Scientists from Harvard and Yale have determined that chimpanzees have the cognitive ability, patience and foresight to resist eating raw food and, instead, cook their meals. In fact, chimps “…would give up a raw slice of sweet potato in the hand for the prospect of a cooked slice of sweet potato a bit later.” Who wouldn’t?
In the wake of this remarkable news, I foresee two immediate happenings: a spate of new TV reality shows and myriad fast food chains aimed at animals and humans alike.
Turning first to the reality shows, how about these potential titles:
– “Chopped Chimps” Three up-and-coming chimp chefs are each given a variety of serendipitous food items from the Serengeti (i.e. the tail of a Wildebeest, a flamingo’s beak and a giraffe’s neck). They then prepare a meal that is judged by three superstar chimp chefs. The winner receives an all-expense paid trip to The Culinary Institute of America to refine her/his skills.
– “Chimp Start-Up” Renowned chefs such as Bobby Flay trek to Tanzania to provide hands-on instruction and harsh evaluation of meals created by the local chimps. Losers are tossed into a pride of lions and the winner receives a $1,000 gift certificate to the Arusha Wal-Mart.
– “African Idol” This show would feature chimps who can not only cook, but belt out top pop songs as well. The winner would be flown to Abbey Road Studios, taught how to record an album and prepare Fish n’ Chips.
Turning to the fast food business opportunities, I could see a latter-day Ray Croc or Howard Schultz capitalizing on this new type of cuisine to open a chain of restaurants from Cape town to Cairo. Suggested names for the joints:
– Rwanda-fried sweet potatoes
– Jungle’s Best
While I’m pleased to learn the chimps are following in the footsteps of Julia Childs and cooking up their own sumptuous meals, I am concerned about two very significant impediments standing in the way of success:
– The chimps don’t know how to start a fire. As a result, they need to depend on a neighbor’s backyard grill, a Civil War that features any number of burning buildings or a friendly poacher willing to share his lighter.
– The chimpanzees also lack access to electricity, so there’d be no ability to re-heat what isn’t eaten and served two or three days later. For me, the lack of leftovers is a deal breaker.
Until they surmount those two challenges, I’d advise against investing in any chimp-led start-up venture. I’m just not seeing a path to profitability.