Without sounding too cliched and patronising, that was how I felt on Tuesday night at the first Hotel Catey awards dinner down in London. I had been nominated for an award in the Food and Beverage service category, so I was down in the big smoke for a swanky dinner at a posh hotel with the better half in tow. After a few dramas trying to secure a room for the night (turns out London is fully booked this week with World Travel Market going on at Excell) we had managed to get a room organised at the Hilton Metropole on Edgeware Road. I got dressed up in my kilt, the wife looked fabulous in a black cocktail dress and we set off to meet Penta at the Hilton Park Lane where the Awards were being held in the Grand Ballroom. There were more than 600 people there, packed like sardines into the foyer slurping on Taittinger Champagne until the troupe of toastmasters called us through to dinner. After a lovely dinner the entertainment started with a Two Ronnies style newsketch with David Morgan-Hewitt from the Goring and Peter Hancock of Pride of Britain. They were very funny, although the joke about JWS seemed to fall a bit flat. After a short comfort break, Ardal o'Hanlon came on to compere the evening.
When it came to my category, my stomach was turning somersaults, i didnt expect to win, lets face it John Campbell got his second star this year, but I was still nervous. In the end I was right about who won, but Im happy that I got through to the last four. Worrying over it was time to get pished!! Which we did remarkable well actually, I dont have much recollection of the end of the evening, although I do remember chatting to Andrew Mackenzie of the Vineyard at Stockcross and Johnnie Walker, ex Andrew Fairlies and now the head wine buyer for the Malmaison Group. We even bumped into Justin Llewelyn, Mr Taittinger who is always good for a laugh.
I had a great time and am grateful to all those who put me forward and endorsed my nomination. And in the words of Mrs B, my hovercraft is indeed full of eels.