High drama at the final of Gordon Ramsay's TV Show 'The F Word'

PUBLISHED: 02:08 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:44 28 February 2013

Gordon Ramsay in the F Word kitchen

Gordon Ramsay in the F Word kitchen

Lancashire Life cookery editor Philippa James has an eventful time in the TV studio at the F word final

My trip to London to be a judge for the final of the F Word Restaurant of the Year, was certainly eventful!

We were whisked to the restaurant and advised of studio protocol, which included loo visits upon formal request, to ensure continuity of filming, and three runs through of a producer pretending to be Gordon Ramsay, bursting through the doors, in order to acquire enough film footage of us all yelping and whooping him in.

And then we waited and waitedEventually a tiny bread roll arrived; it was at this point that I should have seen the shape of things to come. An hour later, we received our starter; I leaned over trying to identify the waif-sized blobs? Cold, fatty, and pretty nondescript, we all pushed the morsels around, like children trying to hide their broccoli.

The first main course arrived around two hours later, and, although by now famished, it was difficult to enthuse over another stone-cold offering but the lady near me, whose description was that it was like road kill, squished hedgehog, smeared across the plate was, even I feel, a little harsh.

And then, eventually, the second main and, Im convinced, the reason for the winners success was that the production crew were so stunned by my comment, I want the recipe for this for my cookery school. Cameras were immediately thrust before me and I was requested to repeat my enthusiastic outpourings.

What I failed to notice, during around seven hours of filming the meal, was that my sugar levels had crashed, rendering me even dizzier than normal.

We were transported back to our hotel and I recalled having my clothes and handbag with me as we arrived. By the time I awoke in the morning with a flu-bug, which had broken over-night and with a voice sounding like someone crunching over broken glass, they were gone!

Fortunately, in a bizarre mix-up, everything had ended up in another guests room and all was safely returned.

Feeling too ill to eat, I persevered with dextrose tablets; as I drifted back off to sleep, the hotel fire alarm started. Sitting, bolt upright rendered me nauseous and, grabbing a towel to preserve my modesty, I alternately ran from the corridor, back to be sick, in the bathroom while trying to ascertain if we were, in fact, on fire.

After the alarming interruption I now had to run all the way to Euston Station. With the exertion, my sugar levels were diving at a rapid rate and I was close to blacking out. Staff on the train escorted me to a seat, and worryingly brought me a sick bag (never a good look for a television food critic!) and a cup of sweet tea. Arriving back, my sister-in-law, Lynn, picked me up

How was the trip? she enquired. How long have you got! I responded.

If you miss the final programme of The F Word series it is available, online, at www.channel4.com/programmes/4od.

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