Here's an extraordinary promotional email I received out of the blue recently.
It came from Molly, a newly-appointed Events and Content Manager for a company based in Paris.
I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and really loved your content, particularly your appreciation for food!
It's true, I have mentioned Lemon Drizzle Kitkats recently, and highlighted the liver sausage baguette option at the Russell Square cabmen's shelter. But I am already starting to get the teensiest hint that Molly may not have been reading carefully.
My name is Molly and I’m writing from the UK team here at <private chef service>, an online private chef service who aim to make entertaining at home easier and more enjoyable.
This is eye-opening stuff. I never realised that those of us who were poor at cooking could pay someone competent to come round and do it for us.
I wanted to contact you as I have a foodie/lifestyle proposition which I think both you and your readers would love!
I fear few of my readers are here for foodie/lifestyle experiential opportunities, but do continue.
Every time we recruit a new chef at <private chef service>, we organise a Validation Dinner.
Poor chef. Molly's company won't believe they're any good until they've been 'validated' in front of a greedy audience.
This gives the chef an opportunity to showcase their skills, whilst being judged by the host and their chosen guests.
Oh heavens, it's Come Dine With Me, except none of the guests have to conjure up a crass dining experience of their own a few days later. Or it's Deliveroo, but for social climbers with an empty fridge and money to burn.
They shop for ingredients, cook, serve and even clean up afterwards, leaving you to relax and enjoy inviting people over for dinner.
Nobody I've cooked dinner for has ever come back for another meal. Perhaps this is the perfect service for me.
We currently have a great new chef in London who we’re looking to validate, and I hoped you might be available to host their dinner.
That noise you can hear is the dozen readers who've actually been to my house spluttering with laughter.
As the host, you would invite 5 guests of your choice to the dinner, which would be complimentary, and enjoy the full private chef experience in your own home.
I think I could stretch to six friends. Alas, although I do have a rather splendid 1970s dining table, I don't own six chairs. I'm also unconvinced I could find six matching sets of crockery, nor would the cutlery be identical, and I'm pretty certain I'd run out of glasses well before the fourth course.
I would also organise for a photographer to come and take photos of the chef and the food, which I would be more than happy to share with you afterwards.
So there'd be two strangers in my house, one doing fabulous things with scallops and the other nipping round with a camera. On the one hand, £234-worth of free cordon bleu food and no washing up. On the other hand, overt lifestyle scrutiny.
Please let me know if you are interested and we can set up a call to discuss the details further!
If I'd said yes, Molly would have been able to write "This chef was validated during a test dinner with a jury of journalists and foodies" on her website. Given that my friends are neither journalists nor foodies, I worry that this would have been a terrible misrepresentation of the truth.
Actually, if I'd said yes I suspect Molly would have asked to pop round and have a look at the facilities available in my kitchen, and never returned.
I did not say yes.
But I did thank Molly very much for her kind offer, and told her I hadn't had such a good laugh in ages.
Please remember not to send me any similar emails.