Friday, April 7, 2017

That One Time I Accidentally Stalked Top Chef's Jamie Lauren

Back in February, I wiggled my way into a dinner hosted by my good friend Heather for people coming into town for her Lularoe training event.  She told me that she was having it at Blackbird since it was close to the hotel where people were staying.  I had never been to Blackbird so I started my research.

When I go to a restaurant, I want to try the best they have to offer.  I don't want to judge them off an obscure menu item that no one ever orders and I want food that photographs beautifully.  My usual places to check are Instagram then Yelp.  Since I LIVE on Instagram (follow me if you haven't :D ), I went to do some research.  The Blackbird Instagram page didn't have any updated posts so I tapped on their location to see what pictures would pop up.  This is where I get myself into trouble.

I found some awesome food pictures from someone I thought was their chef.  I didn't pay attention to the name.  I check out the food pictures and try to decide what I want to order.  When it came close to the event, I left a comment "I can't wait to try some dishes tomorrow" or something to that effect.  And the chef replies "See you then."  Then I get awkwardly creepy (in true Ashley fashion) and say something like "Will I actually get to see you?"  Wow, I'm embarrassed.  I meant, is it a gallery kitchen or does the chef bring out the food to the table herself... Not, "Hi, I'm a crazy stalker."

But it gets worse.  The night of the event rolls around and we are all there having a great time.  There are drinks, food, friends, and tons of laughter.  Eventually, I excuse myself to use the lady's room.  Upon exiting, I notice a sign by the mirror and cleverly written backwards is the phrase Time for a Selfie.  Well... you don't have to ask me twice!  I'm in the bathroom, taking selfies when someone walks in.  Of course, I'm all embarrassed.

But the darling girl says "No, that's what it's there for" and pulls out her phone and takes a photo with me.  I asked her to text me the phone.  I start chatting with her and discover that she's the chef at the restaurant.  She looked so young that I thought she was a dishwasher or a busser.  I started talking to her wondering if she's the person I've been talking to on Instagram.  Of course, I don't realize until later that she's established Sacramento Chef Carina Lampkin.

Another lady walks into the bathroom.  I look up at her and think, I KNOW her.  How do I know her?  Then I think, OH MY GOSH, she was on Top Chef!  I'm for some reason still in the bathroom chatting.  Of course (because why would I have boundaries) I ask her "Were you on Top Chef?"  And she says "yes."  Then I start talking to her and realize that she's the person I've been talking to on Instagram and now I've CORNERED HER IN A BATHROOM LIKE A CRAZY PERSON.  Yet, I still ask if I can take a picture with her because I still haven't realize how much of a stalker I sound like.  I'm just pumped full of adrenaline in the moment.  She is such a great sport and goes to get Carina so we can get a group photo.

It wasn't until I was walking back up the stairs of the restaurant to join my friends that I reflected back on ALL my actions from the last day.  Then I realized that poor Top Chef Jamie Lauren probably thought I stalked her to the place where she was a guest chef and corned her in the bathroom.  I went back to Instagram and tried to apologize.  I text Carina back and thank her for taking the time to talk to me and for the photo.  And GUESS WHAT?  I was invited back to try more menu items!  She tells me that she and Jamie will cook for me themselves!  I almost fainted.

Here are some of the amazing dishes I got to try and another picture I forced Jamie to take with me:

I've since been invited back a few times to meet about food blogging and social media.  Unfortunately, Jamie had to leave to do other work.  (LOTS of exciting things coming up in her future!) But she left her menu behind at Blackbird and let me tell you, her food is even more amazing than I thought it would be after watching her on Top Chef and Top Chef All Stars.  You gotta try her food!  I felt like I was experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity right here in Sacramento at Blackbird.  

And the moral of the story is that sometimes you are so painfully, awkwardly yourself and people can still see your goodness and your well meaning intentions.  

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  1. What a fun and unexpected night!

  2. I am certain if I every had the chance to stalk a celebrity in the off chance we could meet and snap a photo, I would. I don't care how crazy I appeared.

  3. Wow, this is a great story! What a great experience!

  4. How crazy and so much fun!!!! I'd totally be asking for a pic!!

  5. I for sure would do the same thing...That food looks so amazing!!

  6. Haha, I love that story! It's such a fun way to meet someone, even if I would have died of embarrassment if it had happened ot me (I am super self consciousness and get embarrassed easily).

  7. SO fun and food looks amazing!