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ANECDOTE 005: May 25, 2006 [listen]
Shaking Hands with a Chef

In the living room, me, sitting in full view, on the morning day of Christmas, my sweetheart gave to me, a gift certificate. A gift certificate? A gift certificate to shake hands with a chef.

"Do you know what this means," I wondered to my spouse.


"Yes, I do," she replied as she did when affirming our vows.


My body jolted in the chair, then quaked upright to a stance. Disturbed, I trembled while walking down the hall to the bathroom. My sweetheart, with son in tow, followed me.


She inquired, "Why, what's the matter?"

Sitting on the throne, holding the certificate at each end, I looked at her and said, "This is the best Christmas gift have ever received." The tears welled in my eyes.

Triste merde.

"I read about the Chef in the newspaper. You'll have to schedule the date," she said without reservation. "Otherwise, everything is taken care of." A wry smile. "You'll be going alone. I want you to have this experience."

The tears began streaming down my face.

Amour merde!

"I'll see you later. We have company," she reminded me as she patted our son on his back while on her way to the living room.

Deux merde!!

I sat on the throne, wheezing, silently wiping away the tears.

Merde, merde, merde!!!


Some months later, I went to the hotel to shake hands with the Chef. The lobby was sleek, lined botanically with polished granite, which held grandly stemmed petals.

Preferring to climb the plushy carpeted, gold-railed stairway as opposed to riding the escalator or elevator, I ascended to the receptionist's station. Unbeknownst to me, the Chef was waiting with the gatekeeper.

"You are welcome here," he greeted gnashingly.

"Oh my… Thank you," I replied with trepidation. I continued, thinking to myself, "And with no questions asked.

"You will join the others," directed the Chef.

The gatekeeper removed my coat. "Right this way, sir."

I was escorted to an anteroom to wait with the others who had already shaken hands with the Chef. All were calm, cool and collected. Fate sealed, we acknowledged our existence, not with a tall tale of how we got here, or even why, just a simple story of receiving a gift from…."

The Chef entered the room just before we all began to pry. His presence preceded him, as we were all alert as he set foot and stood firm.

"Let's begin with a brief excursion to a Shoppe, then a tour of the kitchen, and then we will sit and have a midday supper, which will consist of…."

His enunciation was greater than his words. Beguiled, we were going to follow him, livingly or not--no questions asked.

The Shoppe was an exquisite appetizer to prepare us for the supper. Our group of twelve was ushered to a glass case. Right before our eyes, revealed, a divine beef resting with the ready-made, the over-the-counter stock affordable for the everyday consumer.

No price, no tag.

"Just taste the difference," we were advised.

We did, and practically genuflected: knees buckling by less than a sliver, no more!

"Now," exclaimed the Chef, "now we go back to the kitchen!!!"


The kitchen, hellishly immaculate with stations, was attended by skilled concocters reveling in their laboratory exploits, revealing their beatific passion for food preparation a la Chef, relating their sanguinity for the meal our group was about to share.


At a table of four, grumpy introductions were politely mouthed. I sat with a burgeoning couple who were preparing to take pilgrimage to Peru, and a single practitioner who also happened to be a nurse. We were all curious as to the courses the Chef had planned.

"I'm looking with great anticipation," I confessed closed-mouthed. "I have an appetite," I grumbled internally.

Agonized, I disbelieved.


The first course was placed before us-a salmon salad. The salmon was cured, diced into several centimeter squares, and dispersed neatly amongst the petite greens sparsely covering the plate that had a circumference smaller than my balled fist.

Closed-handed, I took the first bite. With one centimeter and petite, my body jolted and quaked. Trembling, my tongue began to converse. A miracle!

"An apparition," I orated openmouthed. "I had an appetite," I revived inspiritedly.

Agape, I believed.

Saint, saint, saint…

Open-handed, the Chef visited by our table, ordered us to sip the wine, then he vanished without an au revoir.

The Chef had shook us.

Saint merde!!

The ensuing course was a rapacious ration of duck well reminiscent of common era, postwar ordinance. We were well fed on not much.

After a few explanations from the maître d', accompanied by dessert and coffee, we were escorted from our table.


Faithfully we followed. The gatekeeper cloaked us, then shown us on our way.

Fin merde!!!


Feel free to exercise thought by sending me an email regarding preparation nuances. Be sure to experiment with flavor--and remember, eat your mistakes, uh, ingredients. (Disclaimer)
Copyright © 2006 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved