September 27, 2012
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Keeping your eye on the ball

Walking back from dinner, I found myself chatting on the street with a guy who is a sous chef at the Oberoi Grand. Or at least that’s what he said, and he talks a good game.

He’s got a program where he teaches street kids about cooking, which sounds to me like a hell of a good idea. Of course, he hit me up for a donation when we parted — OK, ask for the sale. And then he tried pretty hard to upsell me.

Thing is, I'd told him about this blog, and I’d told him about another food writing project I’m toying with, and I told him about the neat Kolkata foodies who’ve been so generous with their advice.

Now, he may have thought I was putting on the ritz, and the rupee in the hand is worth more than empty promises. And of course he might have been putting on the ritz, too. I was tempted to ask him something simple from the classical repertoire for a test, like “what’s bechamel?” Something every line cook is a fancy joint would know. But that seemed impolite.

So I gave him my email address and told him, “Send me something about your program, and I’ll check it out and write about it.” On the off chance he visits, this is a stake in the ground.