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Michael O'Doherty: DIY dining out in front of a sweary chef? Count me in

FROM next week on, I'm going to try something new with this column. Instead of presenting a finished article to you, the reader, I'll simply supply you with 1,000 randomly arranged words, and each reader will have the chance to place them in the order of their choice, thereby customising each column, and adding a bit of theatre to the traditionally monotonous job of reading.

Ridiculous

For example, for my opening sentence I might supply the following raw material -- "Not Little is the Mark twat Ireland in biggest?" -- and set you to work.

OK, I'll be honest, it's a ridiculous idea, as it basically involves you doing all my work, and paying for the privilege of doing so. It would take a person of either breath-taking vision, or baffling stupidity, to try this on. Step forward Michelin-starred chef, Dylan McGrath.

Dylan is back from a year-long hiatus, following the closure of his much-admired Mint restaurant, and launching 'an original concept in dining' later this month.

Volcanic

Called 'Rustic Stone', the press release issued this week promises that his new eaterie will be more informal, and draw on a Spanish technique new to Ireland.

"Customers will be served their meat or fish dishes on a hot volcanic stone, which they cook themselves."

Yes, you read that correctly -- "cook themselves". Much like walking into Louis Copeland's to have the great man take your money, and then hand you some material and sewing machine, Dylan's vision is for the customer to do the work traditionally left to the proprietor.

So what, you may ask, will Dylan himself be doing? Often described as the 'enfant terrible' of Irish cooking, which traditionally translates as 'twat', Dylan's stint on reality TV show The Pressure Cooker, which followed him as he tried to obtain a Michelin star for Mint, showed him to be not just a hugely talented chef, but also to possess an encyclopaedic repertoire of swear words when addressing his kitchen staff.

Abusing

The problem for Dylan now, of course, is who to shout at? If his sous chefs aren't doing the cooking any more, at whom can he unleash his legendarily colourful collection of expletives, put-downs and general Nordy-ness?

The idea behind the cook-it-yourself technique is, according to Dylan, to add "an element of theatre to the meal".

Something tells me, however, that our slaving over the stove will be merely a sideshow to the main performance -- Dylan barking at, fussing over and generally abusing the poor customers who sear their ginger and lime-marinated scallops for 30 seconds too long.

Under normal circumstances, if I wanted to cook my own meal on volcanic stone, I'd fly to Iceland with some pork chops.

If I go for dinner in a restaurant on George's Street, the minimum requirement would seem to be that the chef actually cooks it for me.

But the enfant terrible himself, meat cleaver in hand, swearing at unsuspecting, poncy diners? Count me in ...

Aer Lingus can get rid of staff the Slater way

THERE is so much to love in the behaviour of Steven Slater, the American flight attendant who has become a hero courtesy of his inspiring departure from Jet Blue Airways.

Having lost his cool with a passenger who refused to sit down after his flight had landed at JFK, and then suffering abuse and a bruised forehead at her hands when things got heated, Slater snapped.

And the manner in which he did has already made his resignation the stuff of folklore. Many of us dream of leaving our jobs by either telling our arrogant boss/customers exactly what we think of them, having a free drink at the company's expense, or exiting the building with a flourish.

Stresses

There is, tragically, a downside to this story. No doubt the good people at trade union Impact, currently threatening Aer Lingus again with strike action on behalf of its cabin crew, will seize on Slater's gripes as an example of the stresses that its members work under, and use it as an excuse to have them reject the requested 850 flights hours a year. Which translates to a slave-driving 16 hours per week.

On the other hand, perhaps the bosses at Aer Lingus, trying to reduce their staff levels, could learn a lesson from Jet Blue?

Place a couple of irritating, drunken passengers on every flight, and watch the attendants resign one by one. Sure, it'll cost them a few beers and an emergency chute or two, but do the maths...

If I ever 'come out' here's how I'll do it

A STATUS update appeared on my Facebook page yesterday, announcing that I'd decided, after much soul-searching, to come out and admit that I was gay.

It was, of course, a hoax -- a bit of mischief by a friend who I had let use my computer, having left the Facebook page, but not actually logged out, meaning she could get back into my page.

You learn something new every day ...

To the people who immediately posted messages, all of whom knew it was a wind-up -- thank you for your concern.

To the solitary friend who seemed genuinely unsure as to whether it was real or not, please read this carefully.

If I am going to come out and admit that I'm gay, I'm not going to do it on Facebook. I'm going to do it privately, with dignity, to my family and my close friends.

And then I'll announce it publicly in this column in return for a fee. And not on Facebook, in return for nothing.

And by the way. I'm not gay.


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