 🙂

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  34. Oh Tandy, what a huge disappointment and upset right from the get go of Kate’s clear lack of communication and at a huge expense too!
    At least on the up side, you got to meet James Martin AND have your photo taken with him – I am a touch green with envy.
    🙂 Mandy

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    • I spent some time with him in the green room – he on his IPad and me just gazing LOL 🙂

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  35. I’m so sorry to hear how disappointed you were! I was very tempted to go to the Heston show, but when I found out he wouldn’t even be cooking, I didn’t know why they were charging R350 for a “normal” ticket! I hope that the GF&W Show are aware of your experience and will try and reimburse you in some way (although it would seem that it would be the second time!)

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    • I am hearing mixed reports about Heston, but mostly people were inspired by him – and Jonathan Daddia tells me he did cook! The whole show was a shambles.

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  36. Tandy, thank you for sharing this with us. It is such a disappointment that it turned out this way. You paid so much for a master class and it seems it was anything but. I hope that the organisers have realised their mistakes and will plan properly for next time. It makes me sick to think that they took R1500 from each of the “participants” without giving anything in return. This in addition to all the ticket money and everything else.

    Poor James May. I love him and I hope this will not stop him from coming back to South Africa. I see he’s smiling in your first photo. It’s amazing that with all this stress he still manages to handle it smiling.

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    • I have one photograph of him looking so not amused – not sure if I should show the world that, as the conditions were not his to control.

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    • James May is from Top Gear – he would have been lots of fun in a kitchen!

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      • I have not been correcting people – he is a lot of fun 🙂

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