Despite being Queen B (as in baker), despite having published a new book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, Rose Levy Beranbaum remains a sweet-natured soul, so the Forkage Charge came as something of a shock. It spoiled a meal when she and three other food folk, Nancy, David and Woody, recently went to The Breslin for lunch and insults.

What’s Danny Meyer got to do with this? All in good time, Thirsty Reader, all in good time.

At meal’s end they asked their waiter for forks and plates so they could taste the cake they’d just baked at the TV studio. That, Rose says, had never been a problem at Lutèce back in the day nor had it been one recently at Daniel (“not only did Daniel Boulud voice no objections but the wait person graciously insisted on plating it”) or Scott Conant’s Alto. Unfortunately, Rose had blundered into the Gordon Ramsay-David Chang Hostility Zone.

At The Breslin, their waiter shocked, shocked, Rose says. ‘After several reproachful comments from the 20-something-year-old, along the lines of "this is a restaurant . . . “ I explained that we

DannyMeyer atMaialino were all pastry chefs. I gave him my card and asked if he would like to offer some cake to the pastry chef. She wasn’t there so I offered him a taste. "I don’t do that kind of thing" he replied and strode off with his nose in the air.’

When he came back ‘he pushed four forks onto the table (no plates) and said he’d had reported us to the chef, who said we’d have to pay a fee for the forks.’ When the check came, they were charged at $25.

As the group left, Rose says, ‘Nancy observed that “Danny Meyer would never do such a thing!” (Danny is known in the industry as the “king of hospitality" and is loved by all). And then, only hours later, David received the following amazingly coincidental e-mail:

Dear Friends,

For years we have received an increasing number of requests from friends asking to learn our recipe for creating the consistent feeling of hospitality patrons have come to expect from our restaurants. I am thrilled to announce the newest member of our USHG family: Hospitality Quotient, a learning business for individuals and organizations who want to understand and apply the transformational power of hospitality . . . .

The e-mail was signed Warm regards, Danny Meyer

Credits: Flighto Bandido, Atelier Rhamsie; Danny Meyer (at his new Roman trattoria, Maialino) by Ellen Silverman