Ozzie’s

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Things have been going pretty smoothly since I last wrote. David is feeling good, and the kids just finished up school for the year.

David got a chance to go hang out with the chefs at Ozzie’s Restaurant today. It is part of the Great American Restaurant Group in Northern VA. Their executive Chef, Chris Osborn, gave David a day he won’t soon forget! We’ve always loved their food, but their hospitality was way above and beyond anything we could have expected.

David’s dad drove him up, so I got the report second hand, but his enthusiasm hadn’t diminished. If you are in NoVA, you should try out one of their great locations. You won’t be disappointed!

Make A Wish – Part 2

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I think I left off with our team running into trouble. We were having a good time, but it did seem that other tables were further along in the dining process than we were. We had just started noticing the discrepancy when the show producer, Hayden, came up and told us he was going to give us a backstage tour.

We followed Hayden behind the scenes to see where the cameras “hide” during filming. It was pretty cool. We happened to be back there when Chef Ramsay called a couple of the contestants to task. He wants nothing but the best, and has no patience for people who aren’t performing at their top ability. At one point in the evening, I asked David if that’s really the kind of environment he wants to work in, and his eyes lit up. “Oh yeah!” he replied.

Hayden also took us back to see where the crew work on the show’s production. Austin really liked the use of black lights and glow tape! We didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on that stuff, though, before we were back out front and being served our meal. Because of the delay, they made some extra food for us. Everything was quite good, and we were happy to try out some extra dishes. I’d love to go into more detail, but we can’t really say anything about what happened on the show, so you’ll just have to watch and find out! (Our episode won’t air until next season, but watch now anyway… it’s great fun!)

At the end of the meal, they escorted both Make-A-Wish families up to a waiting room. After just a few minutes, Chef Ramsay appeared. He was very engaging with both kids and made sure they had a chance to ask all of their questions. He told them a few stories and gave some advice on the culinary world. In case you are wondering, he seemed to think that an internship was a great way to learn about cooking, and encouraged David to travel a lot and learn Spanish, Italian or French. David told him that he had taken Latin, and the producer Hayden pointed out that it was the basis for the other languages. Thanks for the save, Hayden!

We felt that Chef Ramsay was very generous with hosting us at the restaurant, and that he was especially nice to spend some quality time with the kids after the show. He is a very enthusiastic guy, and his zest for life gave the room a boost of energy.

Chef Ramsay signed a few books for David, so I’m sure he’ll be showing those off this summer. We are still waiting for permission from Make-A-Wish to post photos, but we will put those up on Facebook as soon as we are allowed.

The limo took us back to the hotel, and the kids immediately sent texts to friends to let them know what a cool time they had. That was the end of our California visit. We all flew out the next day, but we are so thankful for the experience that Make-A-Wish provided.

Make A Wish – Part One

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The much anticipated Make-A-Wish meeting with Gordon Ramsay happened yesterday. There are so many things to say about the day, but I’ll address the most asked question first: What was Gordon Ramsay like? He was AWESOME!  So nice and gracious! I’m an even bigger fan now than I was before!

Now I’ll back up and tell you the whole story…

Things progress with Make-A-Wish at a very mysterious pace. We didn’t know any real details about David’s wish until the afternoon on the day before the wish. We were told to dress nicely and that our MAW rep would meet us at the hotel at 2:30 pm. They also told us that there would be a second MAW family going to meet Chef Ramsay.

David’s Make-A-Wish day was also Austin’s 16th birthday, so we had a lot to celebrate. Mark and Susan took the kids into Hollywood to see the walk of fame. David said his hands aren’t quite as big as Leonard Nimoy’s prints outside the Chinese Theater. After the morning outing, Mark and David went back to the hotel room so David could rest, and Susan took Kelly & Austin shopping.

While they were all busy, I checked out a local restaurant, Urth Caffe, and went to the bookstore to pick up a couple of Chef Ramsay’s books for David. I happened across a taping of the tv show “Extra” and got to see Mario Lopez. He’s just as cute in person as he is on tv.

We all met downstairs at the hotel at the appointed time, and our MAW rep, Susie, filled us in on the details. We were to arrive at the studio of Hell’s Kitchen and be in the audience for a taping. David and Hayden (the other MAW kid) would get to meet Chef Ramsay, but they didn’t know if it would be before or after the taping. Also no world on who might get to go in with David to meet the Chef. (I should stop here and note that Susan didn’t accompany us on the Hell’s Kitchen outing because only two adults could be included. Even though Mark, both girls and I went to Hell’s Kitchen with David, we still didn’t know if anyone other than one parent would be able to meet Chef Ramsay.)

They had arranged for two limos – one for us and one for Hayden’s family. Susie rode with us on the way to the show, and she pointed out some sights along the way. The first thing we saw when we arrived were the Hell’s Kitchen SUVs. Then we came around the corner and saw the very impressive front of the “restaurant”. It looks like a restaurant, but it is really a tv set turned into a restaurant. Not sure if that makes sense… picture one of those large movie set buildings, and in the middle, they have turned a section into a restaurant. On the outside, and as you enter, it looks like a restaurant in that middle portion of the building, but like any set, you can go beyond a certain point (in this case through doors) and you are behind the scenes.

They have a check-in process in which they took our pictures and then took our stuff… cell phones, cameras, bottles of water… anything that you wouldn’t normally carry into a restaurant. The cell phones were taken so that we couldn’t document anything about the show or what happened.

After handing over our stuff, they took us outside the restaurant to wait in a line with the other patrons. We were toward the back of the line, but were pleasantly surprised when they led us to a table in the second row back from the kitchen. We had an excellent view of Chef Ramsay as he worked with the teams who were making our dinner.

We were having a good time, but our team was running into some trouble. That’s all the time I have for now! I’m boarding my plane for home, so I will have to finish this update later. Sorry to leave you hanging! I’ll update more this afternoon.

Make A Wish

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We flew to LA on May 30th to acclimate for David’s meet & greet with Gordon Ramsay. They plan an extra “down” day fir the child to adjust to the time zone. Mark took the kids (David, Austin, and their step sister, Kelly) and Susan to Knott’s Berry Farm. David has been cleared for roller coasters, and so they had a full day of rides.

I spent most of my day alone, but caught up with a friend (via phone) that really needed to talk and then shopped for birthday presents for Austin. I went all over – from Santa Monica to Burbank – and saw lots of LA that I had never seen before. I ended up at this place called “It’s a Wrap” that sells clothes used on movie and tv sets. It was a pretty cool place, and I got Austin a bracelet from “The Ghost Whisperer” and a shirt from “CSI: NY”.

Make a Wish finally called in the afternoon and confirmed times for today – we meet at 2:00pm for the ride over. We will be there during a taping of Hell’s Kitchen.

Mark called after that and said I could go to dinner with them if I wanted to. It was very nice to be able to share in part of the birthday celebration for Austin.

Looking forward to David meeting Chef Ramsay today!