The New Chef (Flash Fiction #23)


Photo by Alexey Savchenko on Unsplash

Ada and her husband Taich are the managers of an Asian restaurant in northwestern part of New Jersey. They are new in the business. When they need a chef, one is recommended to them. It is said the chef has great skills and has worked in the most prestigious places in Asia and in America.

However one or two weeks later, Ada starts to feel a little uneasy. The chef uses a lot of green onion, ginger, cilantro, mint, and other spices, which have made each dish at least 3 to 5% more expensive to make–consequently it cuts into the restaurant’s very slim profit margin. He also insists on making fresh pot of cooking stock each morning, refusing to use the stock left from the day before. Ada also catches him sampling more than necessary when cooking fish and beef dishes.

Ada wants to dismiss the chef, but Taich objects to it. Taich likes the skills of the chef and enjoys his dishes. Ada calls up the restaurants the chef has worked before and makes inquiries.

“They all say he’s a great cook, but he makes the dishes too expensive that they can’t afford to keep him. Even if you talk with him, he can’t change since that’s his style.” Ada says.

“I see.” Taich sighs. “We can’t just dismiss him since he is recommended to us. It will make the recommender lose face. The only good way is him leaving voluntarily.”

“Wait a second. These people in his previous restaurants are in the same dilemma as we are. They can’t afford to keep him and can’t dismiss him. So they foisted him on us.” Ada says.

“We have to keep him unless we can find a restaurant that is looking for a chef–and we unload him.” Taich says.

“Oh, I see.” Ada says and smiles cunningly.

25 thoughts on “The New Chef (Flash Fiction #23)

        1. I am still revising it–I am doing it forever. It will be called “The Officeville” if I am not going to change it again. LOL.

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    1. LOL. Great idea. His rude yelling will force the chef to change his ways. This is actually based on a true story that a chef who worked in a lot of great restaurants couldn’t fit in the modest establishments. LOL.

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        1. That’s very true. Great thoughts. He should go to better places. Anyway, as far as I know–I am not an expert in this area–most chefs in Asian restaurants in this area make about the same kind of money no matter which restaurant they work in. I mean in the Asian community. If they go to the mainstream American restaurant, things might be different but I don’t know how they will do language-wise. Anyway, the way they make career advancement is in charge of a restaurant and make a deal with the owner–the chef will be in charge and agree to pay the owner certain amount each month. The rest will be his own. This way he has more incentive to work harder on dishes. The way Asian restaurants are managed is very different from the mainstream restaurants.

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        2. In the Asian restaurant business, the pay difference between chefs are not much, which means a great chef is only earning a moderate amount more than a so-so chef–this is entirely different from mainstream restaurants. If a good chef wants to earn more, he has to invest and becomes the partner in a restaurant in order to share the profit. There are a lot of conflicts in this and actually I think I should write about this since the setting is so different from the mainstream American restaurants and how they are managed.

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        3. Yes. And the partnership between a cook and the owner of the restaurant can go awry and are often filled with many conflicts. The better way is that the owner owns several restaurants and he has a contract with the chef who took over everything. It’s a little too complicated to explain here since it will certainly bore you. LOL.

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        4. One of these days I will ask. My parents befriended a restaurateur here and he was pretty successful. However, one day his businesses went bust and he returned back to India.

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