Michael J. Darracott is a head chef turned author. But, above that, he is a loving husband to his wife, Kim, and a caring father to his three children. He once had the opportunity to meet Justin Hayward and to have a one-on-one conversation with him. Michael offered to share this encounter with us.|
My name is Michael John Darracott. I am the Cornish born author of Proper Cornish Childhood. Before I became an author, I was a head chef at the "Trewartha House" old people's home in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
I had a great time working in that establishment, a very happy place to work in, and indeed to have one's loved one to stay. It was around the mid-eighties that I was told that Justin Hayward was coming to a fete we were holding. His Grandmother was staying at the home.
I was well excited, I mean, this guy had been a hero of mine for an age, and I had played most of his great songs on my own guitar, and he was about to be right where I worked. So I set about making him a special Battenberg cake, not a four square conventional one, but a sixteen square one. I recall this event was a fundraiser for the home, and that also having Justin there was good for publicity.
On the big day, Justin came into my kitchen to shake my hand, and it was then I told him about the Battenberg cake, that I had baked specially for him; thankfully he said that he loved Battenberg cake, so no more panic for me! I was of course very busy, but Justin asked me to join him at his table in the home's garden, so I went outside with him and sat down. I told him that I loved his music, and that my favourite was Nights in White Satin. He said, "Thanks." I asked him a little about different chord changes, and he said they were simple chords really.
He ate a load of the cake I made him. It was a very sunny day. He was dressed in white trousers and white jacket, with a black tie on, and he, as today, looked every bit the star he his. Very easy to get along with, you get no sense of him being large about the fact of him being famous, a really great guy in every way. He said that he really enjoyed the cake I had made, which made me so happy.
He asked me what my passion was, and I said my wife Kim and my children, and playing my guitar, and of course being a chef. We spoke for over an hour, and it was a very special moment for me, and it still is to this day.