Hassan is interrupted from reading in his office by Jean-Luc, who says that an order has arrived.
Hassan says that since Paul's death he suffers from the same horrible sickness that he friend had. This sickness is basically stress, a bad temper, and restlessness; Hassan doesn't understand it, since he's always been what he describes as "quite a sunny fellow" (16.8).
He helps Jean-Luc unpack the order of ptarmigan (a type of bird), and tells the boy to watch how he prepares the meat.
He glances at the clock and opens his mouth to start shouting orders. But the words won't come out, and instead his head swarms with a collage of all the horrible images in his memory, from Paul's death, to the bloody demonstration, to his grandmother, and the Gauguin painting from the museum.
Hassan holds an emergency last minute meeting. His orders: Everyone's going to throw out everything in the restaurant and start over fresh tomorrow. They're going to make simple dishes with fresh ingredients.
Hassan's idea is that everything will be simple and the best, with the ingredients showcasing themselves. It's the total opposite of the extravagant meal that he was just preparing with his birds.
He tells them to all return to their hometowns and bring back the best traditional meals and ingredients they can find. They're going back to basics, yo.
Paul's memorial dinner arrives. The best of the best are there, and Madame Verdun is there with a new man. Reps from Le Guide are in attendance as well, and apparently added a tribute to the late celebrity in their latest issue.
Hassan starts up a conversation with an American named James Hewitt, who makes a tacky comment about Paul's large empire and legacy being on the verge of collapse when he died. Hassan comes to Paul's defense, but Hewitt says that at his death Paul was practically bankrupt.
Hassan watches Anna Verdun with her new guy, who in fact is Chef Mafitte, Paul's top enemy and competition. Pardon et moi? He remembers a past date with an old girlfriend, where Paul shamelessly hit on her, and he's disgusted with Madame's new taste in men.
Conversation turns trivial again over dinner, but Paul's finances are still on Hassan's mind.
The others at his table discuss how Paul was the story of a man who lost his way because he lost track of his goal, and how it is important to keep up with the changing times; talk turns to the old versus the new, and theories on tradition versus change.
Hassan gets frustrated and responds that he is sick of all these labeled ideas about cooking, and reveals the new theme of his restaurant.
The highlight course arrives, which is stuffed partridge, and a version of one of Paul's famous dishes. It gets fantastic reviews and Hassan is congratulated by many of the important guests.
Hassan realizes that Paul intended the dinner to set him up as his personal heir in the restaurant world. Thanks, buddy.