chef's lab

Crossing Knives, Chapter 2: Gourmet Appetizers and Al Fresco Dining

Here we go again! I know I said I’d try writing shorter chapters and updating more often… but my brain disagreed with that idea, so this chapter is 4000 words long and a couple of weeks late. Oh well…

There are several new characters on this chapter, so later today I’ll do another post with some photo collages and face claims. Just so you know what everybody looks like. I promise less introduction and more action in chapter 3!

Credit note: the tattoos that adorn Tom’s skin in the story, including his trademark knife and fork, belong in real life to Chef Michael Voltaggio. Every time you see a tattooed arm in one of my images, it’s really MV.

Very special thanks to my lovely beta theothercourse. You’re the best.

All kinds of feedback and comments are welcome, positive and negative. Thank you for reading!

Chapter 2: Gourmet Appetizers and Al Fresco Dining    

It was the end of a busy evening at the small but modern kitchen of Band of Brothers. Dinner service was almost over, which meant that the busiest person in the building was Connor, the pastry chef. He assembled with exquisite care the last three desserts of the night, with the assistance of one of the cooks. A moment later, two sets of pistachio financiers and one delicious looking butterscotch pudding were ready to go, and the young man made a sign for the servers to take away the plates.

“You really outdid yourself today, my boy. They look so pretty that the eaters are going to be too gobsmacked to eat them!” said Birdie, the woman who had been helping him with the dessert course. After more than thirty years working as a line cook in several restaurants, she was an expert at her job, despite never having set foot in a culinary school. Her permanent smile and cheerful voice, in her trademark Eastern European accent, had helped her become the most beloved member of the restaurant’s staff. Not even Chef Tom on his bad days (of which he had been having quite a lot lately) dared to utter a bad word when Birdie was in the kitchen.

“Birdie, love, you’ve helped me with these a hundred times… I’m sure I could leave any moment and you’d be able to make all the desserts without any help”, answered Connor, undoing the collar of his chef coat with a tired smile. “But I’m glad we’re finished. Tom has been especially grouchy today, I’ll be glad to leave before he gets out of Luke’s office. I wonder what are they talking about… I swear I heard them shouting at each other a minute ago.”

“Not grouchy, my boy… hungover. I bet that chap has been partying again, and Mr. Windsor is telling him off.” Birdie sighed, with her eyes fixed on her boss’s office door. “I wonder how he can cook like that after getting pissed every night.”

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