Saturday, 7 May 2011

Bitter taste

I appreciate that you can’t just give your products away. With my family vineyard you can imagine that we are inundated with requests for wine. All sorts of wonderful requests almost daily come in for samples and donations. We often can’t help or truthfully we’d be out of business, but we say no nicely. We wish them luck and hope they do well.
I decided that along my adventure that I would promote people I admire Other authors, artisan bakers, fairtrade vanilla, organic chocolate from sustainable sources and local British food. I am a firm believer that you go through life just once and along your way you can share and encourage others.
Good people, kind people, hard working talented generous and passionate people - my journey is shared. I delight in lovely products and people.
So full of enthusiasm and courage of my conviction I selected a few people to ask to sponsor some key ingredients. This was it. I was going to speak to a chap was being promoted as a seriously ethical fabulous British bloke. I held my breath and dialled the number. The phone rang. This in itself was an adventure,he’d been on TV and was rather famous!
It was him .. how amazing ! I explained that I was full of admiration, That I used his products already and I'd just handed in my notice to follow my dream to write a recipe book and would he consider sending me some samples that I could use to develop some of the recipes. .... There was a stony science.
“… so what you are telling me is that you are actually an unemployed housewife writing a few recipes and you want me to send you some free stuff?”
I am nervous now. Gosh this wasn’t going very well at all. “ Well .. actually I am writing a recipe book and I was hoping you might consider sponsoring this ingredient. I’d only need a few samples and an acknowledged support and I think it might be great PR for you.” I am stuttering a little, but I brave it. My skin in prickling and I want him to say something to undo this uneasy feeling.
I go on.
“I could promote you on twitter and my blog and by using your product people will see your product though me using them in my recipes.”
Now he is practically shouting. His response punctuated with F’s
I don’t need to give you or anyone my product. Not to you or all the other 100’s people who are after free stuff. I mean who are you exactly? Let me tell you. You are no one. You are not even published. I have my own recipe books.. so why would I want you to use my products exactly ? If you want my products they go the supermarket and buy them. I’ve got more important things to do that talk to people after free stuff like you. Click.
Slap. It felt like a slap, hard right across my face. I am red. Heat in my face. It is worse as it was so unexpected this verbal slap from a scornful angry aggressive man. My eyes welled up. I am looking the phone as though it would change what I heard. I will not cry. I will not cry I will not. My tears ignored me and rolled down my cheeks anyway.
So this is how people would now to see me? An unemployed housewife writing a few recipes wanting free stuff? I feel humiliated.
I saw this person yesterday and waited until there was no one about so I could speak to him. I told him quietly and calmly that his response to me a year ago was not only unkind, but that it is completely unnecessary to be so rude to people. I am this person who phoned you. It is me who you were rude to and reduced to tears. Perhaps, I thought, it would dawn on him this voice at then end of the phone that he belittled was a person. A real person, me, with feelings. Perhaps he will say it was all a bad day and he didn't mean those harsh words.
Oh he said .. so you’ve come to gloat then was his response. He is not quite as aggressive in real life as he was on the phone, but there are people around to temper him.
No no no. This was simply not what I meant at all. I just meant that there are nicer ways to say we don’t do samples or sponsorship right now. I meant for him to see. I am not anonymous or indeed a desperate nobody after a freebie. I am simply not the type of person who feels the need to rub in a person’s bad decisions. He can't see me because he is an angry man. My kindness is invisible because nobody has been kind to him. It then dawned on me. He is unloved. Poor man. Poor sad man. No wonder he is angry and hurtful. I suddenly felt sorry for him. What a terrible thing. His life is not really delicious at all. Where is his joy? Where is his love? Where is the laughter, kindness and delight in his life? Poor chap.
What a bitter way to see the world.


  1. Name him. Share it with us so we can make our own decision about whether to support his empire.
    What goes around comes around...

  2. That is shocking. You're a bigger person than I am Vanessa, if I were in your shoes I'm certain I'd be naming him. He might be unloved, but that doesn't mean he can be a rude prat. Ooh that makes my blood boil!!

  3. Oh my gosh, how awfully he treated you!!
    My first thoughts as I was reading this were that it says so much about his sad, angry little life.
    There is no excuse to talk to people that way, none at all.

  4. Blimey, you had me worried there V, I thought it was someone important! But alas, no.

  5. I'm sorry, Vanessa, but what a tosser. Apologies for cussing on your blog but manners cost nothing. His attitude stinks and I'm so sorry you were upset. Most foodie people are lovely x

  6. There are ways to say things, he clearly doesn't have them. I was brout up in a way, that if you cn not say anything nice, then don't say anything at all.

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  9. Hi Vanessa ...if it's the person I think it is, then I saw one of his books at our local remainder store just this morning...these people should remember that kindness & encouragement cost nothing. You don't need him. Prat! X

  10. For crying out loud. I admire you so much for what you have done and are doing. I wish I had the courage to do the same, I truly do. If he can't see your courage for what it is, then his loss. Screw him (sorry). You're too kind feeling sorry for him. It makes me angry when people can't use what they have to spread a little kindness, joy and help to others. Name and shame I say. Otherwise, we'll go on supporting this person without realising. x

  11. There are lots of very lovely and indignant comments here and on twitter. I won't name him. I wanted to share the experience. It was more the tone with which he spoke rather than just the words alson that upset me... but I am too ladylike to get into an open spat. He's not worth it.

    Secondly. I really felt sorry for him in the end. Fancy seeing an offer of Real admiration as a freeloader. How sad not to see the kindness in someone and how awful that he felt the need to be so horrid.

    It really is sad for him to see life is such a way. Everyone deserves to be spoken to respectfully and with grace. I imagine people have not been kind to him in his past and he can not recognise something nice right in front of his nose.

    I hope he learns that most people are really lovely.


  12. May 2011 at 19:36

    Ok.. I can just imagine how you feel, We are somtimes a little bit in love with our fav chefs. Please tell me its not Hugh F-W or Valentine Warner.

  13. I wish I had such grace - good for you

  14. No No he is not a chef. No. Just someone who makes a product. It's in fact a good product. It's just made by a very rude man.

  15. May 2011 at 07:26

    I'm now thinkg it's a chocolate related product?

  16. Vanessa - this reminds me of the moment in Pretty Woman when she goes back into the shop carrying all her bags and says "Remember when you wouldn't serve me? Big mistake. Huge." This person will always be rude, probably for the rest of their life, but you went back and showed them that you are going places and that they lost out by being so rude. They'll certainly remember that. Good on you for going back. It doesn't cost anythng to be kind but in the longer run it will cost that person being rude.

  17. I respect you for not going to him to gloat, and I think people like that make you stronger. Congratulations on your success, people like you deserve it :) Chefs like those may be big on TV, but in real life, with personalities like that, who would want to admire them?

  18. I love Fabulicious Food's comment - just what I was thinking! Good for you for standing up for yourself. His star will be on the descent one day and yours will be shining bright. Do not give him another thought. Off to order your book :D

  19. What a dinosaur. I bet tons of people know he's horrible whereas you have tons of people who know you're lovely. Xx

  20. Wonderful, thanks for share all your efforts, actually I'm single and I plan to be like this forever haha (I'm a men) i like to cook and do sports, usually i work every from monday to friday, usually i do climbing, running, play nintendo wii, cook clean a lot of things you know, but I'm a little lazy to make up something original to cook.

  21. I came back to this post via your link on the Ndali Vanilla post. I don't do revenge either, but I have bitten back tears of shame and anger and had assumptions made about me that were hurtful and wrong. So pleased to see how far you have come :) And I think I know who he is too, and if I am right he is indeed rather a sad person.


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.