ONE of the perks of being a journalist is being able to talk your way into exclusive events way outside your pay grade.
I was set the task of blagging a ticket for the €350-a-head meal on the opening night of A Cuatro Manos.
‘Confidence is key,’ I told myself as I approached the clipboard-clutching hostess. ‘Laurence from the Olive Press,’ I said. She ran her pen over her list with a growing look of perplexity.
“Your name isn’t on here.”
“How strange,” I replied.
She ushered over a colleague and after a few minutes of Spanish back and forth, I was allowed to enter.
I picked up a glass of congratulatory champagne, only to bump into my editor, Jon Clarke, who informed me I had only got into the pre-event press junket. Still, all good practice I guess.
While much of the Spanish press waited dutifully for the world-famous chefs to come down from the enclosed bar, we muscled our way into their stronghold – or rather, sleuthed in, fully aware that we may have been overstepping the mark.
Through Jon’s broken French we managed to talk to the famous Joel Robuchon, star of the show. “I first came to Marbella three years ago to eat at Dani’s restaurant,” he told us, “and the chefs here just keep getting better and better.”
The French maestro, who has restaurants on four continents, added that he owns a house in Calpe which he adores.
But as I snapped some pics of Jon and Robuchon we were rumbled. As we were ushered out I grabbed an expensive slice of jamon that had been laid out for the chefs – tasty!
Back in the press zone, cocktails were making the rounds. I tried all four of them, for journalistic purposes of course. ‘Hot Lips’ was the house favourite – a creamy tequila concoction with a splash of chilli.
I was soon talking to John Thomson, the Puente Romano’s food and beverages manager, figuring if anyone could it would be him to get me into the banquet.
We chatted about our shared Glaswegian heritage before he gave me a tour of the new bar and Le Suite nightclub. He offered me a free meal at the restaurant and a night out at the club in return for coverage. I was getting there.
But just as my charm was making in-roads, the crowds of paying guests were ushered into the main event, where the host of chefs were preparing 20 courses inspired by Robuchon.
John wished me all the best as he sauntered in for the meal of the decade.
I watched enviously and with the single slice of jamon in my belly headed to a nearby McDonalds where with one key consolation I ate a burger created by… no less than Dani Garcia himself!