ANECDOTE 005: May 25, 2006
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
"Yes, I do," she replied as she did when affirming
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.
"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.
"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.
I sat on the throne, wheezing, silently wiping away the
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.
Thank you," I replied with trepidation.
I continued, thinking to myself, "And with no questions
"You will join the others," directed the
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
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
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.
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.
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
Faithfully we followed. The gatekeeper cloaked us, then
shown us on our way.