To mark the 75 country milestone, whereby I have now visited 75 restaurants in London which represent 75 countries, I’ve decided to let you get to know the real Charlie Del Monte even more. I arranged an interview with … myself, in my toughest head-to-head to date. Searching, dogged, I get to the core of me. Unfortunately the recording was corrupted but not before I got the transcript copied over. Enjoy!
Charlie Interviewer: You’re looking well.
Charlie Interviewee: Thanks!
Charlie I: No, I mean really well. Good.
Charlie I … actually, that doesn’t work … Charlie Interviewee: Thanks.
Charlie Interviewer: Seriously. You’re so fine you could probably turn me.
Charlie Del Monte: You realise being gay isn’t a choice?
CI: Ah … I … er …
CDM: Shall we move on.
CI: Please. 75 countries in four and a half years. That’s quite an achievement.
CDM: It is.
CI: What’s been the most challenging aspect of the … challenge to date?
CDM: Mostly the recognition. I didn’t get into blogging for the fame or cash. I simply love writing, crafting the language, making the English language my bitch. But it was much easier when I could go in incognito.
CI: “In incognito?”
CI: You mean “incognito?”
CDM: That’s right: In incognito. But now my name and face are out there, it’s quite difficult not to alert restauranteurs and so get the authentic customer experience. I don’t want special treatment, just amazing food, service and freebies. I’ve taken to using pseudonyms to conceal my identity when I book a table.
CI: Such as?
CDM: Darth Ravenclaw. Ronchaldo. Nigel Farage.
CI: Do you have a favourite country so far?
CDM: I love Belarus.
[Sound of Charlie flicking through his notes]
CI: But … you haven’t been to a Belarusian restaurant yet?
CDM: That’s not what you asked.
CDM: Jeremy Hunt?
CI: Moving on. Is there a cuisine that you’ve tried as part of the quest that hasn’t lived up to expectation?
CDM: What an excellently phrased question.
CI: Thank you.
CDM: I know precisely what you’re after and should be able to answer with exactitude and concision.
CI: Thank you.
CDM: Well what?
CI: Which cuisine?
CDM: Which cuisine what?
CI: Hasn’t lived up to your expectations?
CDM: Oh! You were actually asking. Um … none come to mind. Let’s circle back to this question.
CI: Sure. You mention Mrs Del Monte quite a lot and yet she has contributed only one blog entry in the entire time you’ve been blogging. Why not let her blog more?
CDM: What are you saying? My blogging not good enough for you?
CI: No, I simply meant …
CDM: Who do you think you are? Mrs Del Monte is a saint.
CI: I wasn’t suggesting anything else.
CDM: You watch yourself. [Inaudible]
CDM: [Inaudible] until the handle breaks off and you have to seek medical assistance.
CDM: What was that?
CI: Nothing. Moving on: What does the future hold?
CDM: This again.
CI: This again? But, I’ve haven’t asked you before.
CDM: But you will have done.
CI: So … what does the future hold?
CDM: See, I told you.
CI: You’ve done 75. Are there another 75 in London?
CDM: Good question.
CDM: There maybe another 45 countries represented by restaurants in London. French speaking Africa is poorly represented, as well as the smaller Latin American countries, so we’re never going to get to 195.
CI: Wikipedia says there are 196 countries in the world. Do you not recognise Taiwan? Or Palestine?
CDM: Of course I recognise Taiwan and Palestine. They dress so distinctly.
CI: Then … ?
CDM: Hardly green at all. Something fishy going on there.
CI: But Greenland isn’t a country. It’s part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
CDM: So I was right!
CI: But …. Moving on. Last question.
CI: Can you sign my copy of the blog?
CDM: It would be my pleasure.
CI: Just here. Next to the home button.
CDM: Pass me my pen.
CI: Don’t press down too hard, you’ll crack the screen.
CDM: My apologies.
CI: Think nothing of it. Charlie Del Monte.
CI: Thank you.
CDM: No: Thank you.
[Noise of materials being put away]
CDM: That went OK I thought?
CDM: When will you put this up?
CI: Frig knows. I’ve got to get my snake spayed. Once I’m back from the vet I suppose.
CDM: No hurry. These saps read anything. Literally, any bilge I toss off through the fog of a hangover. They lap it up. I just can’t figure out how best to monetise this sucker and bleed the dolts dry.
CI: I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
CDM: Maybe a loo book? Or a feature film. It’ll come to me. Are you going to finish that?
CI: Help yourself.
[Noise of rustling]
CDM: God I love Ginsters.