By Emanuele Stefanori & Michela Guida, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 6 – Crisis!
In the doorway are two men aged about thirty. One is very tall and slim with thinning hair and casually dressed.
The other, the one who had spoken and asked about a table, is shorter and dressed in a flashy yellow shirt.
Oreste looks at them, hesitating for a moment while he decides what to do. Whether because of the euphoria of the moment or out of the natural courtesy that has always characterized his restaurant, instead of saying that the kitchen is closed, he invites them to sit wherever they like.
While the two men settle themselves, Oreste goes into the kitchen where he finds his two children talking together. Chiara seems very calm but Stefano has already taken off his chef’s jacket and looks completely exhausted.
“Great evening, kids! Well done!” he compliments them.
“Thanks, but I’m glad it’s over,” replies his son, his head lowered. “Listen Papa’, we need to talk.”
“Yes, of course, but right now there’s…..”
“No, Papa’, it’s really important,” Stefano interrupts him, his face serious, “I’ve been wanting to tell you this for some time but now it won’t wait.”
Chiara, sensing that this is something between the two men, turns towards the door, but her brother calls her back.
“No, Chiara, wait. You need to hear this, too! It’s something that concerns the whole family.”
Chiara turns, curious but at the same time worried and stands silently, waiting for her brother to speak.
“I’m tired, Papa’. I started working here when I was still only a kid, when I was too young to think much about my future. But after a while I realised what I really wanted to do with my life and, I’m sorry to say, it’s not working in the kitchen of a restaurant.”
Oreste listens a little absently, not having fully grasped the significance of the conversation.
“To make you happy and proud of me, “ continues Stefano, “I accepted all your decisions. I went to catering college and learned the trade. Then I attended one of the most prestigious academies of haute cuisine, and finally became a real chef. All this I did only for you, Papa’, because I knew how much this restaurant and carrying on the family
tradition means to you. But now, the time has come to follow my own dreams.”
“”Your own dreams?… But… But how…?” splutters Oreste, bewildered.
“This job has given me a lot of satisfaction, I must admit. But it’s too stressful for me. In fact, I don’t think I’m really cut out for this kind of life. And, to be honest, I don’t even have as much talent as you think.”
“But what are you talking about? You’re brilliant… You’re the creative spirit of this restaurant. If this evening went so well, it’s only because of your cooking…” Oreste tries to reassure him.
“No, Papa’, that’s enough! This is my last evening. I want to do what really interests me, now. You know, all the time I’ve been working here I’ve also been dedicating myself to my true passion – photography.”
“Yes. I’ve specialized in publicity shots and I’ve decided to go to New York with the money I’ve saved to study for a Masters at a famous school of graphic art and design. I’m telling you all this now only because the evening went so well and you0ve been able to realize your greatest ambition, to make a good impression on the Buon Appetito critic and finally obtain the Three Meatballs. But I’m exhausted, I can’t go on like this!”
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