“I’m afraid there aren’t any Chefs available at such short notice.” said the restaurant manager to the eager gentleman.
“Not even one?” he asked dejectedly.
“I’m sorry, Sir.”
“But I’m desperate. I really need a chef for my book!”
“For your book?”
“Yeah, I’m writing a book- a novel if you please, which takes an in-depth look into a chef’s life gone awry. It’s gonna make me millions! Since I don’t know anything about chefs, I thought it would be nice to do a bit of research on them. You know how any writer worth his salt is supposed to research his characters to make his writing more believable? It’s called ‘getting under the skin of the character’ …..”
“Get out!” screamed the manager.
“You want to hire a ‘Grandioso’ chef- one who is sought after by the elitist of the elite for some lousy book! It’s preposterous!”
“What? It’s not like I won’t pay him. In fact, he can have 1% of the royalties from the book sales…and an honourable mention in the book…though I can’t guarantee that I’ll use his real name – makes it seem more mysterious, you know?”
“I’m going! I’m going!”
As he walked away, Viz was still as determined as ever to get his writing career off the ground. He believed that he had found the easiest gimmick to get rich quickly – a writer was always only one best-seller away from becoming a billionaire, after all. And even though he didn’t know much about writing, he believed that ‘researching the character’ was absolutely essential. And since he was writing an epic science-fiction/fantasy/mystery with a chef as its protagonist, he needed a chef!
Viz looked around as he prodded on towards the bus stop. The street was full of fancy restaurants with glass windows. His eyes lit up as he saw a sign on one such window.
“Kitchen Help Wanted” it said.
“That amounts to a front row seat to a Chef’s performance” he thought. What better place to observe a chef than his kitchen itself. So, off he went to check if the vacancy still stood.
“I hope you have the requisite experience for the position?” the manager asked him after the preliminaries were complete.
“I can boil eggs.” Viz ventured.
“You’ve studied cooking at college, of course?”
“I boiled eggs when I was at college.” replied Viz earnestly. “I’m sorry but you’re unsuitable….” the manager was interrupted midway by a voice from behind the kitchen door.”Send him in.” the voice said.“Chi, this is Viz. He’s the latest applicant” He said to the lone person in the kitchen.
“Hmm…” he said looking him over with uncertainty.
“But, he doesn’t have the skills or the expe….” the manager began, but was stopped by Chi yet again.
“Don’t bother. Tell me Viz, can you boil eggs?”
“Done it all my life.”
“You’re hired.” Chi said quickly.
“I’ll leave you two to get acquainted.” said the dazed manager as he left.
Viz scrutinized the kitchen. It was rectangular in shape and had cabinets, for appliances and dishes, at one end and wash-basins at the other. There was a large rectangular marble slab, built around a pillar, in the centre of the room where the major cooking related activities seemed to take place. A bunch of wires were plugged into a switchboard near the wash-basins. The other end of the wires vanished under a door to the side.
“Where is the rest of the staff?” Viz enquired, looking around at the empty kitchen.
“What staff?” Chi said distantly. He seemed to be busy scribbling in a small notebook he had just taken out.
“The cooking staff! You couldn’t possibly run a restaurant kitchen with just two people, can you?”
“Oh, we manage to get by.” His scribbling intensified.
“How?” asked a bewildered Viz.
“I suppose I’d better tell you all.”
End of Chapter I