Ryan – 10:30 am I message Sara to fix some things for the evening and spread our usual morning dignitaries – last night’s antics, food eaten, bullshit jokes (mine of course), Tinders swiped, etc. I also mention my looming suspicion that my dad might be heading to Milan. “He called me the other day asking for Rebelot’s address for a friend, it just seemed strange. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s done it,” I tell Pozniak (Aka Porro, Pozmeister General and Work Wife) “He once came to London for a big event I was involved in and when told, ‘your name’s not down you’re not coming in’, proceeded to explain that he was my dad and that he must be allowed in. Me, tipsy to say the least, was radioed to the door of the club for an emergency only to find him there grinning away.
Matias Perdomo and Mauricio Zillo.
Sara – 11:30 am Matias Perdomo, chef of the Michelin starred Al Pont de Ferr, calls me on the phone. “Matias,” I say immediately “you’re coming to the party tonight?” “Sure, but that’s not why I’m calling. Ryan’s dad is here, he wants to talk to you”. “Sara” – there he is, Papa King “this needs to come as a total surprise to Ryan. I came from England for the party.” “Your secret is safe with me. Do you need any information about the party?” “I have the address! I just need to know the dress code.”
Sara – 11:35 am I call Jackie to tell her about Ryan’s dad coming to surprise him at the party. “That’s so sweet, I think I’m going to cry,” she replies in perfect Jackie fashion.
Ryan – 05:00 pm The Britishness kicks in and I set off way too early, I arrive and I’m blown away by the room, the screens showing our video created by MPH Studio and everything inside the Accademia Panino Giusto looks great. I start taking pics and practicing my speech which we’ve decided to deliver in Italian. ‘Chiacchierate’ is my hurdle and I’m stumbling every time.
Ryan – 06:00 pm I start to message the girls who are blatantly off somewhere either having cocktails or fixing their faces and from how fixed their faces were when they eventually arrived, I’d say they probably did both. I’ve called my dad in England and been lied to by his good Christian wife, whom, may I add, is a terrible liar. The fact Dad hasn’t called only adds to my suspicions. I phone him and get the international dialling code – the game’s up. The conversation that proceeded was like a complete role reversal in our standing as father and son – I knew he was here but he didn’t think I knew. “What you up to?” I ask. “Not a lot,” he lies. After a few minutes of playing with him I come straight out, “do you need the address for tonight?” “No, I have it.” I imagine him like the kid looking at his shoes, knowing he’s been busted. I joke around with him but I’m super happy he’s coming, I’d actually expected it all along – what I hadn’t expected was the secret plots and hidden plans formed behind my back by my dad and Porro.
Jackie – 6:08 pm Sara and I are putting the finishing touches on our make-up at Casa Porro when we get a “Where you girls at?” text from Ryan. “In a taxi,” I reply.
Ryan – 06:30 pm When Porro does arrive it seems the sneaky antics of the day have done directly to her head in the form of a hairstyle.
Jackie – 6:48 pm Sara, Ryan and I go outside to rehearse our speeches. I read my first bullet point and Sara looks at me as though the Holy Spirit itself had gifted me with tongues. “You read Italian very well!” she says surprised, rubbing salt into my I-don’t-speak-Italian-nearly-as-well-as-I-would-like wound. Once we wrap up, Ryan looks at Sara and asks, “So what time is my dad coming?”
Jackie – 7:05 pm Elisa Pella, of Identità Golose arrives and I’m instantaneously jealous of her adorable reddish-coral and off-white striped dress. I give her a big hug despite the fact that I’m green with envy that I’m not the one wearing that dress.
Ryan – Twas a lovely dress, she actually stopped on the way to the party to buy it after seeing it in a window. On a semi-related note I’m enjoying somewhat of a blossoming bromance with Pella’s significant other, also at the party, Mr Niccolò Vecchia.
Ryan – 07:15 pm Sara tells me we have to start the speeches – I’m calling dad but no answer, Matias Perdomo comes over and starts saying sorry, he thinks he’s accidentally given him the wrong address. This sort of thing happens when you’re happily cooking in your own kitchen and a random English guy comes in asking for details you don’t have, in a language you don’t understand.
Ryan – 07:25 I’m nervous for my speech and seeking guidance, ambling around the room I come across a little girl, she stops, looks me directly in the eye and holds her hands out. She needs a cuddle too I think. I then realise I’m holding a baby I don’t own and start to panic, eventually relieved to see Laurel Evans of Un’Americana in Cucina – the owner of the baby. Phew, inadvertent kidnap averted.
Sara – 7:30 pm People start filling the Accademia del Panino Giusto. I exchange pleasantries and a Champagne toast with every guest entering the room. I am soon tipsy. People compliment us on Sauce Milan. People compliment me on my very elaborate Game-of-Thrones-inspired hairstyle (“It’s very grown-up Sansa Stark”).
Jackie – 7:47 pm While everyone sips on Le Clochard Champagne (thanks, Teseo!), I am nursing a full glass for an hour because I’ve learned the hard way that I’m an exception to the alcohol-helps-you-learn-a-foreign-language rule. My Italian grows worse the more I drink, and I have a speech to make! In Italian! I step outside for some fresh air to calm my pre-speech jitters and have a lovely conversation with Mauricio Zillo, chef of Rebelot, in whom I confide my fear, and his reassuring and encouraging words calm me. Thank you for the pep talk, Mauricio!
Sara – 8 pm MasterChef Judge extraordinaire and personal favorite celebrity Joe Bastianich shows up wearing his signature Borsalino hat. He informs me that he’s about to catch a plane so will only be there for 30 minutes. He drinks some Champagne. He poses for pictures with the fans. He poses for pictures with us. He poses for pictures with the Sauce Milan logo above his head like a halo. He leaves. Short but sweet.
Sara – 8:10 pm Ryan first, then Jackie, read the speeches in Italian. I do my speech and thank everyone. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support. We go back downstairs. Someone tells me that the speeches “had a Google Translate feel to them”. “I wrote those speeches”, I reply coolly. Suddenly, I don’t feel very appreciated anymore.
Ryan – Yes, but everything feels like Google Translate when it’s read like a nervous drunk in a language he doesn’t understand. The support, however, was amazing.
Ryan 08:20 pm Papa King is in the building, he had in fact spent an hour outside Sara’s house after a mix up of address. He’s here now, we hug, smile, I punch him in the arm and we go inside. People seem more interested in my dad than Sauce Milan – I guess without his sperm there’d be no site – a sort of source for the sauce.
Jackie – 8:53pm I haven’t stopped smiling all night. I am on such a high and it isn’t until I feel a hunger pang that I realize I haven’t eaten a thing. Still smiling, I scarf down a satisfying Montagu panino and about eight of the addicting cucumber tuna hors d’oeuvres while talking to the beautiful Laurel Evans, whose new hair color I’m obsessed with.
Sara – 9:05 pm The party is slowing down. Ryan, Jackie and I start to unwind. We even have the time to play a few rounds of favorite party game “Guess who among the guests I had a fling with?.
Ryan 09:07 pm I’m super tired but super happy, it’s just sinking in what we’ve managed to achieve. I want to mark it with something sentimental, a moment for me, Jackie and Sara to always remember. Something really nice but then a tray of paninis strolls by me and I forget. Love you girls.
Jackie & Sara: We love you, too!
Jackie – 9:12 pm I elbow my way through the crowd by the kitchen to snag one of the first cheesecake desserts as they were topped with a special raspberry ginger sauce created in honor of Sauce Milan by Panino Giusto especially for the occasion.
Jackie 9:17 pm With cheesecake dessert in hand, I chat with the charming and vivacious Carlo Spinelli, AKA Doctor Gourmeta. He tries to trick me into using the Italian “C” word – a bad word which I won’t include here, but please do know that it’s different from the bad English “C” word. We have a good laugh, then he teaches me a few different uses for it. Even though he insists that he’s not nice, just honest, I still think he’s nice.
Ryan 09:25 pm I hold court with Paolo Marchi from Identita Golose who seems happy to hear my dad literally ripping the shit out of me. Paolo then gives a big kiss to a super cute little dog and leaves. Thanks for coming.
Sara – 10:00 pm Guests are starting to leave. I take off my high heels and put on flats with a sigh of relief. I go into the Accademia del Panino Giusto kitchen to thank all the staff for their hard work and professionalism (=to look around for leftover cheesecake). In the now semi-empty rooms, just the hard-partying crowd remains. I regroup with Ryan and Jackie: they look happy and exhausted, just like I am. I am overwhelmed by gratitude and I feel on the verge of saying something sappy. So I say: “why don’t we go for a Vodka Martini at Pravda, now?”
Jackie – 10:03 pm On my way to the La Cieca/Pravda after party, I grab a tin Zàini canister from the now depleted stack. There’s no way I wasn’t taking one of those home with me! I proceed out the door, still smiling and still riding my high! I feel overwhelmed (in a good way!) by all the warmth, support, positivity and love. There are no words to articulate my appreciation and gratitude.
Ryan – 10:25 pm Arrive at La Cieca and get a much needed glass of wine – white if you must know. I’m carrying about 12 Zàini tins for people who couldn’t make the party and every girl I try to meet instead falls in love with Papa King, it’s time to call it a night, but what a night it’s been.