A photograph purportedly depicting Professor Brian Thrupiece working as a waiter in an unknown restaurant has been entered into evidence today in the great "Is It?; Isn't It?" debate currently surrounding the esteemed culinary bio-ethicist and his alleged appearance in caricature form on the cover of an 1876 menu of a famous Parisian restaurant. Originally discovered by Thrupiece watcher Mr Archibald Stalker and "authenticated" by his nephew - facial recognition software engineer Jeremy Stalker - the menu has been subject to ongoing scrutiny as adjudicators of the evergreen "Spot Professor Thrupiece Competition" continue to debate whether or not to offer Mr Stalker a £5 prize.
Looking suspiciously like an extra in an outtake from the film Casablanca, Professor Thrupiece is seen caught between two tables: an ironic position for a man more often caught between two stools. Sources close the Great Heaving complex - the spiritual home of all things Thrupiece - have confirmed that the new photograph is indeed of the Professor but have stressed that it captures a moment during a fancy dress party which the Professor was attending in the guise of famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. The party - the theme of which was Murder - was attended by several Dorset celebrities including first prize winner Mr Threadbone who, wrapped in 200 feet of Izal Medicated Toilet Paper, went as the mummy of the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, Queen Hapshetsut. Professor Thrupiece came fourth.
It should be noted that the same impeccable Great Heaving source has insisted that the photograph dates from 1959 (the Professor was a mature 19 at the time) and not 1876, making its use as evidence in the Maximgate controversy highly questionable. Speaking from her magnificent Dorset home, Mrs Amanda J Threadbone - a close relative of the missing presumed disappeared Professor of Culinary Bio-ethics - was sceptical. "Setting aside for a moment the strong possibility that Professor Thrupiece could indeed have devised a machine capable of time travel and/or tele-transportation, the idea that he might have worked as a waiter at any point in his career is plainly absurd. Though some have argued a disguise of this sort might have provided perfect cover for his constant searches for new sources of fluff, I more than anyone knows that there are certain depths to which even a man would not plunge - the late Mr Threadbone excepted of course."