I’ve been invited to one of the Grammy gifting suites (who doesn’t love free goodies) on behalf of Focus on Style, which I’ll do my best to get to, but business has been booming, and keeping new recipes, menus, and these blog posts coming for my Personal Chef Approach™ members always comes before having a lark. People usually remember where they were when horrible things like assassinations happened, but I have equally vivd memories of when Duran Duran won their two Grammy’s.
The year was 1984, and the band were on the American leg of their Sing Blue Silver tour playing sold out arenas everywhere. Having seen so many shows that I could mimic what every band member was doing on stage at any given time from the dressing room (without watching) I was anxious to get back to work, so I’d just flown into Los Angeles to sign with a new model agent.
I checked into my favorite hotel, The Beverly Wilshire Hotel where they later filmed Pretty Woman. The stay got off to a rocky start with my ex when my friend Angelo Di Biase introduced me to photographer Peter Beard who happened to be staying just a few doors down the hall from me. Angelo and Peter were pretty heavy partiers, and before I knew what hit me I was trying to keep up – sipping vodka and chain smoking in Peter’s bathroom while Angelo did my hair and make-up to shoot test shots for my portfolio with one of the top photographers in the world!
It was midnight by the time Angelo put the finishing touches to my hair. Much to everyone’s dismay (and my intense embarrassment) the combination of nerves, alcohol, and hairspray made me sick, and we had to start all over again. It was 2:00AM before we started shooting back in my room. Nick called from the east coast, and was annoyed when he heard male voices in the background.
“Whose there with you”, he demanded. “It’s Angelo – he introduced me to Peter Beard, and we’re doing test shots”, I replied trying to placate Nick while not losing still more face with the guys. “Yeah, and I’m the Queen of England,” Nick shouted as he slammed the phone down. Since I still couldn’t believe my own luck shooting with PB, I couldn’t blame Nick for jumping to conclusions either, but all was perfectly innocent and resulted in some of my favorite photos ever. Nick gave me the cold shoulder for 24 hours after that, but luckily the Grammy’s were just one day away.
What musician doesn’t dream of attending the Grammy’s let alone winning, so Nick was not in a great mood to begin with – Duran Duran had been nominated for best short form video with Girls on Film and Hungry Like the Wolf, plus best long form video, and the guys couldn’t attend due to their tour schedule. I was disappointed too – it all seemed so glamorous from the outside looking in. The actual reality, not so much, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
After a long day of go-sees (model agencies send you out to meet photographers and editors that will hopefully book you on jobs), I lonesomely returned to my hotel room. I tried to reach Nick to wish him luck, but it was 3 hours ahead on the east coast he had already left for his gig. I ordered a cheeseburger without the bun, green beans in place of the fries, and a bottle of Crystal Rose to watch the show alone. When it came time to announce the nominations for their category – I blasted the volume and watched with my heart racing, ready to pop the cork on the Champagne (which I fully intended to do win or lose, but hoped it would be to celebrate).
Screaming at the top of my lungs, “YES! THEY WON! THEY WON! – the phone rang on cue. Fully expecting to hear Nick’s elated voice the other end, I was instead greeted with a very stern man admonishing me, “madame guests are complaining about the party you are throwing in your room.” I apologized for being too loud, “No, I’m alone, I just got carried away because my fiancé just won two Grammy’s!” When the manager actually came to my room to see if I was telling the truth – I offered him a glass of Champagne to avoid being turfed out. An ecstatic Nick called moments later to share the moment “ET phone home” style, and all was forgiven.
Two years later, Nick was invited to present Michael Jackson with an award, so we finally got to attend a Grammy ceremony. Heavily pregnant with Tatjana, sitting alone in uncomfortable seats for hours at the Shrine auditorium, twisted like a pretzel to avoid running to the loo and having a seat filler take my place for fear I would miss Nick’s big moment (you can’t go back to your seat until they take another commercial break), I decided that being in the audience was not all it was cracked up to be. Although, I did love meeting legendary big band leader Benny Goodman and his lovely wife who sat next to me, and wanted to feel Tatjana kicking to the beat of the music in my belly. I also got to see Whitney Houston’s first Grammy appearance, and remember gasping over her phenomenal talent during the rehearsals, and hanging out with Whoopi Goldberg at the after party was a blast as well.
I’m glad I got to experience it once, but I’m more than content cheering on The Roving Stove‘s Grammy winning clients with friends from the comfort of my own home today. I may be sipping Evian instead of Crystal Champagne, but at least I can scream with excitement when they perform and win without being evicted from my digs. This year I’ll be making my favorite burgers ever …
Younkers Rarebit Burger
(compliments of Holiday Celebrations with Recipes from Younkers)
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
4 ounces sharp American cheese, shredded (I used sharp cheddar)
8 hamburger patties
8 hamburger buns, toasted
1). Place oil in a medium saucepan. Stir together flour, paprika, salt and dry mustard. Add flour mixture to oil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat; stir in Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Makes 2 cups.
2). To make Younkers’ popular Rarebit Burgers, cook 8 hamburger patties to 170° F or until no pink remains. Place each burger on a toasted hamburger bun. Spoon about 1/4 cup Rarebit Sauce over each bun. Serve immediately.
This was traditionally served with french fries, but I substitute green beans to cut down on the calories.