I had foie gras stuffed into a sausage last night. At Bocca di Lupo in Soho. I’d love to tell you all about it but you know already. It must be the most reviewed restaurant of the last couple of years. Just go there, it was fantastico, if initially more than a little clamoroso….

See. What I’ve done there is find an online translator tool and typed in fantastic (could probably have done that one by myself….) and loudClamoroso means riotous which is actually much better than loud so I have been intellectually  outdone by the power of t’internet on several levels there.

I think that my point is that it is very easy to look clever/qualified/funny online. You can even buy dissertations.

Not mine you can’t. Although why anyone would want to plagiarise ‘Roddy Doyle and the ethics of male feminism’ is beyond me. How desperate was I to get laid at University? The Ethics of Male Feminism….. yup, sure, and what Doyle of course fails to deliver is a solid de-construction of post feminist male doctrine… now grab yer coat treacle and hop on the fun bus.

Everyone cheats and steals and fabricates and the walls come tumbling down. Except they don’t. Because the world tolerates creative manipulation of the facts. And thank God. On my CV right now (I have it open on screen)- are seven small lies, three quite big ones and one whopper that probably makes my CV an illegal document. But if I hadn’t done them I wouldn’t be making a living out of food. Shuddup. That’s a GOOD thing.

So I found myself in Antibes with no cooking experience, no money and no idea. But I did have an illicit CV and the gift of the gab. And to cut a long story short I talked my way onto the largest single sloop luxury yacht in the Mediterranean. As the Head Chef! I look back now and wonder in disbelief at my youthful temerity. And after a week the Captain said, unfortunately we are going to have to let you go when we get to Malta because you are clearly not a Chef.

You didn’t see that coming did you…..I have to say, at the time, I did.  But Skip liked me personally and I got him a bit drunk and agreed with his bonkers socialist conspiracy-theory nonsense and he gave me another chance. He also told me that the guests loved my food- my cooking was great. But I was supposed to be a Chef and that’s not just about cooking. I couldn’t get my head round the cleaning…? Stock rotation….? Staff food…..? Budgets…..? Accounts….? Sharing a miniscule cabin with a repugnant kiwi called Mal….? It was a learning curve. Apart from seven days off, I worked non stop from six in the morning until midnight every single day for seven months. And then in bed, I read Larousse Gastronomique until the small hours to ensure that I could knock up a decent brioche the next day, like an old pro.

It was by far the hardest I have ever worked, the furthest I have ever been out of my comfort zone. I wept quite a bit and despised it and myself at various times along the way. But it changed my life for ever and on my last day on board, the Captain asked me to come back the following Summer and in that instant I was vindicated, my lies didn’t matter because I had walked the talk. I sat on an Easy Jet flight from Nice to London and started laughing and genuinely punched the air as the most total and utter feeling of pride and achievement flowed through my veins. Never to return, as I could not readjust to polite society and was a homeless crack addict for ten years. This is my story..

See that’s a lie! I wasn’t homeless or a crack addict- but I bet I could get away with it and knock out a book about my time on the street…. Street Chef, 12 ways with rat and bin juice.

So, don’t believe everything you read, and always, always make ‘chefs’ cook for you before you give them a job….

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