Or do I?
For his last trick (or so I thought), he served a couple of innocent-looking pieces of meat surrounded by vegetables and maybe a puree. Can’t recall any longer; I spent most of the time looking at the chef during his explanation and not the plate. He sat down next to me to explain. “This will be a long explanation.” He described how, this one time, he wanted to cook wagyu beef for his cell husband. Naturally, someone managed to smuggle it into the prison. I didn’t ask how. He successfully cooked it and celebrated. That is until he went out to the prison yard and found everyone laughing at him. You see, it wasn’t wagyu beef, after all, it was the loin of someone that had been killed. He became angry, but then chose to cook more of it; he realized it wasn’t all that bad. Ramsay and he tried to find a way to recreate this legally and they found that it could be done via China. To make a long story short, he said, one can purchase the meat of Chinese dissidents and support the families of the deceased at the same time by doing so. The producer then showed me an FDA form on his phone “proving” its authenticity. Confused yet?
When I announced I would not be eating “a person,” he became instantly infuriated, acted crushed, looked around confused at the producer and then back at me. He stood up, towering over me, grabbed my plate and abruptly left to the kitchen. There, he thrashed stuff around and screamed loud enough for everyone outside to hear. “This is ridiculous! All of that hard work gone to waste. All I want is that third Michelin Star! How am I supposed to do this if people aren’t adventurous and willing to try something different,” or something to that effect.
What I thought: Aha! I knew it. I’m getting punked. After this, they will come out and say so. How am I supposed to read and understand this document under such stress? He doesn’t expect me to eat a person, does he? Real or not, this isn’t happening. Drawing the line. I am done. I think I’ve put up with and been patient enough. What in the world is going on? Everyone here looks so normal, so serious. Don’t show surprise on your face. Don’t give them what they want. Keep your head up. Smile. Keep it together. Don’t give them good TV. You want a third Michelin Star? How about you receive a single one first? This guy is delusional. But he isn’t, this has to be an act. Actually, it’s comical. Like a movie. When will they unveil the big surprise that this is all one big joke? Tick, tock, tick, tock…
What I said and did: “So what you are saying is, this is a person?” I said. “A Chinese dissident,” he said. ” A person?” I repeated. “A Chinese dissident,” he echoed. “Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m not eating a person.” As he screamed, I shrugged my shoulders, looked into the cameras and repeatedly asked if this was a joke. “It’s a joke, right? None of this can be real. Please tell me this is a joke.” Crickets. The producer had the audacity to then claim I’d said I was an adventurous eater. “I am. But this is beyond adventure. Who would eat another person? If you want someone to try something like this, you have to disclose it. This has to be a joke.” He reassured me it was not. This was a very real restaurant project. He said they’d already filmed this similar dinner in London and it’d been a success. I smiled, or perhaps it was a smirk by then. I still refused to freak out in front of the cameras. Twilight zone.
After a while, the chef walked back out and apologized for his outburst. He cheerfully said I would be happy to know dinner was over and all that was left was a dessert I’d love since it involved chocolate, lavender, and cookies. I took a deep breath realizing this also meant I would be leaving this nightmare soon. I needed out.
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