Have you ever had that odd feeling when your past life suddenly appears again in front of you? I had that this evening watching TV.
Years ago – I must have been around nineteen or twenty – I worked for a few months in clubs and restaurants in London’s West End. For six months or so I worked as assistant manager at a fairly low-rent cocktail bar and restaurant in New Burlington Street off Oxford Street called Mike’s Diner. The manager at the time was Martin Hyde, and he and I became friends. I lived at the time in Eltham, he in Orpington, and we often drove up to work together in my beaten-up Citroen Club estate. In time I got fed up working nights and got a job in a publishing company in Bond Street.
Relaxing in front of the TV this evening, I turned on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, to see ‘Chef Ramsay’ in a New York Asian restaurant called Dillon’s. The episode was shocking – cockroaches, mouldy food, the whole nine yards. He yelled for the manager, Martin – and in walked my colleague from Mike’s Diner – a quarter of a century older, but unmistakeably the same.
As it turned out, Gordon Ramsay then sat with the restaurant owner and told him how his manager Martin was letting him down. Martin then threw a hissy fit and resigned on the spot. The restaurant has now rebranded into Purnima
But for a brief few moments, it was a strange experience.