"A poll has undermined France's reputation as the home of unrivalled culinary excellence with results that suggest the British cook more often, for longer, and produce greater variety than their French counterparts."
The sous chefs trembled as Victor LeRue's voice barked out another command. The legendary five-starred chef was feared and admired in equal measure. A veteran of La Cafe Gauloise, he had cooked for Presidents and princes. His was the place to eat in all of Paris. The waiting list at La Gauloise took all concepts of time to one side and gave them a vigorous shaking. His prices did the same to the laws of mathematics.
The latest outburst meant that another kitchen underling was due for a customary LeRue roasting. Or at least a gentle flambe.
"Nonononono, m'sieur! That is not how we do it here, you hear me?"
"I am sorry chef, I just thought...."
"That is your problem, imbecile, you did not think! What have I always told you."
The young apprentice reddened under his white cap and breathed in deeply.
"You told us, Chef, that we must always heat up the oil to its maximum before, um, before..."
"Before putting the fish in. And why?"
"So that the batter gets all nice and crinkly."
LeRue calmed down, "That is good, you have been listening. It is important to get this right, young one. This is the signature dish of the Gauloise, yes? People come from all of France to eat it here. You'll be telling me you've forgotten how to do the chips next."
The apprentice grinned, "No Chef, I can do chips in my sleep. Slab-cut pieces of pomme de terre, fried in the French way."
"And the seasoning?"
"Salt and malt vinegar. Perhaps some curry sauce. Serve with a saveloy or a picked egg."
"Good. With this cuisine we will go far."