You love doing the A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words challenges, and we love reading your interpretations! Let’s have another go.
This week, tell us a story based on this photo:
So, it was to be another late night for the Gronkowski Brothers here in the eponymous restaurant, meaning tempers were frayed and fuses were short, with the stifling heat in the kitchen rising ever higher as the night drew on. Steam rose from pots, oil spat from pans. Spoons rattled in jars and knives sliced through meat, fish and vegetables.
For 20 years, the brothers had built up one of the finest reputations in the Falsham district of New Charleston City, ‘the’ place to be if you wanted to dine in style, people knew that if you wanted a great meal, and a fantastic night out, then the Falsham quarter was the place to go. Gronkowski’s served the best of the best, only the finest ingredients would be used for the immaculate dishes they produced, yet they struggled to compete with some of the other restaurants in the area.
William, the eldest by 3 minutes, had initially started up the business when their father Joseph had sadly passed away at the grand age of 74. Some say of a broken heart that never recovered after his beloved wife of 53 years Francesca had departed not 8 months previously. Christopher Gronkowski had always been the ‘foodie’ of the family from a young age, he had gone on to college to study and had excelled in Food Technology and soon earned the deserved title of Qualified Chef.
When Christopher had left college and went on to study at University, he realised that he might get further in life if he started up his own restaurant as soon as he could, but with little in the bank it was William who he would have to rely on to finance the venture. In turn, Christopher taught his elder brother everything he knew, passing on some of their grandfather’s recipes that their mother had kept in an old shoebox in her dresser.
Midnight, all the customers were now long gone, leaving empty tables and chairs scattered across the dining lounge. All that is, except for one.
Monty Delogne, the fiercest food critic in all of New Charleston City had dropped in unannounced, with ten minutes before closing. He was renowned for doing this to unexpected restaurant owners to test their mettle and patience. Understandably the brothers were furious, yet they both knew that they had to rise to the challenge, because if they got this right, and it paid off, then they would immediately earn 4 crescent status and officially secure their place within the best restaurants of the city.
They had their work cut out.
Feverishly concocting a medley of dishes the Gronkowski’s were plating, serving, wiping, testing and positioning every cover they could think of that would impress Delogne so much that he would simply have to hand over the award.
Delogne was notoriously a tough nut to crack. A tall slender man of 55, with Salt and Pepper hair. Expensive wire rimmed glasses framed his face, resting on that famous prominent Roman nose. Never breaking a smile, and hardly ever making eye contact, it was nigh on impossible to tell what he was thinking whilst sampling the latest dishes that had been prepared for him. Only the fact that after every mouthful, he would frantically scribble away onto his black leather-bound jotter, scrawling note after note until literally pages were filled with his ramblings and thoughts, gave him away.
He patiently sat alone, observing the décor, again, giving nothing away. As he turned his focus toward the kitchen, he could see the Gronkowski’s hard at work. Monty knew that this was their chance. It wasn’t a secret that the business was losing money by the week. Even with the restaurant full to capacity at weekends, the lack of trade during the week, and competition growing fierce elsewhere in the district, it was burning a huge hole in the brother’s pockets. But, he would have to treat them like everyone else, it was only fair. Although, secretly, he was hoping that they really would come through tonight and earn the extra crescent they so desperately needed.
Back in the kitchen, things were picking up pace even further still. The Gronkowski’s were perfectionists, so dish after dish had been left to one side after a mutual decision to abandon the idea, instead opting to start from scratch on yet another experimental creation. William carefully placed a piece of Sirloin onto a hot plate as Christopher served a trio of vegetables into a side dish. With a careful hand movement, he then took the red bottle from the fridge and drizzled a chilled red wine reduction over the glazed meat. Adding no more than 3 flakes of truffle to one side of the plate, William delicately scooped a small sample of Apricot jelly for the truffle slices to stand up in. The 2 brother’s seemed to work in unison, 2 halves of one machine. Seeing them work together like this was a marvel and had brought paying customers up to the bar to see them in action whilst sipping their drinks.
Christopher wiped the edge of the dinner plate with his cloth, rotated the dish 270 degrees, and then back 45, perfect, he thought. With a glance over to William for a second opinion, he merely nodded, and a slight smirk. This was it. The one.
After nearly 50 minutes of preparation, sweat and a few burnt fingers the kitchen doors swung open, and there appeared Christopher with the serving tray. Monty Delogne looked up from his jotter and adjusted his blazer sleeves ready. William proceeded ahead with a meat knife and the dish of vegetables, placing them precisely on the table, before stepping back for his brother.
The smell was undeniably exquisite. The kind that instantly made the inside of your mouth water and salivate with anticipation at how juicy and tender the meat would feel on your tongue. How crisp and fresh the vegetables would taste as you crunched them in between your teeth. And the perfect blend of bitter and sweet with the apricot and red wine reduction, to compliment the truffle.
In his mind, Monty had already eaten this dish.
Christopher and William Gronkowski left Delogne to eat his meal in peace, although they were tempted to keep a spying eye on him from inside the kitchen. They chose not to, they knew better than anybody, that to be watched while dining was not good etiquette. Instead they focused on cleaning down the kitchen, scraping the wastage, filling the sinks and placing foods back into fridges and freezers. After 20 minutes the brother’s realised that Delogne may be ready to sample a wine or coffee after his meal whilst he wrote up his findings.
They approached the dining lounge to be greeted with a completely empty room. Delogne’s table had been vacated. Permanently. Concerned, William darted over to the table where a half-eaten plate of food sat next to a barely touched dish of three different freshly prepared and cooked vegetables. This did not look good, not good at all.
Christopher went over to the door to look outside, but the only thing he could see was the street-light across from the church, and the neon glow from the drug store opposite. No car, No Delogne. Turning away, disappointed and resigned, Christopher took a seat at the table next to his brother. They didn’t say a word to each other, they couldn’t. All that hard work. For nothing.
As William picked at the corner of a menu, something caught his eye. A blue cardboard folder on the seat next to where Monty Delogne had sat. He must have left it behind, he had clearly been in a rush to leave. Picking the folder up from the seat, William noticed a slip of card inside the folder. Christopher gestured to him, to have a look. Curiosity got the better of them.
Sliding the card out, they could see the name of the restaurant in large bold lettering at the top. Looking further, their names, side by side. Along the bottom was Monty Delogne’s famous signature, aloof and fanciful it sprawled across the card, and neatly below, 4 Crescents. There in print, officially.
The Brother’s looked at each other at first in disbelief, and then with joy. They had finally done it. They had the accolade they so desperately needed, the recognition, the confirmation. William and Christopher held each other in a brotherly embrace, so proud of this achievement, and as a single tear escaped Christopher’s eye he knew that they had protected the Gronkowski name now, and for many many more years to come…..
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