Author's Note: I wanted to actually write about something that I love and enjoy, so I figured cooking and Twilight. I'm taking alot of my own experiences and rewriting them for Bella's and Edward's benefit in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did writing it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
"Bella, I need the food for table 12!"
"Give me a minute, Alice, just waiting for the sauce reduce..." I say, while running a spoon across the bottom of the pan to check for that beautiful nape consistency.
Alice is our top server in the restaurant. With her perky attitude, confidence in the food, and beautiful features, the customers happen to request her every time they come in. She's the reason I'm swamped with orders tonight.
I feel Alice come up behind me and stare in the pan.
"Mmm, I always love when you're behind the line, Bella. The food always smells better coming from your station."
When I'm sure the sauce is finished, I turn around and take a plate off the warming tray. I quickly grab my pans off the stove and start to plate up the dish. I lightly dip my finger in the borderlaise sauce and stick it in my mouth. The flavor combination will work, bringing together the fruitiness of the beef and bold flavors of the dish.
Alice dips her finger in as well and her face lights up. "You'll have to make me that later. Hurry up, I'm sure they're getting impatient."
Plating up the rest of the order, I pull the check from the rack and hand it to Alice. "Order up!"
Smiling, Alice takes the plates and rushes out of the kitchen in a flash.
I sigh, hoping this would be last order of the night. I check in my little reach-ins for anything that needs to be re-stocked before the night is up. Making a list, I walk downstairs, take a hotel pan, and make my way into the walk-in.
The cool air hits my hot skin, making me shiver slightly. I stand there for a few seconds, letting the walk-in cool me off. Working the line alone tonight has me sweating. I unbutton the top button on my chef coat and pull it to the side. I fell my body relax slightly as I breathe in the cool air. Heading to the vegetable shelf, I hear the door open quietly.
"There you are, Bella."
Jumping slightly, I turn around, meeting Edward, the head chef of the restaurant. He always pops up when I'm in the walk-in. I should know this. He's done this numerous times, mainly for the humor of the whole situation. Luckily, no food was in the pan.
"I'm just restocking the reach-ins. Running low on a couple of vegetables and some meats. It wasn't a busy night, so I figured I'd do it now."
He steps closer to me, showing me his crooked grin. "Here, I'll do it. Alice is waiting for you to make her that dish. She didn't say what it was called, but I heard you put it on the specials for tonight."
I shake my head slightly. "There weren't any specials. I threw a few things together, invented a name, and put it on there. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. It was very good. However..." He hesitates for a few moments, thinking. "It was missing something. I'm not sure what it is, but it needs something else. How about we make it together after you close down?"
I nod. He holds his hand out for the list and pan. Meeting his topaz eyes, I gently give him both items and turn to leave.
"When you close down, don't burn yourself on anything tonight, please? I believe we're running a little low on burn cream..."
Walking out, I fell the blood rushing to my cheeks. He always has to make fun of me for burning myself since that night a few months ago. Granted, it was a bad burn, but I've been careful (if you call careful burning yourself every other night).
I make my way back up the stairs to the kitchen to find Mike, our rather unpopular-with-the-ladies server, waiting for me. I slightly roll my eyes and head to the reach-in, mentally going over the ingredients that I need to make the special dish.
"Whatcha doing, cutie?" He walks closer to me and leans against the stove, unbuttoning the top button on his uniform shirt.
"Getting ingredients out, Mike." I say in a bored voice, making sure to button up my chef coat, lest he gets any ideas.
"What are you making? There's no more customers out there."
I turn around, my hands full of various items, and immediately bump into Mike. When did he move that close to me? Apologizing without actually meaning it, I move to my cutting board and start dicing onions.
The onions are strong and soon the sulfuric acid is hitting my eyes, making them tear slightly. My nose is running a bit, but I'm used to it. I grab the towel from my back pocket, wipe my face, then return it. Grabbing another onion, I start the dicing process over again.
"Want to go to the bar and get a drink?" He breathes right into my ear.
Startled, I feel the knife slip from the onion and enter the side of my index finger. I stand there, not paying attention to what Mike is now saying, which sounds something along the lines of "blood, onion, your finger, crap".
I look at my finger, noticing the blood coming out. The smell hits my nose and immediately I'm engulfed with a wave of nausea, which brings me staggering toward the first-aid kit.
I notice Alice walk through the doors.
"Oh lord, did you cut yourself? How?"
Rushing over to me, she notices the blood coming from my finger and knows that I'll be sick within seconds.
"Mike, get a garbage can or something! Don't just stand there!"
I hear Mike walking slowly away, mumbling something about Alice being pushy and slightly overprotective of me.
"Bella, you'll be fine, let's get to the sink and rinse your hand."
I nod my head, but make no attempt to move. It useless for her to do this, she knows this. I'm going to be sick; I can feel my stomach contract as the smell hits my nose again. Breathing through my mouth, I shudder slightly, hoping I won't miss the garbage can this time.
When I come back from my thinking, Alice is looking me in the eyes, a wet towel wrapped around my hand, and a bowl of freshly chopped herbs stuck in my nose.
"Breathe in, Bella. It'll help."
I inhale the fresh scents of rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Immediately I'm taken away from the smell of blood and back into the kitchen, remembering the first dish I had made with fresh herbs. The smell as they sautИed in the pan, the taste that enveloped the food, the flavors dancing over my tongue.
And now I'm at the sink. Alice, the little miracle worker, is my savior again.
"Keep breathing in those herbs, Bella. It'll be done soon."
I nod, continuing to inhale the wonderful scents.
"It's a good thing I know how to handle you when you cut yourself. Almost done. The water running over it should stop it soon. I don't think you'll need stitches, but you got yourself good this time. How did this happen? You rarely cut yourself, only burn yourself. Speaking of which, I have to ask Edward if he can order in more burn cream..."
I decide to stop paying attention to Alice. Whenever some disaster happens, she babbles. I know she does this to take my mind off of whatever has happened to me this time. But, honestly, how many other people are going to bring up the burn cream today?
"Mike said you needed something in here, Bella. I assumed it was burn cream. Am I right?"
Inhale, Bella, I tell myself. Just let it go.
Emmett, the server who is known as I-get-the-ladies-to-continue-ordering-drinks-from-me-because-I'm-handsome, walks over to the sink and looks in. "Well, it looks like Jasper wins the bet tonight. He said Bella would cut her finger since we're low on the burn cream. Alice, can I borrow twenty bucks?"
Alice stifles a low giggle. "Go away, Emmett. Bella cut herself, emergency! You know? Get some bandages or something for me, will you?"
"Fine, but can I still borrow the twenty? Or can we keep this a secret? I really didn't want to lose to Jasper."
I groan, knowing full well that the betting has been going on around here. Every night, someone wins or someone loses. And the loser usually gives me a dirty look.
"You know this won't be a secret. What happens in the kitchen, doesn't stay in the kitchen. Especially when it comes to Bella."
"Completely unlike Las Vegas."
And in walks Rosalie, the beautiful infamous bartender. Many female customers have complained about Rose breaking up their dates for the evening. When they are asked what she did, the customer can't come up with anything except saying, "She gave him a look."
"What is it today? A burn? How much burn cream can you go through in a week, Bella?" Rose taps her foot on the ground for good effect.
Shaking my head, I look up and smile at Rose. She smiles back, then grimaces. "A cut? Are you kidding? Great. I lost to Jasper for the second time this week. Bella, why can't you do what I bet you are going to do?"
"Wait, you bet on me too?" I ask. I never knew Rose to be that person.
"Well, no offense, but it does help the work day go a bit faster. Jasper's going to get a lot of money tonight. The whole front bet you would burn yourself."
"At least it isn't as bad as the time you slipped from the spilled grease and smacked your head on the oven. No one won that day." Emmett says.
I think back to that day, which was just a few nights ago. "Wait, what other bets do you have going on about me?"
Alice, Emmett, and Rose look to one another.
"None," they say all together.
Wait, something doesn't seem right.
"Bella, sit down so I can bandage your hand." Alice tells me and leads me to a chair.
I notice my finger has stopped bleeding and I hold it up to my face. The cut is rather deep, nicking my finger nail in the process. So much for good looking hands, I remind myself. Looking at my hands, I notice my nails are short, there are burn marks on my fingers and on the back of my hands, and I have a callous where I hold the knife. I groan. They'll never be pretty again.
Alice tears my hand from my inspection. "This might sting, but it should clean away any infection. Remember to smell the herbs."
Right, I forgot about the herbs. Emmett sticks them back up my nose and I inhale. A slight burning sensation occurs on my fingertip and then pressure. I look down and notice it's wrapped neatly and Alice is smiling up at me.
"All good now. See? It wasn't that bad."
And here comes Jasper, our maitre d'. I don't know how he handles upset customers, but somehow their aggravation ends up with them saying they'll be back because of the wonderful experience.
⌠"Why the sad faces? It's closing time. Let's..."
And then he stares at me. His eyes travel to my finger that Alice is still holding. And then back up to the bowl that is shoved in my nose. "Oh? That's not the usual treatment for Bella's burns."
Emmett stares at Alice, Alice looks to Rose, Rose looks to me. "Um, I fell?"
"No dice, Bella. That's a cut. Pay up everyone." And he proceeds to hold out his hand to everyone in the kitchen.
Grumbling, they pull the money out their pockets, even Alice, and hand it over to Jasper.
He looks at Alice. "I didn't know you were in on it."
"I, um, well..."
Alice is speechless? Wait, what exactly is going on here?
"No worries, Alice. You don't have to pay me. Besides, if I'm not mistaken, Emmett still owes you money from the last time he lost to me, right?" He smiles at Alice and gives her a wink.
Emmett moves the bowl from my nose and shakes his head. "How do you always know what is going to happen in the kitchen, Jasper? The other bet we have--" All eyes turn to me, Alice's showing humor and knowledge.
I look at Emmett. "I asked earlier, what other bets do you have on me? I thought it was just what could happen to the rather clumsy chef in the kitchen..." I trail off, looking at their faces, waiting for an explanation.
In that instant, Alice's face lights up and looks to Rose. "Come on, guys. Let's close up. Bella, are you okay to close up on your own?"
"Wait! I asked you guys a question..."
"Sorry, Bella, but we're on the clock, no time right now." Alice scurries from the kitchen, grabbing Rose by the hand in the process and succeeds in having Jasper and Emmett follow them like little puppies.
Another Note: If anyone has any questions about food or other terminology, just let me know. But for now, I'll just give the brief description.
Borderlaise Sauce: sauce made with a dry red wine, bone marrow, shallots, and demi-glace (it's absolutely delish)
Maitre d': Basically the standard host in your restaurant, but for the classiness, the name. And he basically runs operations in the front of the house.
Chapter 2 is in the works, please be patient. I'm almost out of work for the semester (5 weeks vacation!) and it's taking up some time. Expect the next chapter by this weekend.