Chef Steinwasser chopped up the carrots shipped from Datstelle farms. He felt slightly ashamed to be having to turn to such locally grown produce because he could not afford the exported quality ingredients he usually gets. He slid them aside with his knife into the growing pile of chopped vegetables and spices to the left. He grabbed a bundle of garlic chives and smacked his lips together in a sour scowl as he started to chop them. He thought how ridiculous it was that he was accused of having used a stolen recipe in his dishes.
In his own shop.
In front of several customers.
Who were willing to pay! But when Charpasco, the disgruntled spice maker who was practically retired due to poor business decisions, walked in and proclaimed boldly “You mongrel! You stole that recipe from Jzedi, I saw you do it!” the willing-to-pay customers became revolted and reverted to disinterested customers. “Curse that fool Charpasco” Steinwasser muttered as he violently diced the chives, and moved onto velvet onions.
And if that was not enough, there came a critic from Fliegen Ort- Flying in upon the dazzling display of rich wind rippling brown feathered wings of the giant hawks the people from Fliegen Ort typically rode- that made a fool out of several chefs in the village. Chef Steinwasser included.
She dismounted her fowl steed and whipped her glorious hair in the wind, then walked mercilessly toward Erledigt’s shop, and came out a few minutes later and the shop had a “closed” sign on it. It was shut down. She made her way to the rest of the food shops in the area, and eventually got to Steinwasser’s.
Luckily he was able to hide the ever so slightly molded potatoes behind the counter before she saw them. And when she walked behind the counter he was able to whisk them away to the other side of the counter with his abilities, and then back to his side when she finished inspecting the back of the shop. This didn’t protect, however, against her giving his shop a low quality rating, stating that “The decor could be more lively, the produce a bit fresher, and the dishes a bit more unique. There could also be a kinder reception on the part of the owner.” The criticism made fumes congregate within Steinwasser’s mind. With the accusation from Charpasco and the shabby reputation that spread from that Fliegen Ort women’s mouth, business was rough.
Business was sparse.
Chef Steinwasser could barely afford getting more ingredients to make dishes to sell, let alone paying for fancy exotic ingredients to spice up his dishes to rekindle a reputation and get old customers to return. He needed to devise a way to get back into the game.
He chopped the velvet onions into fine slices and slid them into the pile. He looked over all the produce before him on the table. He walked over to the spice cupboard and checked it, though he knew it was empty. Not only was it dusty, but a slight cobweb was starting to form in it. Business so rough that he could not afford spices. Steinwasser definitely needed to get back into the game, or go out of business. He furrowed his brow and got to work.
Chef Steinwasser was approached a week earlier about a special gig. Fett Mann, the largely wealthy fisherman merchant, was going to be holding a dinner. But not just any dinner, a fancy dinner. But not just any fancy dinner, a fancy dinner with guests from distant lands, some of those guests possessing vast riches. And such a dinner would need to have exquisite meals served, with exotic variation to meet the needs of the foreign guests’ taste buds. Only the most skilled chef capable of preparing the rare cuisines would be up to the task of dishing up and delivering this divine dinner. And after four chefs turned down the gig due to their own shortcomings, the men came to his door asking him if he was able to.
Steinwasser knew he could do it, even though he neither had the funds to acquire the proper exportations nor the connections to acquire them. He knew he could do it because he had skills that were beyond those of a chef.
And so Chef Steinwasser had been preparing for the feast all that week, with an empty spice cupboard and only the most common non-expensive ingredients. And this day, he had begun preparing the dinner since early in the morning, when at evening the fancy feast was to be held.
Having finished preparing and assorting all the vegetables and meats upon the table into piles, he placed the cutlery back where it belonged. He got out the list that was given to him and studied the ingredients upon it.
Steinwasser had dealt with all these ingredients before, he remembered the taste of every one. In his early days as a chef he had thorough experience with a vast variety of strange cuisines, and made it his duty to sample each one of them. He knew that for a day such as this, a memory of those tastes would come in handy.
After skimming through the ingredients he decided upon one that was doable. He thought to himself which of the ingredients that he actually had on the table was in similar quality to it, or which of the cheap common ingredients that he could afford would taste the most like the expensive rare ingredient on the list.
“Hmmm…” He hovered his hand over the celery, then over the carrots. The ingredient he chose was Leckeren Fisch, a vegetable prized for it’s dark red colour and thickly rich fresh flavor, the perfect amount of sweet yet also fresh like rain water.
The only thing he had that resembled those qualities was carrots. Carrots are nowhere near the stupendous flavor of Leckeren Fisch obviously, but they didn’t need to be exactly the same.
It was at this point that the abilities that exceeded those of a chef Steinwasser possessed would come into play.
TO BE CONTINUED