Before I begin this week’s blog, let me start by stating that I do not possess a competitive bone in my body- however I am married to a very dear man, who in his latest tweet, Raymond Blanc describes as being “the most sexy Frenchman export ever”…….well who am I to disagree with Raymond Blanc! But Gerard is also enormously disciplined, passionate and driven and loves the involvement in competitions, be it as a candidate or a judge with a zealous relish……. I have to admit to being completely puzzled by his love of the stress, the adrenaline rush and the need to put himself through such torture……. When I watched from the sidelines for all those many months whilst he prepared for the recent world championship in Chile, I could only wonder in awe at why he and all his fellow competitors put themselves through it, but of course it is because they love the camaraderie, the “thrill of the chase”, the sense of victory and the feeling that they have achieved something amazing.
Gerard is a self confessed perfectionist- it makes him difficult to live with at times, but also an inspiring partner who never accepts second best and this spurs others on to reach deep inside of themselves and attain that “extra mile”. As a competitor, whilst preparing for his most recent challenge he surrounded himself with a team of professionals who were second to none in their commitment, experience and expertise. Two of the main team were past protégées of Gerard who are also great friends of ours and who we have an enormous amount of respect for, as both have forged highly successful careers in their chosen fields. (Thank you both, Xavier and Dimitri). Vincent, another protégée and friend also gave generously of his time to help Gerard with tastings and scenarios, so thank you too. Another team member is a corporate high flyer, who left the corporate world behind to mentor, coach and nurture stressed executives with great success and who coached and mentored Gerard to success too, (Thank you Nick) and there was Becky, without whom Gerard would have been lost- she dovetailed perfectly with the rest of the team’s skills and managed in a very short time, to really understand Gerard’s psyche and got right to the root of what makes him tick, and understood him and his personality so completely that she was able to put him on absolutely the right path and follow the direction which ensured that this time he was a winner. Many other people helped, including the TerraVina team and friends and colleagues in the restaurant and wine world, who advised and offered enormous amounts of support along the way, but none more so than this star rated, main, “A” team- I personally owe them a huge thank you too as without them I would not have been able to live with my hugely talented, stressed and remarkable husband; but these traits make him very special and very dear and whilst living with a perfectionist is certainly sometimes fraught with frustrations, I wouldn’t change anything about him for the world as he is very special and a true Champion!