12. Minor Mistakes at a Major Banquet
Francois Vatel was put in charge of a grand banquet for 2000 people, scheduled at the Chateau de-Chantilly for April 25th, 1671, in honor of King Louis XIV. The banquet was scheduled on short notice, and Vatel, who had only 15 days to prepare, got stressed out by a series of minor mishaps and mistakes.
During a preliminary dinner a few days before the banquet, there were more guests than expected, and two out of twenty-six tables went without roast. A mortified Vatel wept that he had lost honor and could not bear the shame. Reassurances that the dinner had gone great, and that the king was pleased, did not comfort Vatel, who kept obsessing about the roast-less tables. Later that night, a grand display of fireworks flopped because fog and low clouds descended. That depressed Vatel even further.