Chef Maurice sat at the kitchen table of Le Cochon Rouge, his little French restaurant in Cotswold village of Beakley, looking down at the piece of paper in front of him. At the top, he’d written: ‘A Day in the Life of . . .’
He frowned, causing his large moustache to bristle. “Patrick!”
“Oui, chef?” Patrick, his trusty sous chef, stuck his head out of the walk-in fridge, where he’d been doing the stocktake of the restaurant’s cheese supply.
“C’est impossible! What is it they expect me to write? A day in the life of a chef, it is most simple. We receive our deliveries. We make the preparations. We cook. The readers, they wish to hear this? Non, it cannot be.”
“I think, chef, the newspaper lady wanted you to write about one day in particular. You know … the day when all that business with Ollie Meadows started?”
“Ah. It is like that, I see.”
It never ceased to amaze him how much trouble one dead body could cause. The local press, used to covering country fairs and the occasional missing tabby, had been falling over themselves to interview him after they’d got wind of his daring, if not particularly orthodox, contribution to the solving of the Meadows murder case.
“But why does Arthur not write this himself? He was there also. And he is a writer.” Arthur Wordington-Smythe, Chef Maurice’s best friend and food critic for the England Observer, had in fact been the one to press this tricky compositional exercise onto his friend.
“I think they wanted to hear it in your own words, chef. It’s not that hard, surely? Just start at the beginning.”
“Hmph. Very well.” Chef Maurice tapped the end of his pen against his nose, took another gulp of his morning strong black coffee, and consoled himself that at least Arthur’s editor had promised to accompany the article with a full double-page spread of Le Cochon Rouge, in all its honey-coloured Cotswold stone glory.
There was nothing, he knew, that drew the English out into the countryside faster than good food served under a pretty thatched roof.
He uncapped his pen.
It all began, he wrote, with some labour, with a box of missing mushrooms. . .
You can read more about Chef Maurice in Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, the first book in the NEW “Chef Maurice” culinary mystery series, published by Purple Panda Press.
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Meet the author
J.A. Lang is a British mystery author. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob. To keep up to date with new releases, please hop over to www.jalang.net to sign up for the reader newsletter.