Teaser 337: Food Servers May Be Required Before Serena Flies

Once we arrived at our first destination in the jet's “maiden voyage,” being Los Angeles naturally, we, meaning I, quickly determined we were going to have to make one concession should I ever expect all of my betrothed, and one in particular, to accompany me at any time. The pilots provided by the German air force had great expectation and were thus of no concern, since they fully expected to bunker down in Serena's spread with all of us during this short interruption during our anticipated journey to India, so they were, by no means, the concession I was expected to make. Jacob and I threw a large number of sandwiches in the larger refrigerator of the jet before our departure so between the four of us, the pilots, Jacob and me, there was no concern about sustenance. The concern about sustenance began with Serena. I fully expected her to accompany all of us on our eventual journey to India, but her biggest concern was who would cook? When she asked this question she glared at me. Serena knew the jet had a full kitchen and it absolutely did, two refrigerators, a sink with running water, a full countertop to prepare food, a stove, oven and microwave, all requiring the preparer, the chef, to be stooped over or sitting, since the fuselage of the jet, and thus all accommodations provided by the jet, would never allow any adult on the jet to stand fully. I also knew Serena had traveled many times by private jet, with her husband and her many suitors being quite wealthy, so I never raised any objection to her suggestion I need a chef and server, if she ever steps foot in my jet. When Serena expressed this reservation, I could not stop thinking, I may have some reservations about where I have risen but Serena doesn't! I stared at Serena with great relish and announced to all, “I know just the person who can help us with our need for culinary expertise!”

Days later we're all, German pilots included, in Michael's restaurant, and the first words I spoke to Michael, once he stepped out from the kitchen to greet us, were these. “Michael! Tonight I will not engorge myself to your largesse. Instead, I'm going to pose a question to you and I expect you to think about it long and hard...Are you ready, my cooking friend?”

From the expression on my face Michael was certainly intrigued. “Something is on your mind, Al-Barrak...Please, tell me.”

“Recently, I have come into possession of a very lavish, very fully furnished and exquisite jet, but it didn't come with a chef and server, and I have a very drastic need for both, because the jet has the means to provide such, but mostly because if I don't provide such one of my betrothed, my equal, will absolutely not travel with me, coming to her conclusion it is beneath her. Since she is my equal, or so I frequently convince myself, by delusion I might add, I must correct this deficiency, and since you have access to chefs and servers, can you possibly do without some for a few days at a time? I shall pay them well for their interruption in your service. Need I do so with you, too?”

Michael laughed outrageously for several moments. When he finally gathered himself, he smiled directly to me and remarked, “Like any chef-owner, we hate to lose those on whom we have learned to depend, and if I suggest to you some chef and some server who would easily meet your requirements, I think it would also easily be a matter of time and I would lose them completely. So, you do understand how reluctant I am to recommend any of my staff, do you not, Al-Barrak?”

I stared straight into Michael's face. “I would never make you take such a fateful decision, Michael. I only asked you because I trust your recommendation completely.”

Michael shook his head with his face beaming. “I know I'm going to regret this, but I think there are those who work here for me who would easily do it for you!...Will you give me the time to ask everyone or do you need to know now?”

I beamed appropriately. “If you will it, Michael, ask each as only you can. Tell them, without any reluctance, I probably cannot pay them for the time they serve me what you can pay them, but I can provide them what you can't, my friend. I can take them to any remote, intriguing, glowing spot anywhere on the planet, and all on my dime. While any are with me, serving me, there will be nothing they will be responsible for. Absolutely nothing!”

Michael's top sous chef definitely wanted to serve as my chef, at least on our most immediate trip to India in the next couple days. What surprised me the most was his hostess—the young woman who had served as such for years ably, and the same woman who answered the phone when I first called his restaurant for a reservation and left me on the phone while she frantically tried to reach Michael, while never telling me that and I seemed stuck on a dead phone—who came back to our table with Michael in an eager state, and nearly begged me to hire her as our server for any of our trips in the immediate future. Her desire was unquestioned to me but I stared at Michael's very amused expression. “Kaela has been with you since the beginning, Michael, so I would expect some dread or apprehension in your expression and I see neither. Instead, what I see is amusement. You are amused!”

Michael chuckled momentarily. “From the first day you called me to make a reservation, and Kaela told you, as I trained her, that if we were booked completely to ask if they wanted to be on the list in case of cancellations, and you told her about the garlic, and she had heard me talk about the garlic in reverence many times, she didn't know what to do, except search for me. Ever since that day, Kaela has always appreciated you, not only for the garlic you helped me grow which is supreme, but you never criticized her when you arrived with your group. She wants to go with you as your server...” and Michael turned to Kaela with a huge, open smile, “and I don't think I could stop her.” He paused for a moment and displayed an expression of resignation. “You will return to Los Angeles soon, will you not? I'd like my favorite hostess working for me at least some of the time.”

Michael's sous chef, Brenda, came out to our table during a period when her culinary expertise was not in immediate demand, introduced herself, wearing her cooking garb naturally, and expressed to me her great desire to visit India, a trip she had dreamed of making for years. We invited her to sit with us, if she had the time, which she did. “Michael has explained to me, Serena, that of all who might travel on the jet, you are the one I must satisfy!” Brenda exclaimed, with a charming and engaging smile. We all laughed, Serena, too.

Instantly, Serena turned serious. “I know you've worked with Michael for years, Brenda, so I fully expect you can satisfy me, and you have some ideas on how to do so?” Serena now smiled widely but stared intensely at Brenda.

“Any cook who works for another should consult the employer concerning an appropriate menu, so what would you like to eat on our expected flight to India?”

Thus began the serious negotiations between the two, suggestions back and forth, but when Sofia interrupted to demand something she would like, I advised her with my bemused smile, “Eventually, you'll get what you want, Sofia. We have room in the kitchen for all of it, but you should let your mother finish her meal planning with our fine chef. This will satisfy your mother, which will satisfy me, since every meal your mother was instrumental in serving me has never failed to be delicious and delightful. Your mother knows her food. Let her decide first!”

Brenda asked to see the kitchen itself once the menu for the flight was set. She wanted to determine if there was anything she might need in preparation. I arranged her inspection early the following morning and she arrived with a notebook and decided there were some items she would need. I gave her enough cash for all of it. “Should I wear a uniform, Al-Barrak?”

“Wear what you are comfortable wearing to perform your duties, Brenda. Tell Kaela the same tonight. Neither of you need wear some uniform. Be comfortable performing your duties. It's all I will ever ask.”

- Just Desserts, Segment Forty-ThreeFatalities” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

contact me, as always: schussprose@gmail.com