A Fight to the Bone (Broth)

by Matteo M


By Matteo M.
A Tall Task
On a bright August day, the dazzling Burj Khalifa glimmered with sunlight as it towered over the rest of Dubai. Inside, a blizzard of white, lofty hats rushed around a stark industrial kitchen like hummingbirds. Peering over the chefs like a hawk stood the venomous Jane Grimer, her stream of curt orders bouncing off the steel walls like gunfire. Tomorrow, Jane’s family would attempt to make a show-stopping dinner at their restaurant, Poulet, for the richest elites in the city so that their eatery would triumph as one of the best fine-dining experiences in the world.

Two hundred floors lower, a suit-wearing, fine Italian jewelry-clad Gerald Jenkins paced around a gleaming, chandelier-filled dining hall. Half the chefs in his three-Michelin-Star restaurant had simply vanished; furthermore, the Michelin critics would flood into the eatery in only a month for their yearly evaluation to wreck Gerald’s chefless business with scornful reviews. Gerald needed to find a solution to save his grandmother’s restaurant, and fast. Suddenly, the solution to his puzzle came to him.
At noon sharp the next day, a wave of journalists, elites, and critics stampeded into Poulet’s golden dining hall. Gerald Jenkins rushed in with them, hoping to gain inspiration for the recovery of his restaurant. Within seconds of sitting down, everyone was brought a stunning appetizer: four meticulously crafted pieces of creamy ravioli sprinkled with gold leaf. Gerald, expecting pure sensual delight, immediately dug in. The rich, velvety pasta melted away like silk on his tongue. Hints of basil, sage, and coriander popped like fireworks on his palate, particularly the coriander. CORIANDER!?!?! The realization rammed into Gerald like a furious bull. Only his employees knew about Grandma Jenkins’s secret spice. Peeping into Poulet’s kitchen, Gerald spotted ten of his old chefs preparing the next course. Right in the middle of it all stood a young girl smiling wickedly. Now that all your old employees have suddenly vanished, your chances at beating Poulet for a Michelin Star have disappeared as well! Gerald, taking one last look at the sneering teenager, stormed out of the kitchen. Gerald would earn his grandmother’s respect by managing a famous and successful business. From that point forward, the battle for the prestigious Michelin Stars began to rage.
A Mischievous Turn
A week later, Gerald had finished scouring the internet for the best chefs in the city and had improvised a team of seven experienced cooks, who now watched keenly as Gerald added coriander seeds to an unctuous pasta sauce. Unbeknownst to the businessman, a pair of taunting eyes and a smirk watched him from behind an iron safe.

Right as Gerald sat down to rest from cooking, a loud CLANG sounded from his living room. Gerald sprinted as quickly as he could to the noise, yet only the wind of an open door greeted him. Far in the distance, the thin frame of Jane Grimer bounced along, carrying a pair of bolt cutters in one hand and a thick stack of ancient papers in the other. Grandma’s recipes. In a frenzy, Gerald shot out into the warm summer night, making it a mere thirty steps before collapsing on the floor. From the haze of his exhaustion, Gerald vowed revenge.
Caught on Carpet
The next day, Gerald slid into his Rolls-Royce and sneakily followed Jane in her thundering Bugatti. Down the opulent streets of Dubai they went. Up the massive tower they went. Up and up, all the way to the topmost floor.

Gerald, tiptoeing through the velvety dining hall carpet, peeked into Poulet’s kitchen. The stack of unguarded papers sat peacefully on the glimmering stainless steel countertop. The businessman rushed in, snatched the papers, and bolted for the door, but found himself tumbling through the air instead. The cackling Jane loomed in the doorway, carrying a thin, translucent tripwire and a video camera. Gerald wanted nothing more than to evaporate like the boiling pasta water in the kitchen behind him. If Jane released the footage to the world, Gerald’s entire restaurant could be shut down as she had captured concrete evidence of cheating and stealing, both strictly prohibited by the Michelin Committee. All of Gerald’s life achievements now balanced precariously like a house of cards. He needed to win the competition.
Precarious Judgment
The final, yearly evaluation of all the Michelin-nominated restaurants to see which one reigned supreme had come. Time had passed since Jane had meddled with Gerald’s restaurant, so the businessman held his head high, confident that nothing would fail in the operation. Once again, the eager critics charged into his dining hall. Gerald greeted the guests and motioned for the servers to bring out the first course. As the dishes began to flow out, Gerald heard a soft snicker from inside the kitchen. Gerald’s face turned a pale, nauseating white. She had returned. Bursting into the back room, Gerald’s eyes locked onto a tiny vial of fart spray in Ms. Grimer’s hand. Jane had poisoned the food! Running back towards the dining hall, Gerald began to desperately shriek at the critics to stop eating, but ropes formed around his mouth, ankles, and hands from behind. Jane's evil voice whispered in his ear. Game over. The critics took a bite and…