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Prince of Food Ep 3: Herbed and Spiced Roasted Beef Tenderloin

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❈Kun Jung-Hee


Jubilee, Cluoshire


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Friday came all too early and had already proven that today was going to be crap. Not only did I miss my alarm today to go out to my day job at the market, but the twins were also running late. And to add to matters Jae-Yun was sick and could barely move. My mother had already left home for work so it fell to me to get the twins ready and on the bus. I didn't arrive at the market until halfway through my shift due to making sure Jae-Rin had medicine. Luckily the market was owned by a family friend of ours so she cut me some slack. But already I could feel the strain of a hard day coming. By the time I made it to Jubilee, the third job of my everyday life, I was less than happy.


'Money, think of the money Jung-Hee' I chanted in my head.


"Jung-Hee! You actually came?" Sounded a soft but familiar voice.


I turned my head slightly to see a petite face with large brown doe eyes looking up at me.


Alica Richards was always a strange factor here at Jubilee. She is small and delicate looking, long dark colored hair which curtained around her. Wide rimmed black glasses are perched on her nose as she tilts her hand with a smile at me.


Alica is a sweet and personal girl who does her best to be kind to the customer, the "Delicate Rose" of Jubilee is her nickname from both customers and some of the staff. She has a nasty habit of attracting the wrong kind of attention from certain customers due to her kind of pushover attitude. That troublesome customer I had mentioned before was actually after her which led to me breaking his hand.


"Yeah, and I'm already regretting it!" I let out a sigh, adjusting my sore shoulders.


We were in the employee hall just between the restaurant area and the changing rooms. The hall had many other employees filterings through, chatting amongst themselves. The doors that led to the restaurant were closed as it wasn't yet time for the waiters to enter.


Samuel was a theater junkie back in the day and just loved putting on a show. Jubilee itself was a testament to that as it was landscaped and crafted to appear like a castle-like setting. "To make all our customers feel like the kings and queens" was his reasoning, which was a load of bullshit. During a special event such as this, the waiters would only enter once everyone was seated and then "perform" for the guests.


Basically, just be all smiley and sweet which made me almost gag the first time I did it. I could hear the laughter and voices in the restaurant starting to filter as the birthday party was just starting to get into full swing. Alica smiled and stood next to me.


"Remember to smile Jung-Hee." She chimed sarcastically next to me, her smile kind of straining at her face.


"Yeah, fuck that.." I grumbled.


And then the doors were opened as the elegant music of Jubilee began in a fervor. And then the performance began. We all entered in unison, each already having our assigned table to wait and begin. It was a birthday party or so I'm told for some rich kid which meant more than likely a rowdy crowd. The restaurant was in a flurry of waiters/waitresses, gliding between customers and taking down orders. Even though I may hate the general feeling of Jubilee and Samuel, I had to admit his business decision and choreographing were always on point.


My table was, fortunately, an older couple along with an elder woman. Each was dressed richly in the finest of attire. The man was a bit more on the lighter skin of chocolate brown skin. Tall, broad-shoulder, and with a kind expression on his face. Stylish glasses were perched on his nose with honestly brought out the more vivid golden almost amber color of his eyes. The woman next to him has a richer dark color to her skin. Her eyes were a dark brown which felt a bit on the stern side. Her obsidian black hair was long and slightly curly towards the ends. The couple seems to be in the midst of an argument with the elder woman who sat across from them. A grandmother most likely? The elder woman was more on the smaller size height wise but judging for the nonsense look on her brown eyes, I'm sure she could handle her own.


It wasn't until I got closer that I fully understood how elite this party is and just who the so-called 'Birthday boy" was.


"Honestly mom this is ridiculous!" Said the long-haired woman


"Oh? Is it now? Well, then you must be fine with your son picture being spewed across almost every magazine and new of his latest...fling come up?" The elder woman said


"Of course not!-"


"Then why is this ridiculous?! Someone had to curb that boy since you two clearly won't! Ever since he got that damn club this continues to happen!"


"And who gave him that club?! Especially after I said no!"


"Come on, you two.." The husband tried to interrupt the oncoming argument.


At this point, I decided to myself noticed as I step closer to the table with a plastic smile.


'Of course, I would get the family of the "birthday" boy. Just my luck...'


And I'm sure you're trying to get how I know? Well, you'd have to be living under a rock to not know the Young Family by face at least in this day and age.


The husband is Tyson Young, the legendary chef and also the restaurant owner for The Atlas. A restaurant that is known for its large assortment of dishes from all around the world. Cartered with the best chefs known to man, all hand-pick by Tyson.


Next was his wife, Jannet Young, a fair but vicious food critic. Her words both made or broke restaurants around the world and with good reason. She was skilled at picking out key flavors with just a simple taste, she also didn't believe in the ideal of the elitism of fancy dinner. She would go from 5-star high-end restaurant to pubs and family owned business if requested. Her reviews could be harsh but also constructive, any restaurant who followed her advice was destiny to succeed. And last but certainly not least is Michelle Young, owner of Heartful Foods, extremely profitable food disrupter who works with both restaurants such as Jubilee and also The Atlas. Heartful Foods also supply to healthcare facilities and other services.


"Can I start you off with any drinks or do you want to order?" I asked in my most polite tone and smile.


"Just drink-"


"Both"


I looked back at Michelle who spoke over Jannet. Clearly, she didn't want me to interrupt their conversation again if I came back. And honestly, it suits me just fine. However, Jannet didn't appreciate her mother's attitude.


"Ma..."


"Don't argue with me, we need to have this conversation."


I quickly took down their orders and menus then left the table. For the next 2 hours, the restaurant floor was filled with waiters moving from serving to assisting to the refilling of drinks. Every so often I would glance over at the table where the guest of honor sat. How unfortunate that Alicia got his table, I could see the strained smile on her face weaken further. They were loud and just overall arrogant and getting drunker by the minute judging by how much alcohol they were consuming. It was until afterward that I noticed there were some murmurs coming from the surrounding tables.


Apparently, Birthday Boy was having a temper tantrum.


"Ugh, this tastes just... bad!" He complains rather loudly.


His friend's lean over to his plate, grabbing a few slices and taste from his dish. Each agreed that taste was certainly lacking. He continued to insist that we changed either the chef or the food for this dish. His words were slurred and unfocused. It was obvious to anyone that he and his friends were clearly drunk and weren't thinking straight but he was so loud that he was influencing others. Apparently, he has been subtly complaining about the food tasting bland for the past hour however now paired with his drunkness, he has made his complaints more vocal.


From where I stood I could see Samuel stopping towards the kitchen in a rage. Someone was definitely getting fired today...


I throw a look over at Alicia who is trying her best to pacify the spoiled prince. However, he is now just completely refusing to eat anything further. I quickly move into the kitchen as the floor was becoming much too confrontational. Samuel's voice was practically booming down the small hall leading to the kitchen.


"I don't give a fuck what you can and can't do. Make something!?"


I finally reach into the kitchen and immediately see the problem. You see in Jubilee, Sam always tried to have a certain layer of chefs on hand. The range for the professional to average, that way he would always get a good blend no matter what. But unfortunately, today seems to have been a bit mix up. Our lead chef, Francis was nowhere to be found.


"And where the fuck is Francis?!"


"Uhh, he-he ran out s-sir about 10 minutes ago. H-he said he was a family emergency!"


I could almost see the blood vessel from where I was on Sam's head. Now normally Sam wouldn't have any issue with this but today is "special" most likely become he was banking on getting back from the prominent Young family after a successful party. I let out a small laugh and went to turn and leave.


"Jung-hei!"


'Ah, shit...'


I turn slowly and there was Sam, looking at me like a goddamn lion stalking a fresh kill.


"Come here."


A command that didn't warrant an answer or objection. I approached slowly, dread clawing at my throat with each step. Whatever was going to happen next wasn't going to end well, I could just feel it down to my bones.


"You know who this important guest is I'm sure." He said with his arms crossed over his chest.


I nod, I already knew where this conversation was going.


"Since Francis is indisposed, you are my best card to play at the moment, unfortunately." He says with a roll of his eyes and a deep sigh like it physically pains him to admit my worth.


I could feel my teeth grind as I clenched my jaw to stop any sneer or nasty remarks that were just raging in my mind.


'Think of the money, Jung-Hee. Eyes on the prize...'


"You will cook and personally serve this customer. You have had... moderate success with these kinds of customers before and you will do it again."


I just smile tensely.


'Wait for the catch, there's always a catch...'


"And if you don't satisfy this customer, don't bother coming back." He finished.


And there is ... the final ultimatum.


"Do you understand me, Jang-Hei?"


I could vividly envision punching Sam right in his smug face right now. It would feel satisfying and I could practically feel my body humming from the steady building rage. The chef's eyes bounced between Sam and me, clearly terrified of the fight which was teething on the edge.


The money Jung-Hee my inner self would say.


"I said do you understand me?"


'THE MONEY-'


I finally look him in the eyes, my smile straining on my face.


"Understood."


The air still cackling with tension thick enough to chock on. Sam didn't even acknowledge me after that just turned and left out back towards the restaurant. And for a second, the kitchen had deafened with uncomfortable silence.


"Mira.."


Mira, one of the assistance chefs practically jumped out of her skin at my voice suddenly sounding.


"Y-yes?"


"What was his order?"


She looks at me dumbly for a second before finally shaking out of it.


"Herb and Spice Beef Tenderloin Roast I believe.."


I was already on the move as she spoke. Pulling back the arms of my button-down and throwing on a spare apron and gloves. I turned to the rest of the kitchen staff who were all looking directly at me.


"Eric, and Laura, you two are going to help me. Everyone else just continues as usual."I ordered.


Suddenly the kitchen came back alive, I would occasionally instruct one or two for something then switch to a new group. We all toiled for about 15 to 20 minutes before finally the dish was done. I wasted not a moment for putting it on a tray and carrying it out.


Apparently, things had gone from bad to worst in the short time frame.


Birthday Boy was now arguing with his family, namely his grandmother. And making quite the spectacle of himself at the same time. There was a steady echo of whisper among the party goers. If looks could kill, Jackson would be buried 6 feet under with the way Michelle was staring at him


"For christ's sake Jackson, you are acting like a child!!" His mother cries out.


"Yeah?! We-well, you treat me like one well enough! Why can't any of you just let me live my life." His words were still heavily slurred however the tone was bitter and filled with frustration.


All around eyes were peeled fast to the incident happening before them, some were even recording on their phones. I could practically see the vein bulging on Michelle's face, Jackson was gonna be a dead man tonight one way or another. It wasn't until I approached that I really took "birthday boy" in.


Jack was tall, easily towering over me at least. Broad-shouldered with a tapered waist, clearly he keeps himself in shape. Neatly trimmed and packaged, all in all, he would be the ideal man. But then... he opens his mouth and basically all that goes to crap.


I stood for minutes in silence before realizing neither he or his mother will stop arguing long enough to notice me so I let out an "ahem" to address the room. Everyone stops and stared at me and I just rolled my eyes.


'Jesus these people...' I thought to myself almost letting my face show how I really felt about this whole thing.


Jackson was also staring at me, particularly hard might I say, and it was slowly starting to grind on my nerves.


"Your food sir." I said in the most passive-aggressive tone I could.


Fortunately (or unfortunately? Ehh who knows?) he doesn't make any remarks and just stumbled to the table as I place down the tray. The room is silent as everyone watches him taking the first few bites of his meal. I could see Sam's smug face from the corner of my eyes. I knew what this was, Sam didn't really care if Jackson likes my food, he just needed a scapegoat and I knew he's been dying to get rid of me for a while now.


'Oh don't worry asshole after this I quit.'


The whole room seems to be waiting on battered breath, literally waiting for the incoming and completed unsurprising outburst. Practically the whole world had learned about the Young Prince's rather picky eating habits. Hell aside from his Father and maybe a few choice Chefs, Jackson was virtually unsatisfied every time.


However, I have a bit of an ace up my sleeve.


This wasn't the first time I've cooked for him.


It was almost comedic to see Jackson's face practically lighting up like a child who just got his first Christmas gift.


"Its-its good!" He said, vastly surprised.


"Wait what really?!" His friends reach over almost instantly after his reaction, taking bites of his food almost immediately.


"Holy-!"


"Damn that is good..."


The restaurant floor erupted with murmurs and gossip. I, however, was giving Sam the biggest and smuggest smirk. To say he was pissed would be an understatement for the century. His face was almost a full ruby red, veins popping all out of his skull. If looks could kill I would be already dead and buried. I was so distracted by Sam that I didn't notice how quiet it had gotten around me. It wasn't until I turned back that I understood why.


Jackson was standing right in front of me and a wide smirk on his face.


I was momentarily stunned as I honestly wasn't expecting him to even acknowledge me after that. He was clearly still very much unsteady but he looks so happy..


....Then he opened his mouth.


"Your- re-reallly cute."


I think I spoke for the entirety of the restaurant when I responded.


"What the fuck..?"


He just chuckled and try to walk closer.


"Wait, Jack, that's not-"


"Ba-back off man, you always get the cute girls!!"


Excuse me?


Let it be known the next course of events was completely and without a doubt not my fault in away way what so ever.


Jackson apparently was more unstable in walking than I realized because as soon as he took one more step forward, he trips. And of course, me being the only one within the distance of him tries to stop his face from meeting the floor. Everything seemed to happen just like out of a cliche romance novel as somehow, someway he manages to land directly on me and our lips touch in a rather brief kiss. However, it was more than enough.


Again remember, not my fault.


I drew my fist back and punched him without even a passing thought. From then on, everything went straight to shit.


"HOLY SHIT!"


"Jackson?!"


"Oh, crap is that blood??!!"


I stood frozen like a statue as all the chaos ensure around me before feeling a death grip on my shoulder. It was funny how before Sam' face was a bright red but now it is dark and actually looks like he wanted to murder me.


Today just wasn't my day...

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