35 – Bad News Week

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Oh dear. My week has just gone from bad to worse – or rather, much worse. And I can’t quite believe what has happened. You’ll remember, of course, that a few weeks ago I had purchased – for a not inconsiderable amount – the exclusive rights to all restaurants and eating establishments on the moon. Because of the promised cities which I had been told by the sales agent, Mica O’Manna, would certainly be built in the coming years. And as such I paid him – in good faith – a down payment of $100,000 to his Cayman Islands’ PayPal account. And I have been waiting since then for my Certificate of Ownership.

Well yesterday, it all unravelled. There is no Certificate of Ownership, there is no Mica O’Manna, and there is no exclusive contract to restaurants on the moon. It turns out O’Manna was just a con man. And he certainly conned me.

How did I find out? Well… and oh dear God this is painful admitting it, but I found out from Carotene Half, owner of my local rival, The Bologna Pony.

It was towards the end of a busy lunchtime shift and as the last of my customers was leaving, my front door opened and in walked Half himself. I was surprised but not overly so as I thought he had simply come to gloat about The Chronicle’s recent exposé of Jack Spratt and my pigeon problems. But I was wrong. (I wish it had just been that).

I, of course, was courteous to Half and offered him an espresso and as he settled back to drink it he started to tell me a story about how he had been approached by a latino Irishman (guess who?) last month (last month!) with a cock-and-bull story about how he could sell him exclusive rights to all restaurants on the moon. At which point, Half started laughing uncontrollably and explained that he had physically kicked O’Manna out of his restaurant and half way down the road. Such a poor con artist, he said, that it had only taken Half five minutes of Googling to discover that Mica O’Manna had a history of such attempted cons and was wanted in Brazil, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for similar nefarious acts.

By the time he had finished the story he had such a look of glee on his face that I knew he knew that I had fallen for the con. (I guess he does read my blog after all). He spent another ten minutes mischievously telling me to watch out in case O’Manna approached me, then thanked me for the coffee and pretty much danced out of the Sausage looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

I went into my kitchen and slumped down in the corner. I was still there when my sous-chef came in for the evening service.

But do you know what? What is even worse than falling for Mica O’Manna’s con, what is worse than hearing about it from Carotene Half, and actually what is worse than potentially losing a lot of money, is the fact that that damn conman went to Half first before approaching me! I wasn’t even the first chef he had tried this on. What did that say about his view of The Smoked Sausage?

I’m guessing I haven’t got a hope of getting the money back.

27 – Over the Moon

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Do I have an announcement for you! After months (years?) of watching other chefs get franchises and concessions everywhere from airports and theme parks to motorway service stations and posh department stores, I have finally got my own – and I promise you it is the ultimate coup de grâce.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was approached by an exclusive estate agent, Mica O’Manna, who offered me this one-time opportunity. Mica explained what I could get and I couldn’t believe it. It took me just 24 hours to decide and then I jumped at it.

So what is this great franchise, this incredible out of this world option, this one-time only amazing chance to put The Smoked Sausage really and truly on the global map? Hang on to your hats and let me tell you that I, Chef Christoffel Beyope, have bought the rights to be the only person who can build an eating establishment… on the moon!

Beycope on the Moon.

It’s got a ring to it, yes?

And what it means is that no-one else – no-one else – can open any restaurant, café, eatery, diner, food truck, food stall or even a fromagerie on the surface of the moon – just me. No McD’s, KFC, Ramsay, Noma or any other so-called popular eating hole – just me. And absolutely no Bologna Pony! I suppose I could sell them a sub-concession but, well, will I bol***** – it will just be me.

I do have to admit that when I first met O’Manna, I was a bit sceptical about the opportunity, but when Mica explained to me that in less than ten years time, there will be the first small town on the moon, and by 2030 there will be at least two or three major cities, accommodating upwards of one to two million people, well I couldn’t believe it. But it’s obvious if you think about it, I mean, where else is man going to go? We can’t all stay here on Earth? Just listen to Richard Branson or Nigel Farage. Or Donald Trump. (Well, maybe not Trump).

But the best bit, the best bit I haven’t even told you yet. And that is the price I had to pay. Go on guess, I bet you can’t.

For all the above I only have to fork out $250,000. That’s all! You can’t even open a restaurant in Knightsbridge or Bray for that amount. I almost choked when Mica told me that figure. It did cross my mind to tell him that this business was a snip at that price, but then I thought better of it. If he wants to make such little income then that’s up to him.

And just in case any other celebrity chefs are thinking of muscling in on the deal, I should tell you that it will all get finalised this week. I have already paid the $100,000 down payment by PayPal to O’Manna’s Cayman Island bank account, and I will be receiving the certificate and deeds any day now. (It was quite hard getting PayPal to accept a payment of that size but I managed it in the end).

Over the moon? You could say that.