I was so grateful for the chance to work in such a wonderful restaurant but the Maitre d' warned me that some of their patrons ranged from difficult to impossible and the owners were extraordinarily responsive to their clientele and had been known to discharge a chef at the slightest provocation. I breezed through my first month in the kitchen without a single complaint.
Then one night I was startled to see the waiter re-enter the kitchen with an untouched amuse bouche (appetizer)! It was salmon mousse quennelles (dumplings). I took a taste to see what was wrong, but they were delicious! I was mystified. Perhaps the customer doesn't like seafood and didn't know what he had ordered.
And when the waiter returned with the second course, an exquisite paté of smoked trout, I was certain that this illiterate dolt had an aversion to seafood.
So I expected no problem with the third course, a delightful salade of crisp greens and vinaigrette dressing. But I was wrong! The third course also was returned! What was happening?
I began to fear that my job might be in jeopardy, and when the waiter returned with the fourth course, a savory shrimp bisque flambé I realized something was terribly wrong. I began to grow uneasy.
Course number five was a piquant grapefruit sorbet, and when that, too, was returned I decided to investigate. I peeked out through a window in the kitchen door and saw my bête noir seated at a table on the side. It was Pierre! We had been classmates at l'Ecole Cordon Bleu, and he had unsuccessfully applied for the job I now held.
Everything was becoming clear. The sixth course was a stuffed trout with twice-baked potato. And, as expected, that too came back unsampled. At this point, I knew my job had ended. Why was Pierre doing this to me?
I instructed the waiter to let me personally deliver the dessert course. And I carried the dessert on a plate, covered with a napkin, directly to the table where my adversary was seated. I set the plate on the table as he glared at me. Then I deftly removed the cleaver from under the napkin and swung my arm with a great flourish. "How did you enjoy your just dessert?" I asked, placing the plate where his head had once been.
And that, Monsieur Inspecteur, is why I am sitting here subject to your inquisition.