Chef Jakub – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 51
Once more Miel answered the door and once more he grunted and waved us in, then led us to a dining room which was larger than Zarinah’s. It was opulent and garish, much like some childish image of a mansion, dripping with excess. The rugs and drapery were the finest money could buy. The furniture was covered in gold leaf. Paintings of unrecognisable people, which no doubt cost as much as the house itself, hung in multitudes on each wall, one of which I recognised as the form leader of the regime. There was a long table running the length of the room under a row of tall windows which themselves reached up to the ceiling. The room had to be thirty yards long, twenty yards across and five yards up to the painted ceiling. It was almost a ballroom more than a dining hall. No central chandelier hung, but rather the walls each had mounted crystal fittings every two or three yards at head height. I can remember thinking first that it was fit for royalty and then thinking how Miel’s presence in such a beautiful place was a gross injustice. The floor was tiled with large slabs of perfect white marble, each over a yard squared. They made such a sonorous little echo as I walked on them that they almost felt warm. I had never seen such a place. Even Madam Sabine and Baron von Broone had nothing like Miel’s dining hall. It was sad that such a place would house such an unworthy creature, but those thoughts evaporated when we were led through a single door to the kitchen.
There were small windows at the top of the walls and a large workbench in the centre of the room. I can still see it now, a massive brass topped rectangular island, above it hung a rack dressed with pots and utensils. As was the fashion then, all the walls were tiled white and the floor was tiled red. The ceiling was as high as the dining hall ceiling in the next room, but there was a weight in the air in that room. As if one knew that it would never warm up no matter how many ovens you stoked. I did not like that place. I intended never to return, regardless, so I pressed forward and began to set up. Miel turned and left us when I placed my bag onto the island.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey