With a great grandfather, grandfather and a father in the business, French chef extraordinaire Anne-Sophie Pic seemed destined to follow the family culinary career path. Growing up in the family three Michelin star restaurant, ‘Maison Pic’ in Valence in southwest France did not initially influence her to stay. She left to pursue management interests in Japan and the US, but, at the age of 23 returned to her ‘passion’. Three months later her father Jacques passed away. The restaurant had also lost its third Michelin star so Anne-Sophie took over the business to win back her ‘dad’s star’.
With no formal training in cooking she successfully regained Maison Pic’s three star status. In 2011 she was won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award in the first year the category was established. Two years earlier she had opened her second restaurant, ‘Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic in Lausanne, Switzerland which was immediately awarded two Michelin stars and in 2012 the Paris-based ‘ La Dame de Pic’ opened winning its first Michelin the following year.
In 2017 Anne-Sophie started ‘La Dame de Pic London’ in the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square, winning it’s first Michelin star this year. While no single dish is attributed to her signature style, she is known for her imaginative approach to combining complex scents and flavours.
I sent this drawing of Anne-Sophie to her London restaurant and it eventually came back signed with a lovely appreciation note, in French of course.
Hungarian-Canadian opera singer Krisztina Szabo made her Covent Garden debut last week in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s latest collaboration, LESSONS IN LOVE AND VIOLENCE at the Royal Opera House. The mezzo-soprano, who has performed extensively in both North America and Europe, appeared as the Angel and Maria in Opera Philadelphia and the Holland Festival’s productions of George and Martin’s previous worldwide hit WRITTEN ON SKIN. After its brief London season, LESSONS will embark on a European tour, including another debut for Krisztina at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. Her style is described as “exemplifying today’s modern singer- vocally versatile, excellent stage prowess, painting vivid character portraits.” Krisztina signed my drawing at the Royal Opera House this week.
Dusseldorf-born professional golfer Sandra Gal began playing the sport at the age of six and competed in her first competitive round at 14. The 6′ tall 33 year-old German turned professional in 2008 after a stellar amateur career and qualified for the LPGA tour on the first attempt. In 2011 she won the Kia Classic and was a member of the successful European Solheim Cup team that same year. Sandra resides in Florida and annually hosts the Sandra Gal Charity Challenge benefiting Volunteers of America. Away from golf she models, paints and plays the violin.
I sent this sketch to Sandra during the 2017 British Women’s Golf Open at the Kingsbarnes Links in Fife, Scotland, which she signed and dedicated for me.
“Whirlwind Turner tribute leaves you breathless. Phyllida Lloyd’s musical is a heady celebration of triumphs over adversity, with an astonishing turn by Adrienne Warren,” wrote Michael Billington in his four-star review of TINA:THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, which opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre with its World Premiere last month.
Matt Wolf in the New York Times said, ” She sings with the feral, unchanged yearning that does the show’s namesake proud.”
The 31 year-old American actress, singer and dancer was hand picked by Tina herself to make her West End debut, although she is well-known Stateside. Adrienne first performed on Broadway in BRING IT ON at the St James Theatre in 2012 before earning a Tony nomination for… wait for it, SHUFFLE ALONG OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWS at the Music Box Theatre.
Her screen appearances include the hit TV show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Rarely off stage in TINA, her performance as the Motown legend in the new ‘jukebox juggernaut’ had the critics searching for superlatives, but Ann Treneman of the Times said “simply the best.” Adrienne signed my sketch at the Aldwych Theatre last week.
Earlier this year I was fortunate to see the London revival of David Mamet’s GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS at the Playhouse Theatre with an outstanding cast lead by Christian Slater. All of them signed sketches I did and have previously posted, except this one of Oliver Ryan… until now. Synonymous with the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2009, the Welsh actor has played many of the Bard’s memorable characters, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Benvolio, Malcolm and Oswald on the UK and New York stages.
In David Mamet’s most famous and Pulitzer Prize winning play about testosterone-raddled real estate agents and the ‘excavation of the desperation that lies under the alpha male ego’, Oliver is Baylen, the police detective who spends most of the Second Act offstage in a back office interrogating the salesmen about their knowledge of a break-in. While he makes brief appearances on stage, his ‘presence’ increases the tension during the act as he seeks to find the culprit and make an arrest.
Oliver signed my sketch along with the rest of the cast at the stage door in January.
‘The Queen of Cakes’, Mary Berry is a British TV institution. The 81 year-old presenter and writer, who trained in France at the Le Cordon Bleu School sixty years ago, is also a reluctant ‘style icon’. As the Huffington Post said she is “loved for many reasons, her collection of brilliant jackets is just one of them.”
During Mary’s seven seasons on the BBC’s hit culinary show THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, viewers got to see the full range. For example, a stork-print bomber from Marks & Spencers sent social media into a spiral in 2014 and the jacket sold out before the show finished at 9 pm. Mary has written 75 cooking books, including the 2009 bestseller ‘Baking Bible’ and last year she won a British Television Award as Best TV Judge.
I sent this sketch to Mary, which she returned, signed and dedicated.
Distinguished British actor Edward Fox has returned to the London stage this month alongside his son Freddie in Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND at the Vaudeville Theatre, in what the Independent’s Paul Taylor called a “delicious double act.”
The 81 year-old’s screen career includes many of the classic films, GHANDI (1982), NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983), THE DRESSER (1983), THE GO-BETWEEN (1971) and A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977), the latter two earning him Supporting Actor BAFTA Awards. However it is his role as the professional assassin known as ‘Jackal’, hired to kill French President Charles de Gaulle in the Summer of 1963 in Fred Zinnemann’s THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) that is one of my favourites.
I drew this sketch, which Edward signed for me on Saturday at the Vaudeville stage door prior to the matinee. Light spring rain was falling and a large group of fans were also waiting for his graph, so he politely asked if it was ok to just sign his name and not dedicate, which was perfectly fine with me.
Itzhak Perlman is the epitome of the word legend. I know I use it often, and have been very fortunate to spend brief moments with a few who have kindly reciprocated by signing one of my scribbles. But Itzhak is undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin – the world’s greatest living exponent of the instrument. The 71 year-old Israeli-American
has won 15 Grammy and four Emmy Awards among countless other accolades.
When I found out he was doing a one-off appearance in London to conduct the Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus at the Royal Festival Hall last Sunday I immediately put pencil to paper and did this montage sketch, which he signed and dedicated. It’s one of my prize possessions.