I'm BAAAAAACK! Did you miss me? I missed y'all... Like. So much. That hiatus lasted a lot longer than I thought, BUT, I've been working on this story since May. It's crazy. I'm almost halfway through writing it and I thought... why not just post it now? So here I am! You're wishes have come true! LOL! Anyways, I've got goal. I want to reach 1k+ reviews by the time this story is complete. Would y'all be awesome and do that for me? Pretty please? You'd be the best! So... Here's the Prologue! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Chuck as Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz are the gods of their creation and Warner Brothers hasn't put up the brand for sale.
It was an old abandoned warehouse in Hollywood Heights: dingy, dusty, disgusting. And Sarah loved it. After meeting with a realtor, an architect, and a contractor, the construction of her new restaurant, Il Castello, was underway.
It had always been a dream of Sarah's to open her own restaurant. Having grown up in Hell's Kitchen, New York, Sarah was surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the United States and that was what set her on her path as a chef. During her high school years, Sarah had taken every culinary class her school had to offer, joined every culinary competition, and worked at some of the finest restaurants in New York. Granted, being a minor, she worked as part of the wait staff, or as a hostess. At one restaurant, she'd worked as a busboy – or was it 'busgirl'?
By the fall semester of her senior year in high school, Sarah Walker had gotten word that she had been accepted into the CIA – The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park campus) – one of the most renowned culinary schools in the world, on a full scholarship. There, she earned her Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts and her Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Science, graduating both times at the top of her class, all the while working as the head chef in a couple of different restaurants around Hell's Kitchen. From there, she transferred to the CIA's Napa Valley campus for one year to take part in their Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate Program.
Upon receiving her certificate, Sarah found work in Modena, Italy, as the Head Chef of Il Ristorante di Cibo. There, she earned the restaurant three Michelin stars in three successive years, making her the youngest chef to ever receive three Michelin stars in the world. Despite her success, Sarah still hadn't fulfilled her dream of opening her own restaurant. So, four months after receiving her third Michelin star, Sarah packed her bags and moved back to the United States.
Her family had asked her, "Why Los Angeles?" As a response, Sarah only shrugged. It was new. She'd spent a couple of weekends in Los Angeles whilst at the CIA in Napa, and she'd felt as though the food scene was different in the City of Angels; it was different, eccentric, exciting. She wanted to be a part of it. So, she rented an apartment at Maison23 and found an abandoned building in Hollywood Heights to transform into her very own restaurant.
As the building was being renovated and her restaurant built, Sarah spent the downtime planning her menu, and interviewing and auditioning the members of her kitchen staff. She had plenty of fresh faces that could hold themselves up to Sarah's standards. She also got some older, more seasoned chefs auditioning for a spot on her kitchen staff. Knowing the importance of a good dynamic amongst the members of a kitchen staff, Sarah made her choices based on not only skill, but also personality. She also hired her old friend, John Casey, as her kitchen manager. They'd worked together over a summer in one of the restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. He was the kitchen manager there while she worked as the kitchen's prep cook. She was pleasantly surprised to find that he'd moved to Los Angeles some years ago, with his wife for his daughter, Alex, who went to UCLA and would be graduating by the end of next spring. He'd accepted the job right away, happy to leave the current place he worked at.
She was also pleasantly surprised to receive an application for the front-of-house manager position from Michael "Big Mike" Tucker. They, too, had worked together in the restaurant business back in New York – though it was a different restaurant than the one she'd worked at with John Casey. At the time, she'd worked as a waitress and he as the front-of-house manager. Big Mike's reason for moving out to Los Angeles had been because of he and his wife's divorce. He wanted a fresh start, as far away from his ex as possible.
With her two managers and kitchen staff in place, Sarah had the luxury to delegate certain tasks and responsibilities, allowing her to focus on the big picture: the soul of her restaurant. After generating a preliminary menu, Sarah rented out a kitchen space from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, and had her kitchen staff test it out. Casey would supervise and get back with her with the results. Big Mike actually volunteered to interview the front-of-house staff for Sarah, to which Sarah shrugged and handed him the stack of applications. She trusted him to pick out the best possible staff.
Sarah, on the other hand, was meeting with interior designers in order to try and catch the exact atmosphere she wanted for her restaurant. She wanted to a combine the classic, medieval, castle-like look with the more modern, elegant, mansion look to represent the creation of traditional dishes though modern techniques.
Before long, her restaurant was complete and fully furnished with custom made furniture and top of the line equipment in the kitchen. She spent the first couple weeks finalizing her menu and getting to know her kitchen staff. Then, she checked in on the wait staff's training to make sure that they were up to her standards. They were, by all intents, the face of the restaurant. They were whom the customers interacted with and if they weren't up to par… Well, Sarah couldn't have that. The front-of-house service was just as important as the back-of-house service. Once Sarah was completely confident in her staff and their food, she scheduled a preview dinner with some of the celebrity chefs that resided in Los Angeles. She wanted to get their opinions on her dishes and their thoughts on her possible success.
A week after the successful dinner, in which all the chefs in attendance sang praises for the dishes, the atmosphere, and the wait staff, Il Castello had it's grand opening. Reservations were made from the moment of announcement and were never ending. They were already up to a month's notice for reservations. The house was packed all though out the night, leaving the entire kitchen staff in the weeds. Despite the chaos that ensued in the kitchen, Il Castello had a very successful opening night and very successful subsequent nights.
By that point, Sarah Walker was living her dream. And what a dream it was.
And there you have it! I'll try to get regular updates but no promises this time around. School is pretty hectic still.
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