Apparently, it was the unsmoothed mascarpone that did it. (It so often is.) A baker’s dozen of former employees of Tom Kitchin, owner of the Kitchin and the youngest winner of a Michelin star, have charged the chef with abuse, according to The Times of London. “Their claims span 11 years, from 2008 to 2019,” said the newspaper. “One junior chef has said that he was thrown against a door by Kitchin…. A second alleged that Kitchin hit him in the chest and pinned him to a wall after he failed to smooth the surface of a tub of mascarpone in 2010. A third chef claimed that in 2009 Kitchin refused to let a colleague burnt at work seek medical attention until after dinner service had finished.” Kitchin, through his lawyers, has denied all the allegations and issued a statement saying that his company had appointed an outside H.R. consultancy to investigate the charges.
I am a spy, because someone played one on TV: the hit series Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau) has become a kind of feeder—or, anyway, enabler—for the French intelligence service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure. According to Le Monde, the D.G.S.E. has for the last few years been posting ads on LinkedIn, operating a YouTube channel, and recruiting at schools—a recent high-school cryptography competition, for instance, was essentially a partnership between The Bureau and the bureau. The payoff has been quantifiable: a 60 percent increase in D.G.S.E. applicants within two years of the show’s 2015 debut improved recognition of (and trust in) the agency, and the successful promotion among young people of a general spies-are-cool vibe. But some of us already knew that.
Are you up to speed on the prose styles of literary critics? Can you, for instance, identify the author of the following passage?
Interspersed are his thoughtful suggestions for overcoming left-wing radicalism, maintaining American democracy, moving beyond aging hippies (like his long-suffering, loving parents), saving the world from social justice warriors and the deep state—all while smirking his way through life in only the nicest way.
Mary McCarthy? Edmund Wilson? Or let’s get out of that particular household: Woolf? Bloom? Derrida, Gates, de Beauvoir? Wait, Barthes? Winfrey? Nope: it’s Trump—our new Blurber in Chief. Or, rather, it isn’t. The former president, with a sudden keen interest in current nonfiction, used e-mail to disseminate his review of How I Saved the World, by the Fox News commentator Jesse Watters. Except Trump’s “review” was lifted verbatim from the publisher’s promotional material. Well, the very first word—“polysyllabic,” full of consonants and vowels—should have been the tip-off.
Fictional Denmark, that is, as in “state of, something rotten in.” Hamlet opened this week to mostly respectful reviews at London’s Theatre Royal Windsor, in an age-and-gender-blind production starring Sir Ian McKellen, whom the critics praised and who is 82—but the show no longer features Steven Berkoff as Polonius or Emmanuella Cole as Laertes. The Daily Mail was the first to report that the two actors had clashed mightily during rehearsals, leaving Cole “belittled and disrespected” and Berkoff with a complaint lodged against him—reportedly by Cole—with the actors’ union. Officially, according to The Guardian, Berkoff left because of scheduling issues that arose when the initial run was extended and Cole departed to attend a workshop. Unsurprisingly, McKellen was said to be upset by the events—now cracks a noble heart, indeed. Disagreements during productions are hardly unusual, but if these were notably unpleasant, no wonder: the cast lived and rehearsed together in a bubble for months during the coronavirus lockdown.
If you believe that earning too little can lead to physical and mental-health problems, just consider the burdens that come with earning too much. One multi-national corporate law firm has done just that, and is taking action. “Linklaters, one of the City’s five magic circle law firms where full equity partners earn on average £1.6 million [$2.2 million] a year, has come up with a ‘workplace wellbeing app’ that includes tips on how to produce the cable knit jumper of every partner’s dreams,” reported The Times of London. “The BetterSpace app is promoted as a ‘personal well-being concierge’ and Linklaters partners will receive a £300 [$400] allowance to take advantage of its services.” Nice touch, that subsidy—makes it affordable to the partners. Knitting, yoga, and meditation courses are also available, all in the service of producing happier, more centered, still-billable hours.
Jackie Chan is hoping for a party invitation that might never come—from China’s Communist Party. According to the South China Morning Post, “Chan expressed his interest in membership at a symposium organised by the China Film Association last Thursday in Beijing…. Chan told a crowd of attendees at the symposium that when he’s abroad, he often says that he’s ‘proud of being Chinese’,” adding, “I also envy that you are Communist Party members, I think the Communist Party is just great, what the Communist Party says, what they promised, will always be delivered within a few decades. I want to be a Communist Party member, thank you.”
The action-film and martial-arts star, who has left a trail of dismissive comments about Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, was cheered at the gathering but ridiculed on the Weibo blogging site, said the newspaper: “‘I have no doubt over his patriotism and professionalism, but his lifestyle … our party members need to set a positive example,’ one [commenter] said. The ‘lifestyle’ comments made online referred to Chan’s previous extramarital affair, and his son Jaycee Chan’s drug offence and six months of jail time on the mainland. On Twitter, Chan’s remarks also infuriated his fans outside China who felt they were designed to keep Beijing happy and allow him to promote his films inside China.”
Spain has faced bitter divides before—the War of the Spanish Succession, a civil war, the Franco era, the issue of Catalan independence—but perhaps nothing to compare with the polarizing, generations-long debate over onions in omelets. But now, at last, that has been resolved.
“On Wednesday, El Mundo published the results of a survey into the humble but deeply revered Spanish omelette that delighted the country’s concebollistas (with-onionists) and left a disagreeable aftertaste in the mouths of its sincebollistas (without-onionists),” reported The Guardian. “The poll was unequivocal: 72.7% of those surveyed favoured onion; 25.3% were against, and a non-committal 1.9% didn’t answer.” Opinions were consistent across political-party lines, preferences virtually identical between women and men, but leaned pro-onion among the older demographic. Online commentary was more conciliatory than gloating. “We need to learn how to listen to and understand the sincebollistas,” offered one concebollista. “Brexit and Trump happened because of less.”
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for Air Mail