Kate Stewart: The rise and rise of the waiter-narratorSave
By Kate Stewart - Thinking Out Loud
Thanks, in part, to the rise of celebrity chefs, cuisine related programmes and the popularity of culinary competitions, our experiences of food and fine dining have been forever changed.
But is it all for the better?
It appears the old shrimp cocktail, roast of the day and a slice of pav just don't cut the mustard anymore.
We expect the full sensory experience.
Well, here's an experience I prepared earlier, without the need to force feed a goose.
I've noticed over the years how written menus have changed. They're much more poetic and creative, making every dish sound like a million bucks.
The latest trend, however, is to have your menu read to you.
Our waiter-narrator begins our culinary journey by introducing us to the entrees and though he hasn't mentioned Luke Skywalker yet, I'm fairly sure he's about to be grilled and smoked.
Possibly stabbed with a shard of bacon infused honeycomb before being set on fire.
I heard mention of a crispy skin.
The process is a long one.
By the time I've heard what the final entree is, I've forgotten the first two.
I ask if we can order now and save the main menu reading for later. Waiter-narrator looks slightly offended but obliges.
I'm fairly confident that all the wait staff are budding actors, using these lengthy dish descriptions to master the art of the monologue.
Two enormous plates are eventually set before us. Yum, time to tuck in.
I know they say you eat with your eyes but you shouldn't need to employ the services of the Hubble telescope to make out what's on the dish.
I get out my cell phone and switch it to camera mode, not to post a pic on Instagram but to use the zoom feature to more closely examine my food.
Most of the plate is empty and then I spot it, way off in the distance, on the outer reaches, a perfectly formed line of carefully staged ingredients.
Am I meant to snort it or eat it? I opt for latter and it's gone in four forkfuls.
Waiter-narrator returns for the main event.
Weak with hunger and with the menu reading acting like the lull of a bedtime story, I feel myself begin to nod off.
I'm awoken by a swift kick under the table.
Bugger ... I think I missed how Luke killed his nemesis.
I have vague recollections of something been wrapped in a pastry blanket, there was mention too of a blow torch, a fennel infused moose(that's a new breed on me) and I also recall talk of a water-bath or possible waterboarding.
Whatever .. just bring me some food!
Again a huge plate. This time the line has been replaced with a small hill.
More of a mound really and, again, way off centre. I devour all nine mouthfuls in record time.
I know there is much talk of portion control but even Jesus himself would struggle to feed the 5000 with this as a starting point.
Not even the promise of a perfect chocolate and chilli fondant served on a toasted coconut and macadamia soil, topped with beetroot confetti, accompanied by sticky blackberry jam and a quenelle of creme fraiche can induce me to stay.
I've paid top dollar to "feast" on raw meat, fresh floral arrangements and deliberately burnt bits and I'm still famished!
My mouth has been massively under-utilised in this theatre masquerading as a meal.
Whatever happened to meat and three veg? #savethedoggybag
■Kate Stewart is a politically incorrect columnist of no repute. firstname.lastname@example.org