Tag Archives: TV chef

Chapter 4 – Sophie & The TV Chef

14 Dec

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Two weeks earlier Sophie had done the one thing she swore she would never do again…. for the third time. She had shagged the talent.

It was the filming of British Kitchen and the presenter Christian, a swaggering cock, was having his make up done by a plump but gorgeous young thing who fell into fits of giggles every time he spoke. The show was due to record very soon and both were oblivious to the bustle on the studio floor. Sophie kissed her friend Jeff (Camera One) on the cheek as she passed.

‘Hey you.’

‘Hey Sophie! Long time no see. Any news on Hip Replacement?’

‘Shit name!’ shouted Tony the grip, grinning.

‘Thank you Tony,’ she smiled, ‘Friday we hope – fancy a break from this?’ she waved across at Christian who was doing some bizarre impression of a boxer to the delight of his audience. Jeff smiled and rolled his eyes.

‘I hope you’ve organised a VIP area for him. He only speaks to make up and you.’

‘I’m afraid we’re in the grips of a double dip recession, everyone has to give something up’ She joked. ‘The coke, the VIP area, the free sports car. Why the fuck are they called sports cars? Anyway, super super super glad you’re coming, babes.’

‘Of course, 100 shows baby!’ Jeff cheered.

‘FIFTEEN MINUTES EVERYONE!’ shouted the fat, grumpy, bald first assistant director who’s shouty-ness made him sound the most efficient on set and yet he was glued to his twitter and facebook feeds the entire time.

Sophie made her way towards Christian who was now explaining the differences between Thai and Balinese massage through a series of semi-erotic strokes across her bare shoulders.

‘Hi Christian,’ Sophie smiled and turned to his prey ‘Hello, I’m Sophie Sturgess.’

‘Hi, I was just finishing’ she blushed.

‘Thank you.’ Sophie waited while she packed her brushes into her case and disappeared beyond the studio floor into the darkness. ‘Is your mic off?’

‘Yep’ He kissed her cheek managing to brush his greasy made up face against hers. ‘How’s tricks lady S?’

‘Fine. I hope you’re coming tonight?’

‘Of course. Though I can’t stay long, I have a dinner at the new Ramsey. Fucking prick that he is. So fucking arrogant – have you ever met him? He ate in Number Eight when I first opened it. You went there, right? He sent his steak back.’ He kept going. Christian didn’t require answers to his questions, for him question asking was about how clever/thoughtful/interested he sounded, it was not about the actual receipt of an answer. But he was handsome, so it was never a drag to sit and watch him talk. Although this close up and with so much make-up and a bib tucked into his collar was wholly unsexy and Sophie was in a hurry.

‘Listen, I need you to come and see me after we wrap. Ian is coming down and wants to speak to you before the party’

‘Not fired I hope?’ he lamely joked.

‘No nothing like that. Good luck, and congrats on number 100. How you do it I’ll never understand.’

‘FIVE MINUTES PEOPLE… FIVE MINUTES PLEEEEASE!’ Shouted the first assistant director guy. He was either about to explode or punch someone.

Sophie headed back across the floor and up towards the gallery, nodding and smiling at the crew she had worked with for so long now. She picked up her pace and took her seat at the back of the gallery to watch the show record when Tom approached.

‘Sophie can we talk?’

‘Not now, sorry, final record.’ She forced a smile.

‘Okay, but maybe after?’ Tom sounded slightly desperate, but Sophie was glued to the monitor as filming began.

‘Sure.’ She smiled without looking up.

British Kitchen was her first solo commission. She had worked so hard on it and poured her heart and soul into it. The format was simple, cooking lessons with pre-recorded inserts from garden markets around the countryside showcasing local, organic, seasonal food. Today was wild mushrooms, Jersey Royals and rhubarb. And although the show was conceived before she met Christian, he had become the heartbeat of the series and the poster boy for British farming. Of course with that came the book deals, the pap snaps of him looking fat or thin or drunk or buying milk and the obligatory celebrity girlfriend who now did her own spin-off line in British cooking for your baby. The cover featured a blonde haired 6 month old in a British Lion t-shirt and at first glance looked a little like a child rearing manifesto for the fascist EDL.

As these things go, the show became bigger than Sophie and less her own, so when the competing broadcaster won the bid for the next season, it felt the right time to say goodbye and pass it on. Of course the fact it went to Channel 6 meant that the budget would be halved and the reach greatly reduced, and Christian’s ego needed to be well managed so he didn’t try to use the opportunity to renegotiate his already eye-wateringly large salary and bonus package.

Christian was holding up a bunch of bright pink rhubarb and going over the various unexplored uses – cleaning pots and pans, hair colour and insecticide to name a few. The rhythm of filming exhausted her and with one loud, ‘That’s a wrap ladies and gentleman’ from fat, bald first assistant director guy, it was over.

She took a quiet moment while everyone high-fived each other. Christian and her smiled across the room – a genuine moment of success for both of them. She had earned this drink. She popped the cork on a bottle of Moet and walked towards the studio floor.

A few hours later she was cross legged on the floor, surrounded by champagne glasses of varying fullness teetering perilously on the edge of utterly, irreversibly hammered.

There was some truly awful club anthem blaring out of the stereo and younger crew members were dancing, the make-up girl was ‘booty-slapping’ in the direction of Jeff. She wondered why she had never asked him out. Jeff couldn’t believe his luck and was trying to pull her in for a kiss every chorus. Was that a chorus? It was hard for Sophie to tell. She hated dance music. Her favourite album was Pet Sounds.

The Gallery director, sound engineer and gaffer were all chain smoking by the fire exit. Someone had put a fag out in the huge Union Jack celebration cake. She sat on the studio floor a drink in hand and tried to steady herself.

‘You’re not that drunk’ She tried to tell herself.

‘It is the 100th show, you’re celebrating, it’s normal’ She reasoned with herself.

She hiccuped and tried to stand.

‘Have some water’ She pleaded with herself, gulping back another mouthful of champagne.

‘Come on you piss head’ bellowed Christian from nowhere as he tried to pull her up. She collapsed into his arms and gave him a sloppy hug.

‘I’m so sorry about all the changes. Hey, didn’t you have a dinner on?’

‘Oh. Yes, I always say that in case the party is shit.’

She stabbed him in the chest with his finger ‘Well, well, well. What a good trick you have there. I’m not going to try to remember all the times you’ve had ‘a dinner on’ over the last few years – but I know it is quite a lot’

She threw her head back and laughed, almost projecting herself across the floor in the process. Christian slipped his arm under her to pull her back.

‘Come on you.’ He took her drink away, ‘You need something a bit more substantial in you.’

She looked up at him and tried a sexy smile, which he seemed vagually grossed-out by. Or was that enchanted. Yes definitely enchanted. She smiled again.

‘Food, I mean.’

‘Oh,’ she giggled, ‘and I thought we were going to have one for the road.’

‘You need another drink?’ He grinned as he led her toward the door. ‘I don’t think so.’

‘When did Ian leave?’ She couldn’t remember if he had left or not.

‘He’s still here’ Christian pointed to Ian and her assistant producer Tom chatting on the darkened set around the kitchen counter.

‘Oh I need to say good-bye.’

‘No you don’t. Trust me.’

She looked back over her shoulder as Christian picked up her jacked and bag. Tom and Ian were very close it seemed, and they shouldn’t be because in theory he should be only reporting in to her. She was confused. She wondered if Tom was complaining about her. It wouldn’t surprise her, she was constantly mean to him. Not that she meant to be. She saw them both look her way and the pang of paranoia intensified.

She turned to Christian.

‘Take me home.’ She purred as best she could. And then hiccuped.

An hour later she was half naked, vomiting in her bath with a married man asleep in her bed. This was her life. Successful by day, drunk by night.

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