kitchenhands

cutthroat kitchen au: lunchbox surprise (pt. 4)

[start at the beginning] | header by @thecatsbian

  • the first elimination shocks everyone a little
  • sure, everyone expected chef root to go home first, i mean
  • she spent thousands of dollars to tie herself to chef shaw
  • clearly her head wasn’t exactly in the game
  • but now that roots gone, no one exactly knows who’s going to go next
  • it could be any of them
  • well. carter is pretty sure it isn’t going to be her
  • the other two look shaken
  • this is calmer than a normal day in her kitchen
  • reese is a little worried about his own safety
  • he severely underestimated just how much being super super gay takes out of you
  • he feels exhausted just from all the pining
  • its a rough life
  • chef shaw hopes its going to be chef reese eliminated
  • shed definitely like to use the final round to get a little closer to chef carter
  • chef carter wouldn’t exactly be opposed to that, either
  • she and shaw exchange a look as the wardrobe crew hand out clean chef’s jackets and powder harold’s nose
  • he gets always little sweat-shiny watching the chefs compete
  • chef carter shoots a quick look at reese
  • he’s very busy watching a makeup artist apply the slightest amount of colour to harold finch’s lips
  • (you snooze, you lose, big guy)
  • her eyes meet shaw’s, and she jerks her head towards chef reese
  • shaw nods, slightly, straightening her back
  • she runs her hands over her cleavers
  • carter genuinely hopes she knows she meant “let’s sabotage chef reese” not “let’s kill chef reese with our kitchen utensils”
  • the stagehands disperse and zoe counts them in
  • “hello once again, chefs. i see one fewer of you standing in front of me” finch says
  • he doesn’t really realize he’s as needlessly dramatic as he is
  • but its what really makes the shows concept work so they let it slide
  • “i don’t believe i need to explain to you how this round works. so, i’ll just tell you right now- you’ll now be making me a trifle. go!”
  • well, they definitely haven’t lost any energy since last round
  • chef carter is first through the pantry doors, lunging for the sherry and grabbing a bottle of sweet tio pepe, diving into the fridge for whipped cream
  • shaw and reese jam through the doors at the same time, nearly knocking each other into the produce shelves
  • “watch where you’re going” shaw snarls as she grabs every citrus fruit she can see
  • “no need to be aggressive” reese mumbles as he gets the dry ingredients for his poundcake
  • shaw stares at him blankly for a second
  • what the fuck is he doing with flour?
  • oh, shit right
  • trifle has poundcake in it
  • shaw grabs the bag of confectioner’s sugar before he can, leaving him and carter to scrounge for replacements
  • carter jolts out, hot on shaw’s heels, while reese is looking desperately for eggs
  • “ten seconds, chef reese. you had better hurry”
  • reese meets finch’s eyes from across the closing doors
  • he can go without eggs. what he can’t go with is ignoring a direct order from harold fucking finch
  • he stumbles out, a few steps after carter, just as the doors snap closed behind him
  • he’s got most of his ingredients, he’s lucky that way
  • unlike shaw
  • who has managed to forget one very important third of her ingredients: the custard
  • chef carter notices, and whistles through her teeth
  • “you are making one dry trifle there, chef”
  • shaw puffs up, makes to move towards joss
  • “not as dry as your-”
  • “settle down, chef shaw,” finch commands, popping open his briefcase again “or i’ll put the first sabotage on you”
  • she opens her mouth to talk back, because like, he cant just do that
  • but then she remembers how he literally let root tie herself to her
  • she gets a feeling that harold finch can do whatever he wants in his kitchen
  • “now that we’re all paying attention, how about we begin this auction? now, this may be a little different than other auctions we’ve had in the past- but there are three of you, and as you know- three main ingredients in trifle. so, let’s get this started, chefs!”
  • joss nods a little to herself
  • its a smart way to do it okay
  • not that she’s sympathizing with this weird kitchen sadist or anything
  • the elevator drops
  • finch pulls out… a box of fruit creme peek freans?
  • chef reese gulps a little
  • “if you win this item in the auction, you can force one of your competitors to replace all the fruit in their baskets with- just wait a moment, let me demonstrate just how cruel this one is-”
  • chef shaw rolls her eyes but john is visibly sweating
  • everyone watches as finch takes a cookie out of the packaging, and with a little effort
  • (and only two retakes to make it look like he gets it on the first try)
  • he cleanly opens the cookie to show just how little jam there is inside
  • “these jellied fruit.. confections. if i’m honest with you, chefs, i’m not even sure what flavor they are”
  • shaw has 20,000$, carter is at 21,500$, and reese still has his full 25,000$
  • that isn’t going to last for long
  • zoe gets the perfect panning shot over all three contestants faces as they shout “five thousand” in unison
  • “fifty one!” chef shaw ups it before the other two can even get in
  • reese’s solemn voice has a hint of desperation in it when he throws in his “6000”
  • carter brings it up to seven
  • shaw brings it up to eight before she remembers her agreement with chef carter, shooting around to give her a wide-eyed look
  • carter nods wildly and gives her a look which very clearly says “yes, you idiot, the deal’s still on”
  • chef reese, noticing they have some sort of deal, drives it up to 10k
  • shaw’s eyes are like lazers burning holes in his forehead “you’re going to play that fucking game, reese?”
  • “chef shaw, behave-” finch starts to reprimand
  • “10,100, harold” she spits and both carter and reese are quiet
  • reese’s smug grin when she drops the cookies in front of him is almost too much to bear
  • “enjoy them, chef reese,” chef carter chimes in from her station, “they’re worth more than my car”
  • he eats one out of spite
  • crumbs running down his face like a third grader
  • “this next auction item, contestants, as you can all see- some delicious pudding cups, in a variety of flavours. we have custard, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry. if you win this item, your opponent will be forced to replace their custard or custard like ingredient with these cups. and no, chef shaw, you cannot buy them for yourself”
  • “but you let root-”
  • “what i let chef root do last round does not matter. this is this round. chefs, start bidding”
  • cut to post-production interview with john
  • “anyone could see that chef carter and chef shaw had some sort of arrangement. i thought carter would buy the custard for shaw, so her trifle wasn’t as dry as death valley beef jerky”
  • back in the kitchen, carter gives shaw a look
  • sure, she COULD help her new teammate out
  • but looking at the angry little woman now, well
  • would chef shaw really do the same for her?
  • “5000$” carter throws in and neither reese nor shaw combat her
  • shaw’s cute, sure
  • and she has a way around a kitchen, joss has to admit that
  • but this isn’t match.com. she’s here to win
  • she collects her pudding from finch (“thank you, sir” “where did that come from, chef carter?”) and delivers it to a very
  • very
  • confused reese
  • “but i already have the cookies” he says
  • pastry chefs must be trained into making sad puppy faces in culinary school or something
  • “taylor used to dip his in the chocolate cups. called it lunchbox fondu. if my son can make a recipe out of that, so can you”
  • (“hardly a recipe” shaw mutters low enough that only her lavalier mic can hear)
  • chef reese shoots a pitiful glance at harold, who is moved enough to come over and
  • pat
  • him
  • on
  • the
  • shoulder
  • oh my god
  • reese could faint i mean with how obviously hes been in love with the man for the entire filming of the episode the fact that finch isnt too freaked out to touch him is
  • amazing
  • life-changing
  • his jaw opens a little and he gapes as harold limps back to his podium
  • theres something a little self-satisfied in his limp
  • i mean, again
  • man’s never been crushed on before. he’s having a good time with it
  • and not to mention just how handsome reese looks when he’s speechless
  • he almost wishes he could have made one of the auction items a gag
  • harold, stay civil. he collects himself
  • finch calls the final sabotage down the dumbwaiter and oh he is just so EXCITED to see where this one goes
  • he has a feeling that the girls are going to team up on reese once again, even if the poor man seems to think he’s out of the woods
  • “i’m sure you understand the story by now, chefs- if you win this, you will be allowed to swap out any ingredients for poundcake (or poundcake substitute) one of your opponents may have”
  • at first, they aren’t quite sure what they’re looking at
  • just looks like an unlabelled bag of white fluff
  • then, he pulls one out. inside the bag are the largest marshmallows any of them have ever seen
  • they’re the size of small balloons, and very, very fragrantly sweet
  • before finch can even ask them to start bidding, reese calls out 7000$
  • cut to post-production interview with carter
  • she’s pointing straight at the camera and talking
  • “you know what, finch? sometimes, you got good taste. i saw those marshmallows, and i knew that would be the perfect way to improve the palate of my dish. no, i didn’t bid. i was hoping i got those”
  • chef shaw’s interview, on the other hand
  • “i’ve never cooked with a marshmallow in my life, what the (bleep) do you do with those?”
  • of course, she starts bidding
  • carters watching those two jump to outbid each other when sameen yells out 10k
  • “hey, chef shaw, don’t you only have 9900$?”
  • finch nods approvingly
  • “chef carter is right, chef shaw. that is the last of your money- not 10,000”
  • the gears turn in shaw’s head for a second, frozen in place at her station
  • “well- 9900$!”
  • reese, for the first time any of them have seen him doing it, really laughs
  • in fact, he laughs so hard that he forgets to bid
  • and to no one’s surprise, a second later, shaw is taking all the flour and sugar out of his basket, and replacing with marshmallows
  • “yeah, laugh it up, pennywise–”
  • “-you’re broke, shaw. what was the point?” he asks as he watches some kitchenhands return his lovely ingredients to the fridge
  • shaw thinks for a second
  • “beating you, loser”
  • as if things couldnt get any more conflicting, finch says “a goal we can all live up to”and john has to clench every muscle in his body to fight what would be the most poorly timed erection in food network history
  • watching chef reese’s face out of the corner of his eye, harold finch continues his speech
  • “now that sabotages have been, well, rather unfairly distributed, i believe your cooking time, chefs, begins… now!”