Power breakfasts are really no yolk

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 21/05/2009

Daniel knelt by my side at the table, a knife in his hand. With one decisive blow… he sliced the top off my boiled egg.

“ At last!… perfection Mr Rosengard!” he said. “Yellow runny; white firm.”

“Well done Daniel,” I said to the young waiter.

We were having a slight problem with the boiled eggs this morning. I have been having two, sometimes three, breakfast meetings a day at Claridge’s for almost 30 years.

“Just walk into the lobby and look for someone who looks like he’s had three or four hundred breakfasts,” I tell my guests.

I finished my egg, and glanced up from The Times. Henry Kissinger was about to sit down at my table.

This was quite a surprise, as I was expecting Irving Feingold, a dentist from Stanmore.

“Dr Kissinger… how nice to see you,” I said.

Instantly I remembered the two previous encounters that we’d had at Claridge’s.

The first time was in the lobby 25 years earlier.

He had his arm in a plaster cast. “Welcome to London Dr Kissinger,” I said. “An assassination attempt?”

“No,” he said. “I slipped on a rug in Sacramento.”

The second occasion was in January 1991. I was at my breakfast table, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I put down my forkful of fried eggs and looked round.

At the next table was Dr Kissinger who was breakfasting with the then Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd.

“Douglas and I were just discussing Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait…What do you think we should do,” he asked.

As a life insurance salesman, I wasn’t often asked about my views on international affairs at breakfast, but I told him anyway.

And two weeks later the First Gulf War began.

Not a lot of people know about my role in starting it.

They don’t call it “the Power Breakfast” for nothing.

I looked up to see Dr Kissinger still frozen in mid descent; he looked at me over the top of his heavy, black-framed glasses…

“Wrong table,” he said.

He headed off towards a table in the far corner.

People ask me if I want to retire.

“Never!” I reply.

“I want to drop dead over breakfast, aged 98,selling a life insurance policy.

Forget heaven. When I die, I want to go to Claridge’s.”

Peter Rosengard is a life insurance salesman who has a lot of breakfasts