Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Food Network Celebrity Encounter

I saw a tweet from Giada De Laurentiis saying that she was going to be in Dallas signing her latest book.  I looked at my schedule and I had to be in Dallas the next day anyway, so I decided to see if I could sneak into the event.

It was Williams Sonoma at the Northpark Mall, about 15 minutes from my hotel, PERFECT.  I called Williams Sonoma to see if I could get a media pass, but I couldn't get through to the right people.  So I bought a book (link below) over the phone to secure my spot in line to meet the new reigning queen of The Food Network.

I arrived about 4 hours early because only a limited number of people would be able to see her.  There was already a line out the building and starting to wrap around the mall.  Since I had already purchased my ticket, the sales lady said I was guaranteed to meet Giada, so, I decided to check out this mall.  It was awesome, I went into the Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Armani stores. 

I arrived back at the Williams Sonoma store to see that the line had nearly TRIPLED!  I took my spot in line and met some awesome fans of Giada's.  I traded stories with the couple behind me.  They have met Chef Robert Irvine, Tyler Florence, and many others.  I told them how I got to see Paula Deen, Terry French, and Debi Mazar the month before.  We stood in line for about 2 hours and I kept everyone updated on Giada's twitter posts.

The Williams Sonoma people started handing out the the books to be signed.  They told everyone that you couldn't take pictures, talk, touch, or really do anything except get your book after she signs it.  I have been in charge of many book signings (some including the Secret Service) and none were as tense as this. 

We get in and I have a plan....  It is my turn now.... What do I do?  I stand back for a second and this is what happens:

(She is handed my book)
Giada: Where is Thomas?
Me: Here.
Giada: You must be Thomas. (I am the only guy in the area)
Me: Yes Ma'am, How are you?
Handlers: says something inaudible to here
(Giada is now signing my book)
Williams Sonoma Lady: Thomas has been here all afternoon to see you.
Me: May I get a quick handshake? (I was really wanting a kiss) (The lady behind takes my picture a this time with my camera)
Giada: (upon hearing that I have been here all day) Thomas, Go home and cook something!
Me: Yes Ma'am!

I take my newly autographed book, grab my camera from the stranger behind me and make way out the door, but I take a few more pics. 

(she is even prettier in person than on TV!)

It was fast, less than 30 seconds, but I know we shared a moment.  I am sure that she spends many a nights wondering who is that Thomas guy.  Why did he want to shake my hand.  Wait, did he touch me when he was told not to?  Was that his camera?  He didn't listen!  Good for him!

That was my experience meeting Giada De Laurentiis, and Giada if you are reading this, please follow me on twitter!  @TeeJayToday and one day I will get to meet you a little more formally because I intend to try out (and win) the Next Food Network Star!

-Thomas (TeeJay Today)