The "club des chefs des chefs", a group of 27 top chefs from the kitchens of the world's presidents, prime ministers and monarchs, is gathering in Paris this week to swap recipes and tit bits on dinner-party diplomacy. The cooks insist haute cuisine plays a crucial role in warming ties and sealing international deals.
The club, whose title plays on the double meaning of the French word "chef" for cook and leader, was founded 35 years ago by Gilles Bragard. On Tuesday, he revealed that President Putin of Russia maintains the medieval monarchs' tradition of having everything he eats tried by someone else for fear of poisoning.
"Tasters still exist but only in the Kremlin, where a doctor checks every dish with the chef," Mr Bragard said ahead of a reception for the chefs hosted by new French President François Hollande.
A doctor checking every dish is not really the same thing as a taster, is it?. And wouldn't a food taster be more necessary when Putin's not eating in the Kremlin? But sure, why the hell not?