The Fish Dish

The water was too cold. Everybody thought so, but nobody dared mention it. So the chef continued to wait for the lobster to boil in lukewarm water. It was his first day in the kitchens of The Fish Dish, a small restaurant with no Michelin stars located in a busy part of London. Although it was his debut at this up and coming restaurant, the new head chef, Martin Tinfoil, was a world renowned chef with many accolades. He had letters in and after his name, titles before his name and a round of applause at the mention of his name.

Martin Tinfoil had a number of successful restaurants up and down the UK, and a few more on the sides. His methods of running them were somewhat unorthodox, but he got results. The previous year he had been in all the headlines after he employed a chimpanzee as a sous chef in one of his Edinburgh restaurants. But weeks later, the same critics were showering him with praise after the chimp invented a new dish and won employee of the month.

Back in the kitchen, today was a big day for Tinfoil. The suits from Michelin were visiting to judge whether or not his restaurant should be given one of their coveted stars. He hoped it would be. He knew it should be. Deep in his heart, he felt he deserved a star, if only for putting up with the dopey waitress who kept getting the orders wrong. On this, his special day, he made sure she was nowhere to be seen. As long as nobody went into the wall-in freezer and found her, everything would be okay.

Several minutes before noon, Martin rushed around the kitchen making sure that everything was in its place and ready to be thrown into a pan and made into the most delicious food he’d ever cooked. He had decided to serve the Michelin inspectors a selection of potato dishes, including jacket potatoes, bangers & mash, roast potatoes, chips and hash browns. Martin had read somewhere that the Michelin man – of Michelin logo fame – likes potatoes, so he would make sure that he covered all bases. Of course, being a fish restaurant, there had to be fish on the menu, so for the fish course they would enjoy a tin of sardines. He thought it would be fun to let them open the tin themselves, mainly because he was too focused on the potato dishes to worry about fish.

At precisely noon, the Michelin inspectors did not enter the restaurant. They did, however, enter a few minutes later, not apologising for their lateness, but instead measuring the waiter and asking him to take a breathalyser test. Martin knew they were strict, but he was not prepared for this. The waiter passed all of their tests and revealed to them the meals they would be served. The menu was met with some bemused looks, but the waiter ensured them it would taste nice. After all, the food was being cooked by Martin Tinfoil, so how could it be anything less than edible.

The fish course went out promptly, but this is where the trouble started. Whilst trying to open he tin, one of the Michelin inspectors cut his finger on the ring pull. This may or may not have been the reason why his fellow inspector had a stroke. An ambulance was called and Martin fretted over the future of his restaurant. When the ambulance came, Martin made a quick decision. He grabbed the sack of potatoes and jumped in the back of the ambulance with the two inspectors. He would make this dish, even if it killed him. As the ambulance sped towards the hospital, Martin peeled the potatoes at a rapid pace. He also enlisted the assistance of the non-dying inspector, who unwillingly peeled too. Once the potatoes were peeled, Martin used a bedpan and pair of defibrillators to cook them. Without any olive oil, he had to improvise. He grabbed an IV bag from the shelf and mixed in some Tabasco sauce, which he happened to have in his pocket. The potatoes didn’t take long to cook. They took even less time to burn. Still, they were edible, which was all Martin cared about. He seasoned them with a pinch of paracetamol and a squirt of morphine, serving them up on another bed pan. The non-dying inspector reluctantly accepted and tried the potato concoction. He was pleasantly surprised with the taste. It had a good kick to it, with a nice texture and an unusual flavour. the inspector told Martin how he wished his associate could try it, as he was sure that the dying man would’ve liked it. This spurred Martin on. He punched the bedpan full of potato, mashing it into a pulp. He then forced the dying inspector’s mouth open and poured it down his throat. Not unsurprisingly, the dying inspector did not waste any of his precious breath giving it a review.

Fortunately for the dying inspector, he survived the stroke and became the no-longer-dying inspector. Days later, the inspector was discharged from the hospital and went home. Martin was unaware of this, as nobody had given him an update on the inspector’s condition. Still, he waited to hear the feedback from his improvised cooking session.

The result came some weeks later, when the no-longer-dying inspector finally regained the ability to talk. According to his wife, his first words were “That potato dish was lovely.” When Martin heard this, he was overjoyed. He told his fellow staff and waited to receive his Michelin star.

Unfortunately, Martin Tinfoil and The Fish Dish did not receive a Michelin star. The restaurant instead received a letter informing them that they were being sued, whilst Martin received his own letter requesting him to stay at least 100 metres from any Michelin inspectors at all times.

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All content © 2019 Ben Coleman