Delicious and curious sci-fi story!
Chef Lukas Larsgaard is feeling very nervous today. Seventy-eight guests and a twelve-course tasting menu await him today — a serious professional challenge for him personally and his entire restaurant team.
Every dish has been carefully thought out and honed down to the finest detail, every wine has been selected with exceptional care to create an unforgettable range of gourmet sensations.
The dinner as a whole should be a masterpiece and mark the pinnacle of Chef Lucas's career. He has even prepared a special surprise for his guests at the end of the meal. Everything has to go perfectly. Unless the hot-tempered Larsgaard kills his careless assistants during service. Or they kill him.
“Cucumber jelly. Service in two minutes!” Lucas Larsgaard shouted.
“Move your arses, you cretins! Chop, chop!”
He walked along the rows of plates bearing yet another delicious appetizer to be served before the main course. He carefully examined each portion, discarding those that didn’t meet his approval.
“Reject. Substitute the microgreens here. Throw this one away,” he took one of the servings off the counter and broke off a piece of the jelly and fruit caviar using a fork. “That’s okay.” The rest can be served. Move, move, you bastards, the guests are already waiting!”
The cucumber, lime juice and martini jelly had a thin layer of tiny cubes of fresh cucumber crowned with finely grated lime zest. On the flat top of this cylinder of jelly lay a pile of translucent yellow caviar processed out of fresh bergamot juice. Served next to this, was a tiny cup of basil and lemongrass cappuccino. And around the jelly itself, thin coils of raw zucchini spaghetti and Bok choy microgreens had been woven into a delicate web.
An exceptional combination of freshness and savory subtlety to clear the palate of the salty fishiness of the previous starter.
The jelly was served with a 2155 vintage Chateau de Charmelac that had been chilled to almost zero degrees. The perfect combination. Chef Larsgaard took one sip from the small tasting glass and poured out the rest of the priceless wine. He needed to keep a clear head. Seventy-eight guests and a twelve-course tasting menu was a serious challenge.
Lucas glanced briefly and wearily at the pantry door where his folding bed stood. In recent weeks, he had spent most of his nights here in his kitchen. This damned job took all his strength. Real slave labor. Sometimes he caught himself hating this restaurant, this damned kitchen and basically everything to do with food with every fiber of his soul. I wish I could send the whole shebang to hell and escape! Dreams, dreams, dreams…
“Benny, have you checked the sauce for the wagyu?”
“Yes, chef!” — the saucier shouted back.
“And so..? How is the sauce, you idiot?”
“It’s good, chef,” the cook answered calmly.
“Then bring it the fuck over here then,” Lucas shouted unable to restrain himself and, rubbing his tired eyes, muttered through his teeth, “I’m surrounded by dunderheads.”
The sauce was fine, but Larsgaard demanded perfection and control at every stage of the preparation.
“Carl! Fry me up a portion of Wagyu medallions with all the trimmings. Emma, pour me some Barolo to go with it. Has it already been decanted?”
“Yes, chef!” — both assistants answered in unison.
‘Freakin’ freaks! There were times when Lucas wanted to throttle every one of these half-baked cretins with his own bare hands. Grab his knife and slice the lot of them up, chop them up into tiny pieces, screaming out his rage and accumulated exhaustion in the process. He would go to sleep nurturing this thought, savoring it like one of the finest wines from the ample cellar of this elite restaurant.
The main course today was mini wagyu medallions, smoked with laurel and mango wood smoke, and then lightly seared with a gas torch. With a black garlic, whisky and miso butter sauce. Accompanied by a white truffle carpaccio and mini salad of amaranthus microgreens and nasturtium flowers. And a glass of vintage Barolo 2151.
Lucas had spent a long time preparing this dish, seasoning each medallion himself, using his own mixture of spices, which included secret ingredients that he kept carefully concealed from his assistants.
Chef Larsgaard loved complex secret ingredients, he was constantly experimenting with them in his head and was always on the lookout for especially sophisticated flavor combinations. He did not want to try them out in the kitchen in the presence of his sous-chefs, to keep them from discovering his secrets. But his deep knowledge of cooking, physics and chemistry allowed him to carry out all his experiments in his head, so that he might then come up with a ready-made solution for his next ingenious dish.
“On its way, chef!” — the sommelier shouted, rushing up to him with a decanter and glass.
The Barolo had had a good airing and was ready to serve. Ten minutes to go.
“On its way, chef!” The boucher responded as he walked up to him. “Here you are.”
“Thank you,” Lucas brought the plate to his face, lightly pressed the medallion with a fork and checked how the pink meat juice flowed out of it.
He cut a small medallion of wagyu in half, sniffed it, closed his eyes in bliss and popped it into his mouth. Amazing! Then he dipped the other half into the buttery warm sauce and tried again. Intense tears of pleasure came to his eyes. He slowly chewed the tender, juicy beef, savoring the combination of flavors from the dry-aged meat, the marbled fat, the smoke, the seared crust, the fermented garlic, the volcanic salt and his special blend of spices.
Then he scooped up some truffles and salad with a fork:
“The salad needs a little more salt!”
“Yes, chef!” Louise nodded, waiting for her tasting.
“Get on with it, you fucking idiots! Plate up the vegetables, salads, sauces. Carl, tell your cretins to start frying the meat. Five minutes until service!”
“Yes, chef!” — the assistants responded in unison.
Inept, brainless bastards! Lucas mentally reached for his knife and imagined how he would slice open each of these useless nobodies. One by one. And then set fire to the kitchen and calmly leave through the back door with a bottle of wine and a tray of fried wagyu. He could fry the wagyu while the kitchen was catching alight. Larsgaard grinned as he imagined the scene.
He had not previously been in the habit of shouting at his staff. He had worked as a chef in one of the world’s coolest restaurants in Copenhagen. To get a reservation required booking a table a year in advance. But it was worth it. Chef Lucas’s cuisine was remarkable for its creativity and amazing balance between the innovative and traditional, modern trends and classic masterpieces.
He had an amazing team of professionals working with him. And no matter how difficult it got, order and harmony had always reigned in his kitchen. He never lashed out at anyone because they had always been one big family. They were his people.
And what people they were! Real, living, breathing people, and not these sodding androids that had been foisted on him here instead of his team of cooks. Soulless metal abominations. Lucas hated them.
Not only because they were completely devoid of any human spark and creativity and could only accurately carry out the tasks assigned to them and create the dishes they had been programmed to.
And not only because there was no one he could have a heart-to-heart with, or joke while he was working, or a drink after a hard shift. And, likewise, not because it was pointless trying to exchange ideas for new recipes or discussing changes to the menu with them.
The fucking useless machines! What infuriated Larsgaard the most about them was that every day they reminded him of the team, who he would never see again. They reminded him too much of his own people. All those people who had disappeared from his life.
(end of the sample - for further read please download this story for free following the links above)
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