Chapter 1: H W H Restaurant
Bustling sounds resounded all over the street in People wandering all the way around New York, Queens district, New York. The fast flow of people gently glided through the hustle and bustle like a fast-forward movie. Roosevelt Avenue retains its vibrant, multicultural atmosphere. Somewhere in the lines is the faint scent of Asian cuisine in the Flushing area. New York at this time is like a clumsy girl radiating a haughty yet familiar aura. A few people with glittering, lavish clothes quickly turn into a restaurant with European-style architecture that glimpses a bit of Mediterranean culture but still retains a bit of New York's distinctive identity. York. The neon black sign 'Home Sweet Home' had just lit up when a steady stream of people began to flock inside the restaurant. Glossy faces, rich in the scent of Chanel perfume, subtly with expensive, silken clothes.
Home Sweet Home is one of the most famous restaurants in Queens. Of course, only here, how can it compete with the luxury of Manhattan. But it is also one of the few restaurants to receive two Michelin stars. Anyway, Home Sweet Home does not need that sparkle, but it is still known by many people as a reliable address to satisfy the vanity that rises to the tip of the tongue by infatuating the senses. Home Sweet Home was created by Macken Manson - a chef with a face like an executioner. Macken is a novice among thousands of culinary masters in New York, but within three years of opening the store, he was able to collect two Michelin gold stars, which is enough for Macken and Home Sweet Home. become a legend, a miracle of the culinary world.
And to create a successful Home Sweet Home like today, more or less, Macken had to rely on his own strength and his daughter with his natural talent - Katherine Manson. Perhaps the blood of passion for food has been deeply ingrained in the Manson family - a family with a cultural tradition associated with the kitchen and of course, when staying long enough in a stuffy space filled with spices, the personalities of they are not gentle at all. First of all, Macken's face is as deep as a steak that is overheated. Although he rarely shouted, he rarely got angry with others, but no one dared to approach him, especially when he went to the kitchen to help everyone. But the scariest thing in Home Sweet Home is not from Macken's gloomy face but from Katherine - the youngest female chef among chefs in Queens. Katherine is known for her concave attitude and her own authoritarianism when she is in the kitchen. The staff here all feel scared every time the sound of pots and pans sounds along with Katherine's voice, which drowns out the noise. As usual, today too, Katherine stood in the middle of the kitchen island, her face full of murderous intent but still unable to hide her deadly charm. Katherine has beautiful emerald green eyes and dark brown hair like a sandy beach at night. Her small lips still rose a little honey at the corners of her lips from the signature sauce of Home Sweet Home restaurant that she made just now. Katherine's chest rose and fell with each breath, with Katherine's swaggering, slightly absent-minded posture that made everyone seem to be completely focused on her every move. Katherine glanced at the energetic cooks opposite her. Katherine said softly, "We all know what day it is, don't we?"
Kenny - male kitchen assistant - Katherine's assistant. Although he considers himself a Sous Chef, the workload that Katherine gives him makes him like a victim of the typical oppressive labor culture, the image of a capitalist land. In Paradise New York - where every American dream will come true, perhaps Kenny is immersed in the sweetest nightmare of his life. Kenny as usual, the loudest guy in the Home Sweet Home kitchen. Since no one was strong enough to withstand Katherine's overwhelming oppression, he said: “The day will come when the Michelin food racer will come. Do we know who that person is, Chef?”
Kenny's question was enough to turn the attention of everyone around to Katherine, which made her a little uncomfortable. She felt like she was being scrutinized. As a conditioned defensive reaction, she replied in her own harsh, thorny tone: "We don't know and we don't need to know. As it has been since then, so it will be today. I hate those freaks, just like vultures.”
The space in the kitchen suddenly settled down quickly. Behind the kitchen island is a row of shelves containing glossy pans, pots and pans and sandwiched between them are kitchen assistants, old, young, small, big... trying their best to keep their cool so that they can have a good day. excitedly working before Katherine destroys their remaining positive emotions. Home Sweet Home is famous for its culinary artwork full of love and wonderful family-like aftertaste for diners, but hidden behind that beauty is a haunted, hellish kitchen. Especially on important days like this, when more than two months ago, quite a few lobbies reached Macken's ears that a food critic would once again visit his restaurant to evaluate. . And of course, everything would be very normal if the food critic was not a person from Michelin. The scariest thing about a restaurant getting a Michelin gold star is when they get a second star. The anxiety of trying to get the third star and most dangerous of all, losing the second star will turn restaurant owners or chefs into a real maniac, a murderer. More than anyone, Katherine knew that she didn't want Macken to be disappointed, much less wanted her smoky, greasy masterpieces to be turned into cheap jokes during the chatter of other district chefs. Queens.
For a brief moment, everyone noticed the confusion in Katherine's eyes. She pretended to look towards the lights that seemed to have been tinged with kitchen smoke along with the familiar herbal flavor she used to use. Katherine needs to calm down right now, just a little space, a small amount of time for her to rearrange the thousands of words that are overlapping in her head. Katherine is extremely stressed out today because she just got the news late yesterday. The people at Michelin know how to put people in a passive position. Katherine didn't want to spread negative energy on the other kitchen helpers at this time. Suddenly, a figure appeared with a calm face so familiar that it was scary: "You have to put all your energy into today's story. What do you think if we get a third Michelin gold star?”
Macken Manson hugged a box of fresh fruit on the kitchen island and smiled at Katherine. The most twisted, distorted smile anyone who survived World War II could see and it was powerful enough to dispel the somber atmosphere in the kitchen. . Macken appeared like a warm Boggart among innocent wolves in a kitchen that reeked of mutton with star anise and a hint of aged French wine. Katherine sighed, she knew that Macken had always had a special obsession with the golden stars of Michelin. Most of his life's purpose had nothing to do with it. Because of that, he did not hesitate to lock himself in the kitchen for a few days to research a new recipe or forget her birthday to get the first gold star, even though it was really hers. She didn't even remember her own birthday because at that time she was the Sous Chef of Home Sweet Home. If it's honest, Katherine is the one who brought home the first Michelin gold star and the second star for Home Sweet Home restaurant. But she was sick of hearing about them, an invisible, terrifying pressure she had to endure for three years. Katherine looked at Macken and replied briskly, "We'll have to live in hell for the next few years to hold on to those damn stars."
Macken tried to smile softly so he could ease some of Katherine's discomfort. He knew well that this powerful female Chef was in fact the most complete copy of his late wife. Katherine resembles her mother in a strange way, from appearance to personality. Macken's wife was also a chef, but this role was confined to her home. Her biggest dream is to become a real chef in a Michelin restaurant. But she put her dream aside to be able to take care of her family. When Katherine was old enough, the terrible cancer took away her hope and chance to become a Chef. Since then, Macken has always struggled with the notion of trying to fulfill his late wife's dream. Even the dishes in Home Sweet Home were created by Macken using his memories with his wife. And he knew that only Katherine could take on the position of Chef. Because when he looked at her working in the kitchen, he seemed to see the image of his wife and young daughter huddled in the kitchen at home. Katherine always understood her father's feelings, so she rarely argued with him. She did not set those Michelin stars as a standard for herself. For Katherine, she always expects the satisfaction of customers, the excitement of enjoying the food is a standard measure of work performance. Katherine rolled her eyes at Macken and then turned her attention back to the large pot of sauce she had prepared early in the morning. Kenny felt strange, so he went to Macken's side and whispered: "Looks like Chef doesn't care much about Michelin stars."
Katherine suddenly said loudly, making everyone jump: “Exactly! Why should we put our ideals and life goals on such frivolous things? Our true value is the reward of our customers, not the judgment of some strange, weird guy."
Macken patted Kenny's shoulder as he watched him wince at being Katherine's soulmate. He gently approached his daughter, his gentle demeanor made everyone a little unfamiliar, especially when he casually poked a small spoon into Katherine's sauce, something no one dared to do. because she would be willing to kill anyone. Macken thinks her sauce lacks a bit of bay flavor and needs a few slices of orange peel to taste. Macken's words suddenly became spicy in her ears. Katherine waved her hand, pushing Macken away from her sauce pot. Macken laughed like a child and said, “Katherine, the food critic is also a diner that you must try to fascinate. Dad didn't expect us to get a third star either. I heard that the food critic this time is extremely scary. She has never given a third star to any restaurant. Her life is only about getting a Michelin star.”
Katherine pretended not to have heard anything from her father. Everyone also started working at her command, but they still couldn't figure out what to do because she still hadn't revealed the menu. Kenny was, as usual, quick to the point of exaggeration. He hurriedly ran up to Katherine and asked: "So what's on today's menu, Chef?"
Katherine thought for a moment, reached for a handful of bay leaves and a few slices of orange peel, put them in the sauce, and pouted at Macken. She said to Kenny, but her eyes were still full of challenges for her father, who was trying to prove herself to him: "Today we will use a special menu."
Kenny's eyes widened at Katherine. The kitchen boy was surprised to hear what she had just said. He couldn't believe his ears, so he tried to ask her again even though it was dangerous: “Special menu??? But we only use it for the last Friday of the month.”
As expected of everyone in the kitchen, Kenny immediately received Katherine's scary glare: "Do you need me to repeat it a second time?"
“Yes, Chef.” Kenny quickly retreated to the back of the kitchen island, hiding among the other cooks. He was immediately reminded by everyone that they did not want him to be the main cause of Katherine's rage today. Everyone else knows that Katherine is under a lot of pressure because of the Michelin star and that distracts her a bit. They hope she will be less prying and rebuking them at work. Katherine hid the sauce and said, "Let's get going."
Macken and a few others prepped the vegetables, everyone was at a steady rhythm until Katherine came to a large pillar at the base of the wall. She looked up at the menu board and suddenly asked Kenny in an excited voice, and said like a soldier: "Has the pork arrived today?"
“Not yet. Pork won't be available until Friday." Kenny responded quickly. Katherine immediately ordered him. She reached for the landline phone and held it out in front of him. Katherine's energetic gaze made Kenny realize he was like a soldier being recruited for a noble and sacred mission: "Kenny, you should try contacting the supplier."
Kenny looked up the restaurant's directory and started calling. One call, two calls, three calls… but the answer only revolves around one outcome: “Yes… we want it today. Raw pork, whole, for today… I know. Chef…we don't…”
Katherine put her hand forward to prevent Kenny from saying another word. She glanced at Macken as if pleading for his help. Katheirne lazily rested her hands on the kitchen table: "Say no more."