Yes, believe your eyes, it is the man himself - Gordon Ramsay has arrived in Singapore to meet the Singtel Hawker Heroes challenge!
Singtel and several food bloggers - myself, Daniel Ang (Daniel’s Food Diary), Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost), Philip Lim (KeropokMan) and Rayner Ng (HisFoodBlog) - asked Chef Ramsay to come and pit his Michelin-star worthy skills against that of Singapore's humble but beloved hawkers.
There was a voting contest to pick the best of the many hawkers to represent Singapore. Singtel was apparently targeting 1 million votes, but the nation has demonstrated its fervor with 2.5 million votes! (Panel above from Hawker Heroes website)
You guys have chosen Mr Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood (319,922 votes), Mdm Foo Kui Lian from Tian Tian Chicken Rice (318,151 votes), and Mr Ryan Koh from 328 Katong Laksa (316,611 votes) as the Top Three hawkers to go up against Gordon Ramsay at the SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge.
Today was the big day. Gordon Ramsay was coming to town. When a culinary celebrity like that makes an appearance, you can be sure of media frenzy. And trust me, there was plenty!
He was coming to Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre first.
To learn about chicken rice!
Oh we were willing to go to great lengths to catch good shots of the famous chef and TV personality.
It was almost surreal when he finally arrived.
Of course the crowd went mad! Gordon was in a very nice mood, and extremely obliging. He signed autographs, took photos with fans and was very friendly.
The scene was overwhelmingly frenetic with hundreds of fans and media all trying to get a piece of him. Some female fans got their dream come true when Gordon posed for joint photos with them.
I realise I'd make a crappy paparazzi photographer. I'm too used to shooting stuff that doesn't move (food, landscapes, temples, plants and gadgets). When you're thrust in with lots of other hungry photographers and videographers, you need to be faster, bolder and anticipate every shot or move before it happens. Sometimes it's shove or be shoved. But it was truly fun and I learned a lot.
Lots of mainstream print and broadcast media there today. He later also gave a press conference at the end of it all.
Sorry the audio is faint - I was far behind and didn't have a mic in. So you might have to strain to hear him above the atmospheric din.
But yes, we did give him the space he needed for his original purpose of coming here.
Under the warm but watchful guidance of Madam Foo, Gordon Ramsay learned about the preparation of chicken rice, and he even tried to chop some steamed chicken.
Here, you can see a bit of it in action.
Catch Gordon Ramsay and the three top hawkers battling it out on Sunday, 7 July 2013, at Newton Food Centre from 6pm onwards. But go early, as I'm sure the legion of fans will show up in droves at this free public event.
You can follow me on Instagram (@Camemberu) to see near live updates on the events on Saturday and Sunday.
All photos above taken using the Canon EOS 6D that Canon Singapore kindly loaned me.