Sex: Right Hand
Prior Experience: Ranjit grew up in a poor family in Mumbai, never a stranger to scarcity. Unemployable due to a poor education -- he taught himself to read and write by studying a cookbook -- he stayed at home, learning to make varieties of good dishes out of limited resources, and loved those moments when the whole family sat together for dinner in the evenings. Dedicating himself to cooking, Ranjit became skilled, finding work in a nice restaurant -- eventually becoming the sous chef despite his lack of any school transcript or documentation.
Reason for Being on the Show: Ranjit overheard several of his subordinates talking about a cooking competition during a slow dinner shift. Curious, he inquired about it and found out that the prize could be the solution to all his problems, and with only 4 contestants, there is not much competition! He was also warned that the penalty for losing is dire, but he didn't listen -- he was already booking the next flight to America.
Shockingly realistic, made me laugh lol.
Indian cuisine is actually one of my favorite ethnic food types. Of course, I could never truly master the seasonings as done in the restaurants, but it is fun to cook and leaves the house smelling good for a while after.
Then again, most of my Indian food cuisine is from American cookbooks and Indian restaurants, so I wouldn't bet on authenticity -- well, native authenticity.
Tbf, most of the recipes of the dishes I as a native make are from YouTube vids and cookbooks itself, so you could say that the natives themselves make non-authentic food, lol.
And I always make a point to use the exhaust fan while cooking, not sure why anyone would like their house smelling of garlic and ginger and cumin seeds; but to each their own I guess.
Name: Sal "Papa" Gorbacholi
Nationality: Some sort of Italian.
Bio: Decades ago, in Naples Italy, a restaurant seemed to have appeared from nowhere, with a man no one knew looming in the kitchen. At six foot something, he was quite the imposing figure- This, plus his propensity for attacking rowdy guests with ladles and cheese-based weaponry, led many to speculate that he was some sort of experiment by the Italian Military who had finally been let out of containment. These were quickly shot down by the Italian Government, who proclaimed that they simply did not have the budget for such things.
Gorbacholi, if that even was his real name, became a widespread brand in Italy, and eventually his restaurant had more orders than he could properly fulfill- So he began to can things. Stores all over europe began to stock things under the Gorbacholi name- Eggplant Parmesan in a can. Sausage Frittata in a can. Risotto in a can. Beef Wellington somehow sealed in a can. Gorbacholi was an unstoppable cooking machine- which put him in direct competition with another well known chef at the time.
30 years ago in 1989, was a most tragic battle of the chefs. Boyardee, whose brand was threatened by "Papa Gorbacholi's" gourmet canned products, had challenged Gorbacholi to a professional wrestling duel on live television- Which was how he had been enforcing his monopoly on canned Italian food since the 40s. The world watched with baited breath to see who would survive to feed themselves and their children mildly okay Italian food on nights where nobody had any time for this shit- And the match that followed would traumatize millions of children that saturday evening.
Gorbacholi, tossing his opponent over the ropes, had killed chef Boyardee, whose 80 year old skeleton shattered in 8 places upon impact with the concrete floor. He had technically won the battle- but he lost in his heart. Gorbacholi left the match with tears in his eyes, swearing to never can delicious food ever again. Papa Gorbacholi's disappeared from store shelves, his food becoming multiple-year-old collector's items that you can still buy on Ebay. But, true to his word, the company was shut down, and he never canned food again.
As most people now knew him from his canning business, his restaurant failed without the sudden influx of worldwide revenue.He was forced to go back to pro wrestling for 28 years, only cooking small-time. He felt separated from what was truly important in his life- despite having been so close to his dreams once. As he was cooking an omelette in the back of his trailer, which was being driven through some strange podunk island nation where B-list wrestlers were gathering for a charity exhibition- he saw it. A poster for the next season of Chopped- It was a chance to redeem himself to the culinary world! A chance to prove once and for all that he was more than just a violent 400 pound man with a comically oversized handlebar mustache.
Gorbacholi signed onto the show immediately with joy in his heart- He had travelled the world, he had fought with cyborgs, fishmen and undead necromancers, and in general had just been exposed to culinary cultures from all nations. Finally feeling like he deserved the title again, Chef Gorbacholi was ready- Ready to show the world what he was capable of, and earn back his place in culinary history.
Papa Gorbacholi is a wholesome culinary warrior who does not take part in such tasteless humour. There could be children watching! Shame on all of you!
I'll do the essay after the show, but coming up with a thousand words of hate for canned meat is impossible -- I can't come up with that many words of hate for anything.
Laziness aside, Shouja, I request that you become my second, having actually experienced real Indian food.
I'll conveniently ignore that the chef submissions are suspiciously similar to forum game character applications and that this is also being made out like some sort of game, because forum games are against site rules.
STOP SILENCING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE mIZAL YOU ARE ABUSING YOUR POWERS
Requesting a reenactment of that moment from Masterchef when this milf puts her breastmilk in Gordon Ramsey's food.
Don't be so certain -- only one person put male as their sex!
One of them put "Right Hand" and the other one put "Virgin". The guy who put "Yes" is the only one who could possibly have given birth and/or just been sucked on regularly enough to lactate
Unless the virgin brings his mom in.
Wasn't that just an audition? How can you tell she's a Milf? They show montages of weirdoes for like 4 seconds at a time and it's all confusingly editted?
Yes but Ramsey did indeed consume mac and cheese with a twist. Finally, some good fucking food.
But if they called the police on that woman, she would've been shot
Age: is just a number
Calzone is an Italian oven-baked folded pizza that gained sentience after contracting breast dough. Stuffed with salami, ham, vegetables, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and egg. He travelled all over the world advertising his services at children's birthday parties, rich people orgies, and everything in between. Some suspect he speaks through a blow-hole hidden somewhere in his cheese crust. Procreation is off the table, but that doesn't stop him from trying to find love. Who knows, perhaps he'll find 'the one' at the bestest cooking comp in the world.
Name: Pierre 'Calzone' Peters
Pierre 'Calzone' Peters, born Jacques Smith, is the adopted daughter of Mr Peters - a world-renowned patissiere that recently keeled over and died while judging at a certain cooking contest. Being a pretty good chef herself, Pierre's subbing in to finish the job. Following an intense spiritual awakening caused by her consumption of the fabled Peterson pizza ball, the meek, little girl sacrificed her biological parents on the Altar of Pastries at the age of ten. Quickly, she migrated to the United States, and away from the jurisdiction of local authorities. There, she embarked on a path of conquest - challenging any and all to high-stakes cook offs. The uniquely saccharine sweetness with which an adolescent Pierre brutalised her opponents captured the spotlight. Thus, she became a controversial figure; an inspiring advocate for the 'greater good' marred by hollow magnetism and a propensity for clout chasing. Despite the warrants for her arrest (she's wanted in every European country) these unscrupulous methods served her powerful connections in the culinary spheres, forged by dark passion and relatively good looks. Most importantly, it captured the attention of Mr Peters - the man who knew the secrets of the pizza ball. While Pierre did initially plan on discreetly dispensing with Mrs Peters, she decided that becoming heir to a patisserie empire was a better idea. She got adopted. One unfortunate plane crash later - coined the Crash of 2009 - and all ten of Mr Peters' children were conveniently expired. In one fell swoop, Pierre became sole successor - to the money, to the power, to the pizza ball.
Pierre can usually be found at the Peters' Pastries central laboratory in New York City, perfecting the art of pizza ballery in between photo shoots, interviews and bouts of Twitter savagery. She runs the pastry conglomerate with an iron fist, and likes to dance in the shower during her down time.
It’s a truly magnificent work of art and thou needs to partake.
Name: Chef Pastor Doctor Jonas "Happy" Johnson
Bio: Chef Pastor Doctor Jonas Johnson is a Liberian ex-warlord who has fought in over a dozen military conflicts in Africa. During his time as a general in the Liberian People's Liberation Army, Johnson was widely known for brutally cannibalizing captive soldiers and civilians, his kill count going up into the thousands after decades of brutal slaughter. He earned the monikor "Happy" due to his jovial nature throughout his campaigns of terror. He would often be heard cheerfully whistling some merry tune while stirring a piping hot pot of "soldier stew". His terror would finally come to an end after his crushing defeat by government forces at the Battle of Nambika, where every single one of his soldiers were in turn cannibalized by government soldiers. Why Johnson himself did not meet the same fate is not publically known, but there have been rumors that the cannibal warlord deliberately led his men to their deaths- in order to save his own life.
Regardless, Johnson came out of the battle a reformed man and vowed to change his ways. He has sworn off violence and eventually turned to both religion and medicine, swearing to never again kill another person with his blood-stained hands. Following the practices of Jesus and medicine, Johnson excelled at both, eventuallly earning titles in both fields. General Johnson was no more. In his place rose the right honorable Pastor Doctor Happy Johnson.
In addition to his other skills, Johnson found that through years of cooking with flesh, he had developed quite the eye for the culinary arts. He quickly rose to fame throughout Africa with his chain restaurant "Happy's Hungry!", which specialized in all manner of stews, sandwiches, roasts, briskets, and more. Of course, Happy was never one to let others do his dirty work for him. He is known for working side by side with his employees in his restauarants, eating the same food and cooking as they do. Sometimes, he can even be seen stirring an enormous cauldron of stew, whistling a cheery tune throughout.
He gets it when he can. It's very hard to find in Africa, so Happy takes his sweet time chewing whenever he gets some.
Haha yes I will be the live studio audience
As the chefs begin brainstorming ideas for whatever they shall make with the chosen ingredients, the camera shifts towards the live studio audience, a large group of individuals who either came to see some excellent and creative dishes, or came to revel in the punishment of those who fail. Maybe both, who knows? Anyway, as the camera pans over this raging sea of people, a lone spotlight shines upon a sharp-dressed man among them, holding a microphone as he stands in the walkway between the crowds. He gives a great big smile before speaking.
"Hello, ladies, gents, and nothing else, it's time for me again, Tim. You might know me as that other person with a mic. As I've yet to fully repay my debt, I return to you once again as the voice of the people. There sure is some heat tonight, and I'm not saying that just because of the kitchen! Let's hear what some of the audience members think:"
The man walks over to a seat containing what seems to be a single cricket.
"Hey, I noticed you chirping quite a lot over here. Care to share your thoughts with national television?"
"I would have been very disappointed if the ramen guy does not have as much ramen as promised, but I have lost faith in him after his comments on squid and bean sprouts--especially bean sprouts."
"Yes, I hear bean sprouts can be quite healthy for you."
"If Happy Johnson votes for Black Ford every time, I will call it rigged. He doesn't even have a real gimmick! I'm hoping Happy shows off some recipes after the executions though, maybe a halftime sort of deal. I am also hoping the Italian dude gets in a physical altercation with somebody."
"Ah I see you're a cricket of both culture and bloodthirst. Well, I can promise you plenty of the latter tonight."
"The whole list of ingredients sounds good. Too good. Better than the contestants deserve. I also pray to Dreggnion that Essence of Beef is used in its full glory. And I think Indian dude should tell us about flatbreads in his country."
"Yeah, I sure know what I'd make with these, a good reliable -- Oh! Sorry, no outside help. That voids my contract. Thanks for your input, and have a wonderful time!"
The man leaves the side of the cricket, but it's chirping can still be heard among the audience if one listens closely.
"Okay, we've got time for one more audience member, then we'll go back to the show! You there, the guy dressed for the apocalypse!"
The man walk over to another man, this one dressed in a leather bodysuit colored in blue with yellow accents.
"You seem to be an expert of food that is edible. What's your take so far?"
"I'm just wondering why the hell they have squid. Like, what's the point of that?"
"Indeed, squid is a very challenging ingredient. You can't fumble it up or the dish will be ruined."
"My money's on that Italian guy. I trust him because he's Italian, and they like, invented good food."
"Perhaps he'll indeed make something that doesn't make me want to vomit. Thank you for your input, have a great time!"
The man returns to his original spot on the walkway, looking back at the camera with his trademark smile.
"Well, that's all the time I've got. You guys can go back to watching the show, while I myself will head backstage and reflect on my life choices. I'll see you guys in the next round!"
As the man walks away towards the backstage door, the camera pans back out, across the crowd of culinary enthusiasts and bloodlusting savages, back towards the center stage. The appetizer round is about to continue.
Papa Gorbacholi shed a single tear as this woman blithely stuck her fingers into a wounded past she did not understand- It took all his willpower not to start shouting things in Italian during the middle of her announcement.
"Santa cielo!" he finally mumbled as he immediately made his way to the kitchen, "Issa not that simple! There was No Disqualifications! The man was gonna hit me in the eyes with a wood joiner! Put some shoes on, lady, you catch a cold, diose mi!"
He grabbed an assortment of vegetables and some bottles of wine- he didn't know what to do with saltines, but he did know what to do with the things that he as a sassy old italian chef considered actual food. It was true, he knew, that squid and truffles would intimidate any lesser chef, but he was already smashing garlic cloves with his bare fists in preparation for the sauce, hoisting big pots full of water onto the stove as if they were just tall glasses of lemonade.
He prepared for the sauce in the heavy saucepan, throwing in the finely demolished garlic, finely chopping a leek (Using a knife that would have been a short sword for anyone not quite as giant as he was) and, with that same enormous knife, dicing several shallots and bean sprouts all at once. Scooping these up in his hands, he tossed them in to steam them all together.
It was a smell that never got old- Despite the time limit, he had to take a moment to kiss the air in front of his clenched fingertips, "Mwah!"
In the meantime, he had to figure out what, exactly, he could possibly do about these saltines. The box of tasteless, unleavened creatures stood there mocking him all while he prepared his sauce- But, an idea occurred to him. Perhaps he would not be making a heavy pasta appetizer- Instead, he would make... A dipping sauce! And these crackers, they would be the stars of the show.
"I spent much time in my career with the WWWW* cooking- and learning recipes from the people who were around. I was exposed to all sorts of cooking from all over the world!" Said Papa Gorbacholi during one of those interview-voiceover things.
*AKA the World-Wide Wrestling Wombastical.
"During my days, I learned of this technique for South American Cheesy Crackers from my friend Sifu Dave! It was ingenious, for not only was cheese on them, but you would, in fact, dip them into a sauce with the beans and eh vegetables!" The chef pulled on a hotdog-sized whirl of his mustache as he reminisced, "He said they were called, eh, 'Not your chips'!"
He spread several "chips" out over a broiler pan, lightly brushing them with olive oil, then covering them with a thin layer of bread crumbs and parmesan and just a hint of garlic salt, shoving them in the oven behind him and returning to the steamed veggies, pouring in a dry white wine, 2 sprigs of thyme, and as many finely sliced truffles as he could add until it all started to boil.
It was at this point, that he suspected, the garlic crackers would have a crispy, crumbly golden outside- And he was, of course, correct. He opened up the oven to lay out the tray on the counter, and, as most of the wine had boiled away, hastily dumped exacting measurements of heavy cream and chicken broth in the saucepan and mixed it together, turning up the heat and humming opera music to make it cook faster.
After much boiling and steaming, the liquid was reduced to half its original size, and he stirred it a bit as he turned off the heat and brought it down to a simmer. Grabbing handfuls of squid and deftly cleaning their insides, he grabbed the floppy cone parts and cut them into thick rings, and added the tentacle bits in sliced in half. The black truffle sauce now had some considerable bulk to it with the subtle seafood sitting, simmering, and sucking up the succulent juices. It would be easy, now, to scoop up a hearty dose of deliciousness with every bite of these parmesan not-your-chips!
He poured the rich pasta sauce dip into four small bowls, and placed those bowls on saucers, where he arranged the crispy warm crackers in a slightly overlapping circle, like a brilliant garlic-bread-scented flower. He didn't have time to garnish each one, which caused the man no shortage of stress, but alas, he did his best, and that would have to do.
An enormous silhouette, rising out of the swirling steam clouds like the goddamn terminator, and recognizable only by those handlebars on his face until he arrived at the counter, Papa Gorbacholi presented his appetizer- Garlic Parmesan Notyour chips with Black Truffle Calamari sauce.
Chef Gorbacholi of Italy created a garlic chip platter with a truffle dipping sauce with the gusto of any middle-aged Italian pro wrestler previously retired chef.
Gorbacholi is also nonchalant about the prospect of death (do these people visit a lot of murder dungeons or something?!)
Most bets are on him lasting to dessert round, if not completely winning.
He could barely contain his Old Man rant, he simply didn't have time for the implications to sink in!
"Hey all! It's me! While I may be contractually obligated to participate in today's competition... Is this thing on?"
She ignores the mammoth of a man as her lithe fingers investigate the microphone. Touchie-touchie. Smile at the camera. They love it when I smile. The cameras hastily cut from the 'garlic parmesan notyour chips with black truffle calamari sauce' to capture her facade. It's attractive and naturally sultry; her face gives way to an insincere grin. Amusingly, Pierre had recently attached braces to her teeth - a strange sight on such a mature woman. The microphone comes to life.
"As I was saying, I'm oh so eager to get started. But first, can we get a shout-out for the newly released bite-sized pizza balls? Made with love from yours truly - find them at your nearest Peters' Pastries!"
The microphone is taken from her and the cameras cut back to Papa Gorbacholi. The faint noise of two women arguing can be heard. Gorbacholi seems both astounded and insulted.
Chef Weebasumi of Japan created ramen balls fried in the juices of a grilled squid.
Also appears nonchalant about the literal threat of torturous death in the event of failure
Ranjit Nayar stared at the short woman as she talked — he did not understand much English, but he was sure he heard her say this was a fight for survival. It didn’t help that many contraptions that looked like torture devices littered the room and the door… locked down, guarded by armored men carrying cattle prods. If anything, blindly waltzing in after only skimming the contract was a horrible idea.
The woman’s speech continued for another minute, then the chefs were lead to their kitchen spaces. Unlike the rest of the building — which looked like it hasn’t been renovated for over 200 years — the kitchen seemed to have all the newest appliances. In fact, a lot of this stuff is newer than what Ranjit was used to working with back in India!
“Open your baskets,” the woman soon commanded, which all the chefs obeyed. In the basket, for better or worse, were four strange ingredients:
> A bag of bean sprouts. A plain vegetable with many cooking methods, and is quite refreshing to eat. Ranjit loves the stuff.
> A package containing a single black truffle. Too expensive for the restaurant to implement, Ranjit never cooked with it, but he has heard that it has a deep, earthy flavor.
> A box of American saltine crackers. A generic soup recipe is on the back of the box, but even if Ranjit could read it he wouldn’t attempt to make it.
> An Aki squid. Ranjit ate it exactly once in his life in a bootleg Asian restaurant, which ended up tough to chew. This could prove to be a disaster.
Out of curiosity, Ranjit glanced at the chefs around him. The Chinese man, the one who should work with most of these quite often, seemed to be quite revolted by the contents. Sadly, picky eaters never last long in the cooking industry. The Italian man seemed to have experience with these ingredients and was already racing to the pantry.
As for the American… well, he was shocked, but for another reason. “What?!” the American asked in disgust, “This show for real?! Oh hell no, I ain’t doing this, I got work! Y’all got me fucked if you think I finna—” his words were cut short by a dagger through his eye.
“My gods,” Ranjit muttered while the Chinese man stared in shock. The Italian man just stepped around the slumped corpse with a handful of ingredients from the pantry, not seeming to care about the death he just witnessed — Ranjit did hear the woman mention something about him being a murderer, but this is insane!
“I figured this would happen,” a chirp could be heard from a seemingly empty seat. “Bring in the replacement.” Taking a second glace, the chair seems to have an extremely small figure on it — almost like that of a grasshopper. The doors opened once again, and a different person was lead inside. Another Indian! Wait… could it be?! Ranjit suppresses the urge to bash his head against the counter. He thought he would never have to see that person again!
“The clock is ticking. Have you two come up with an idea yet?” the woman interrupted the Chinese and Indian men, and with fear, Ranjit glanced at the clock — 24 minutes left.
“Shit!” Ranjit growled under his breath, quickly grabbing a pot and a wok. One of the first few things Ranjit learned growing up was that no ingredient was unfit for the wok — when in doubt, make it into a stir-fry or a curry. Since this is an appetizer, curry wouldn’t go so well, so a stir-fry should work, and hopefully soften the squid some, because hot damn, that thing is HARD.
Filling the pot with water and putting it on a burner set to high was quick and easy. It would take a while, maybe all of 10 minutes for the water to boil. Luckily, he has that time to spare. That is if he doesn’t let his mind wander. He ran into the pantry, and picked up the following items:
> White rice, long grain. Goes great with stir fry, and would absorb any excess flavor.
> Stir fry sauce. Contains a good amount of the necessary flavors for the stir fry.
> Soy sauce. It complements the stir fry sauce and squid exceptionally well and adds salt content for extra umami (savory).
> Butter. Adds flavor to the rice, acts as a nonstick agent, and can help salvage a dish if any catastrophic mistakes are made.
> Ginger. Also goes well with squid, and gives off a bite of its own. Should counteract the salt content.
At this point, Ranjit’s hands were full, so he walked back to his station. Grabbing a cheese grater and several small bowls, he glanced at the clock. 20 minutes left.
No more time to waste! Ranjit grabbed a regular pan and placed it on another burner, which he also set to high. Going back to his station, he shredded the ginger and truffle, which he added in the same bowl. Trying a little bit of the mixture, he enjoyed the contrast of flavors. The squid should go well in a fry, but the saltines is a mystery. Out of curiosity, he checked the back of the box, but the recipe was a jumbled mess, and the picture looked grossly unappetizing.
Glad to remove the packaging, Ranjit tossed around a dozen crackers into a different bowl, which he set aside for later use. Once again, he looked at the clock. 18 minutes left.
This will be a close one! A measured cup of water in one hand and a measured cup of rinsed rice in the other, Ranjit went to the now-heated pan and added the water. Going back for a scoop of butter, he also added that, which dissolved before too long. Satisfied with the heat of the water, he added the rice, then placed a lid on the pan. The pot of water was beginning to bubble over, indicating it was ready for the next step. Quickly, Ranjit went back and placed the squid on a cutting board, and began to dice it into moderately large cubes — with the exception of the tentacles, which he only cut in half.
Carrying the entire board and the butter to the pot, Ranjit added the squid to the pot, then added some butter to the wok. Taking a second to drop off the butter and cutting board at his station, he returned with a colander, which he positioned in the sink. Guessing that almost a minute has passed, Ranjit dumped the pot of squid into the colander, allowing the water to drain from the squid. After taking a second to stir the rice, he added the squid into the wok, and a satisfying sizzle could be heard.
Remembering the bean sprouts and crackers, Ranjit mixed the bean sprouts with the ginger and truffle, and set the bowl near the wok. Picking up the bowl of crackers, Ranjit walked to the food processor and put the crackers in. 20, maybe 30 seconds later, the saltines were reduced to minuscule crumbs. “Perfect,” he couldn’t help but mutter to himself. Aware of the time, he looked once again — and dread began to seep in. 11 minutes left.
Quickly heading back to the cooking station, Ranjit added the bowl of vegetables to the squid and stirred the wok’s contents. Stirring and checking the rice, he was pleased to see it cooking alright, although it won’t be fully complete until near the end of the time limit. With nothing left to do but wait, Ranjit checked the clock. 9 minutes left.
Ranjit sampled a bean sprout from the wok, which gave off a refreshingly cool crunch. However, that was terrible — it needed to finish cooking soon if Ranjit wanted any chances at leaving this place alive!
Grabbing several serving plates from the rack, he arranged them on his counter space. Realizing that a sweet yet tart fruit could go well with the fry, Ranjit ran to the pantry, picking up a pack of dried cranberries.
Alas, on the way back, he found himself being interrogated by one of the supposed workers.
“Chef Nayar, what do you think your chances are of winning?” he asked Ranjit.
“I do believe I stand a chance,” Ranjit responded, trying to get back to his station.
“Nayar, most bets are on Chef Gorbacholi. What are your thoughts on that?” the man followed up.
“Honestly, it will probably be us duking it out on dessert round if he doesn’t somehow screw up,” Ranjit automatically responded, paying lip service while trying to sneak away. Luckily, the annoying man moved on to someone else, allowing Ranjit to go back to his station. Unfortunately, several minutes were lost.
Upon reaching his cooking station, he quickly stirred in the stir fry sauce and soy sauce. With fear, he also found himself glancing at the clock. 5 minutes left.
Now was as good a time as any. Ranjit took the rice off the heat and fluffed it with a fork. Setting the pan on the counter, he got to work. Ranjit grabbed a rice scooper, and carefully added a single decently-sized scoop of rice to the inner edge of each plate. Right next to each rice scoop, he added several dried cranberries and sprinkled good amounts of the crushed saltines to the top of each rice scoop. While speed-walking back to the wok, he looked at the time. 2 minutes left.
Fighting off the urge to panic, Ranjit picked up the wok and carried it to the counter. The end result was cooked through, and the bean sprouts and ginger were cooked to perfection. Sadly, he couldn’t tell if the truffle was cooked correctly (this was, after all, his first time).
“One minute remaining!” The woman announced, adding to the tension in the atmosphere.
Collecting a serving spoon, Ranjit gave each plate one scoop of stir fry, on top of the rice, but over the edge of the scoops so that some of the stir fry could run over the side and onto the plate. However, he made sure none of the fry could touch any of the dried cranberries. The woman gave a 40-second warning somewhere halfway in the serving, but Ranjit ignored it. As the clock neared the last few seconds, Ranjit used a cloth to wipe up any excess spillage on the plate, and as his final move, added a fork to each plate.
“Time’s up!” The woman announced as Ranjit arranged the last fork, and all four chefs stepped back.
The chefs were then lined up in front of the judges with their dishes, and they presented one by one. The first to go was the burly Italian man, who offered what looked like a gourmet Italian dish with a name too complicated to conjure. And the crackers — they were served with dipping sauce! Ranjit barely suppressed the urge to slap himself for failing to recognize such a simple option, but all too soon, it was his turn to present.
“Chef Nayar, what did you make for us as your appetizer?” the woman asked him as he uneasily brought forth a plate.
“Well, as you see,” Ranjit stated as he lifted the cover, “I have made Skveed Hilaakar Talana on Safed Chaaval.” Anxiously, he awaited their judgment — after all, his life was in their hands. His nieces and nephews better be grateful when he returns home because no education was worth their uncle’s life.
Chef Nayar of India created a stir fry dish featuring squid, bean sprouts, a truffle, and saltine crackers. He was barely able to complete it on time.
Having witnessed the death of Chef Ford of America, insult is added to injury when an acquaintance from a dark period of Ranjit's life appears as the replacement!
Revolted and intimidated by the boastful Chef Gorbacholi of Italy, conflict seems inevitable, especially during the next few tense rounds when life and death are on the table.
All in all, Ranjit was not expecting all of this madness 2 hours after landing in a Texas airport -- he hasn't even had his coffee yet!
“Skveed hilakar talana on safed chaval”, uh it took me a while to get my head around this but did you mean this as a translation for “Shaking and deepfrying on white rice”? Well the name is literally the dish and I honestly think that it’s cool, and it does sound somewhat like contemporary Indian cuisine where a relatively similar process is done on chicken. Anyway miz asked me to participate and let’s see what I can come up with.
Honestly, I just google translated, "Squid stir fry on white rice".
“Bring in the replacement!”
Upon hearing this, Avantika knew she had struck gold. Her knife throwing and wielding skills, that she had learned from chopping vegetables for dinner from the age of three had come to her aid. Only if that American nigger hadn’t come in the way of the throw at the last moment between Ranjit, she would’ve certainly hit home and put the blade right through his eye. Now, finally, she’ll have the chance to beat him at his own game!
“Myself Avantika Patil! I vil bee tha replacemunt!” She screamed as loudly as she could in a heavy Marathi accent.
The lady with the mike just stared at this woman dressed in a sky blue kurti with tiny flowers embroidered on it’s borders that seemed to glisten and shine in the spotlight. She had a dark red bindi on her forehead and her long jet black hair was tied in a bun, which if left open would’ve extended all the way to her calves. Her eyes seemed to sparkle due to reflections of her contact lenses. Truly a complete, generic middle aged Mumbaikar look.
“Alright come on up,” she said staring at Ranjit and smirking at his mortified expression.
She walked with pride towards the stage as the spotlight kept following her.
“I thank yu kindly fer the opportunity madum; Iee, really waant to set things straight wit, oone of thee contestunts,” she said staring at Ranjit. Even though she knew that he couldn’t understand English as well as she did, because she was from an English medium school; she knew that the message intended was perfectly passed. She will get back at him for cheating on her with that white bitch, not believing his promise that he’s only marrying her for citizenship and will get back to her afterwards. In the end, he did divorce her but he never came back.
Without another word, Ankita rushed towards the dead negro’s counter which was still untouched and unused. There, she opened the mystery box and looked at the ingredients inside...
Squid- Ankita is a pure vegetarian and she has never ever cooked or eaten meat, nor had she ever thought of even eating one; her Gujarati caste forbades this heinous sin. But even more important than religion was assuring the death of Ranjit. Though she had absolutely no idea what to do with this.
Black Truffles- Avantika has never seen this weird fruit ever before in her life. At first she thought this to be a black coloured sugar apple; but after tasting it a bit she felt a little bit of an earthy chocolate flavour. Maybe she could use this to her benefit.
Crackers- A staple that she has daily with her morning and evening cup of chai. Though she’s never used it to cook a recipe with before.
Sprouts- She was really happy on seeing bean sprouts, and immediately the first thing that came to her mind was ‘moong dal’ or ‘sprouts dal’ a special variation of dal that’s had a bunch of times with ‘roti’ (Indian flatbread).
After thinking a bit and letting her cooking mind, which was honed to almost near perfection by her mother from the age of four, she immediately knew what had to be done and started cooking.
First step is the tadka.
She took a pressure cooker first and put in on the stove, and lit the gas. Then she put two spoons of rice bran oil in it and added a pinch of salt with her fingers. Then while she let the oil heat, she filled water in a bowl and put the sprouts in it, leaving them to soak in the side.
Then, she removed a napkin and tied her nose; said a prayer of forgiveness to Lord Krishnaa and put the squid on the cutting board. She expertly decapitated the squid and cut off it’s tentacles; then she diced the centre mass in a straight line. She took each diced piece and shaped them in a round shape. Then she put the cut circular pieces separately on a plate.
Then, after frantically searching; she was luckily able to find cumin seeds, turmeric powder, hing (asafoetida), curry leaves and garam masala.
First she chopped two onions into fine pieces in a matter of second, due to years of experience and put them in the hot oil in the pressure cooker. The sizzling and fragrance was amazing, but she had no time to appreciate it.
Then she put in the cumin seeds and turmeric powder, and curry leaves one by one within a two minute interval. All of them sizzling and integrating their flavour into each other. Then very, very carefully, she chopped a tiny piece of hing; knowing fully well that this super strong spice could make or break her dish. She added the piece and instantly was overwhelmed by the fragrance of the spices bursting together.
Then she poured in the soaked bean sprouts along with the water in the cooker, and increased the flame leaving and closed the lid, leaving it for cooking.
Taking a little bit of oil in a frying pan, she put the circular pieces of squid and sautéed them on a low flame. Then she took a little bit of garam masala and a pinch of Cajun spice mix and mixed it along with the squid.
The whistle of the cooker had blown three times by now, and she immediately put off the flame. Then opened the lid and lo and behold was the steaming moong dal. She could already feel her mouth watering.
Taking the weird black fruits, she put them in a juicer and kept the juice in a bowl.
Now she opened the pack of crackers and taking a serving plate, arranged six crackers in rows and columns forming a square. Then she took the moong dal and generously spreaded it all over the six biscuits. Then she placed the cooked squid on this layer of dal and covered the squid further more with more dal on top. Now she covered the six crackers with the dal and squid with six more crackers, forming mini cracker sandwiches.
Finally she poured the juice of the black fruits over the six sandwich crackers in an intricate paisley pattern, and poured it masterfully around the base in a presentable manner. Her appetiser was finally ready.
“You done, Patil?” Said the lady seated on the elegant throne.
“Yes,” Avantika said placing the dish in front of her,”I call this the ‘dal fry special squid sandwich’”
I uh, had just made dal fry this afternoon itself for lunch; so this is just a rendition of that.
Oh lol, sorry my bad I hadn’t read that part properly. I just sort of went with the flow and came up with this.
I probably should’ve proofread this a little bit better before publishing though :P
If he doesn't end up joining, then I guess everybody survives the first round.
Yeah, if that were the case, I would have just made squid sandwiches and called it a day!
Ford and Fic may be getting banned soon anyway, making this cooking show even less populated.
Already making good progress, that won't be neccesary.
Alright, sounds cool; let’s see what I can come up with.
Ah man, I didn’t think about the crackers getting soggy! Maybe I should’ve just crushed ‘em into pieces and used those pieces in dal like croutons in soup.
Lol, the truffles can’t be juiced? At first I was thinking about using truffle pieces along with the initial tadka, but if these truffle things turned out to be like any other fruit, that, uh, let’s just say would be very very bad...
Anyway I really didn’t even know until know that something like this existed, so yeah.
Truffles are mushrooms.
The only thing you can get by juicing a fungus is penicillin
Your dish may be vegetarian-friendly, but you obviously didn't think of the Anti-Vaxxers.
I am at a loss here, how am I going to explain the 'truffle juice'?
I was going to mention how you once gave someone food poisoning with salad made with juiced jerky and raisins, but now I'm confused. You say there's a lot of juice on the food, but Mizal says it was bone dry. Who is right? Who is wrong? Has Ranjit gone mad? The answer to all these questions is a resounding yes.
Sure sure, you could, if you think so; but lol what I typed wasn’t even curry in the first place, quite far from it infact.
Such a sad death, you were the only one Ranjit could trust!
At least you went out having had the full hentai schoolgirl experience.
Ranjit watched as the woman — Mizal, her name ended up being — sampled each dish. Unable to do anything else, he listened to the critique given to the other meals, to try to guess his chances of surviving. He had heard murmurs from the audience of nobody getting killed until the end, but one could never know.
“…any particular reason for that, Weebasumi?” Mizal finishes, Ranjit never realizing that he missed the entire portion of the dish’s critique. Even though he knew that he would survive at least this round — that is, if Anatika doesn’t stab him while he isn’t looking. Looking at the small platter of ramen balls, he believe it was called, it looked interesting. He didn’t pay too much attention to the other cooks, but he could have sworn he has witnessed methods of cooking that defied common sense. Maybe grill broth is normal in China, who knows.
He glances at Mizal, realizing that she was now sampling Anatika’s dish with a mixed expression of disappointment and revulsion. “And you, Anatika,” she begins, thankfully distracting the crazed chef, “You seem to have some…ah…interesting ideas regarding usage of the truffles…” as she flicks off a cracker and complains about the borderline inedible snack, Ranjit looks at the food, at the dregs of moisture and oil Anatika somehow managed to coax from the truffles. However, he wasn’t surprised — he once witnessed her making a salad dressing from juiced raisins and beef jerky. Eating it has gave him nearly fatal food poisoning, but that was probably from the canned ham in the salad. Either way, he wanted that painful memory erased.
Eager to get that memory out of his head, Ranjit looked over at Chef Gorbacholi’s food, a truly sublime dish, his food demanding respect even if he was a contemptible person. There was not much to say about out, rather than the fact that it looked like something out of a prestigious restaurant. Everybody could tell that he was going to survive this round, and watching Mizal begrudgingly enjoy the food made him sick. Everyone here was either insane or illiterate — and Ranjit was beginning to think he was the only of the latter!
Finally, Ranjit watched as Mizal picked up the plate of stir fry. However, he wasn’t able to hear much of the critique, except for one question he wish he didn’t hear; the question of his past, or namely, his past relation with Anatika.
‘Why don’t you tell our viewers about you and Anatika,’ the sentence bounced around in his head, overtaking his thoughts. He came here to cook, to win the prize, not to face the past he thought he has left behind! And yet…
“Anatika is simply my ex-fiance,” Ranjit bluffed to the camera, not mentioning the fact that he married an American woman in foolish hopes of escape, nor the fact that Anatika was once a man named Anati. More questions would be raised than there could be an answer for, and if he can buy enough time to last the end of the show, he could fix his problems with money — or carry his secrets to the grave.
“Thank you,” Ranjit finished, and stood back in the line, awaiting the judges’ judgment.
Chef Gorbacholi smiled and nodded, deliberately ignoring the elf's icy glare "Che bello! A-thank you signora!"
Though, beneath his outward excitement was a smoldering dread. He had watched men die before. Many times. As he trained to be a chef in the monasteries of Milan, his fellow students dying of knife-in-the-eye, among other mysterious ailments, was no strange occurence. Only the strong could survive the trials of the Mad Monks, and he assumed this would be no different. Lifting a paisely handkerchief to wipe his shining brow, he took a deep breath, before resuming his trademarked gap-toothed smile. If there's one thing that the violent world of Italian cuisine taught him, it was that in food, there is only survival, and you can never flinch in the face of the cold-blooded. Never show a sign of weakness. Never back down- not even an inch, or they'll tear into you, like a pack of crazed inbred fishmen!
He glanced at the other dishes. Boyardee wasn't the first chef to attempt to kill Gorbacholi, and these contestants would not be the last. But, thankfully, it seemed like he was doing alright. The only chef he was truly competing with thus far, was the man who he heard was called Ranjit. And Sal was rightfully impressed- It seemed like Ranjit had practically prepared a whole meal for his appetizer, a feat that Sal himself had decided against trying halfway through. He saw the pangs of fear and frustration in Ranjit's eyes. Sal knew that feeling. Not more than 30 years ago, he was in that same place, making those same life and death decisions, until he decided to quit the game for good.
The burly old man picked up his handkerchief again, reaching up and tying it around his bald head with determination. He would not make the same mistakes again. Sal "Papa" Gorbacholi was here to reclaim his rightful place in the world of cookery. And when his throne was claimed, he would end this sickening cycle of Culinary Violence. No matter the cost.
He still wanted to congratulate Ranjit, though. Engaging in a cooking battle to the death is no reason not to be a good neighbor!
"Bravissimo, Runshit!" He called, his buttery cartoon accent working against him.
One vote for yes from the peanut gallery.
The sentence Gorbacholi said to Ranjit struck like a dagger, opening up memories he thought he has forgotten.
And like that, he was back in Mumbai, on the day of his 8th birthday, in town with his rich uncle. He was disgraced by the rest of the family because he has abandoned them in favor of finding a new life in America, but little Ranjit didn’t know that at the time. He remembers his uncle taking him into town, and gave him a gift, a cookbook featuring Indian and American recipes. At the time, Ranjit was unable to read, but he treasured this gift since his uncle almost never came to visit.
Then, as they left the shop, several things happened. A rough hand caught his uncle’s shoulder, and when he turned around, received a direct punch to the face. The perpetrator was an American man, and there were several more of his kind behind him. Ranjit, unable to help, could only watch as the men unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks, and the worst part was, nobody else intervened, nobody else wanted to draw attention to themselves, so they all looked the other way. Ranjit wanted to call them cowards, and he wanted at least a single person to help, but he was no better, peering from behind a trashcan.
And the words spoken, nobody understood. Only his uncle could understand what the men were shouting during the attack, but strangely enough, he understood two words in the chaos — loan, and shit skin. He wouldn’t know the meaning of the words until years later, but he was able to truly understand those words on that day.
Finally, rescue came in the form of a homemade dagger — more specifically, an airborne homemade dagger cutting an attacker’s shoulder. The one responsible was a slim figure concealed by a cloak of rags despite the heat of the day. The Americans did not hesitate to leave the badly injured Indian on the ground and gave chase, both the cloaked figure and the Americans disappearing into the maze of alleys.
However, Ranjit wasted no time worrying about the cloaked figure. Running up to his uncle, he could tell that the situation was dire. Blood was everywhere, and he was unconscious. Ripping pages from the cookbook he just got, he tried to bandage his uncle’s wounds, but it was pointless. He could only hope that a doctor arrived soon. Ranjit didn’t leave the house often — he didn’t go to school, and his mother usually did the shopping — but he already knew that the world was an unforgiving place.
He sat there for several minutes waiting for an ambulance to arrive, hoping that the Americans didn’t return. In those silent minutes, as every passerby invariably glanced the other direction and quickened their pace, only one person stopped — a slim figure concealed by a cloak of rags.
“An ambulance is on the way,” the figure spoke, sounding slightly out of breath. With that, the figure left, disappearing into the crowd, and Ranjit cursed himself again for forgetting to thank them or to even ask them for their name.
Of course, Ranjit would end up regretting a lot from that day. His uncle later died to his injuries in hospital care (although Ranjit would only discover this years later walking through a cemetery), and although Ranjit was able to spare his sanity and self-esteem by blocking off the memory of that day, he would find that the events that transpired would never cease to influence him.
Abruptly pulled from his memories, Ranjit witnessed as the Chinese man was struck with a cattle prod to the stomach, delivering a loud zap that instantly rendered him incapacitated. The chef attempted to scream, but a ball gag was quickly put over his mouth, and even more restraints were added as he was dragged to the door. And then, silence. The crowd turned and left through another door (presumably to watch his execution).
However, Ranjit was no longer surprised. Besides him, the only remaining contestants are the insane Anatika who would stop at nothing to kill him, and the Gorbacholi who would make Ranjit’s food look like slop in comparison. With the death of the only contestant he felt he could trust, Ranjit decided to break the oath he has made with himself 14 years ago.
As the remaining 3 chefs are lead back to their cooking stations, Ranjit realized that his nephews — 2 twins — have both turned 8 today. Maybe such a realization would have brought him to his knees 10 minutes ago, but instead, he quietly chuckled to himself. After all, Ranjit has accepted that he was not going to leave this building alive — no, he had a different plan in mind.
For now, though, Ranjit will play along, and cook a delicious meal.
The soft beeping of a watch alarm slowly wakes Ranjit from his sleep. Looking around, he could see the other two chefs in a similar state of rest, and Mizal — who looked impatient beyond anything else. Suddenly overtaken by panic, he looks at the clock. 42 minutes has passed, 12 minutes past the time limit.
“Fuck,” Ranjit mutters to himself, looking at the judges and audience, who is also slowly waking from their trance. What happened? How did everyone end up dozing, except Mizal herself? Will they all be executed? Will Ranjit have to act on his plan early?
“I guess there is no choice but to reset the time,” Mizal growls under her breath. As tempting as it would be to kill off the chefs for their incompetence, the show would have to end early, costing precious subscribers (and little did anybody else know, but it was due to Anatika’s spice aroma bomb that she conveniently slipped into the oven when nobody was looking that caused everyone else to faint).
“However,” Mizal warned, “I will make the CHOPPING that much more interesting in exchange.” Ranjit couldn’t help but worry that his plan would fail, and he would be subjected to a death most painful. However, he drew inspiration from the spice bomb. Chances are, Anatika will get CHOPPED next round, leaving him with Gorbacholi to deal with. The more he thought of the name, the more hatred he felt, the hatred that he has sealed within himself all those years ago, slowly being released, fueling Ranjit’s resolve.
“Open your baskets,” Mizal commanded, and the chefs obeyed. Inside the basket were the following:
> Chicken Wings. A relatively simple food, good for the oven.
> Whole Beets. A hearty vegetable could be used in a sauce.
> Dried Apricots. Contains no moisture. Even Anatika will struggle to juice this.
> Dr. Pepper. An American soda that Ranjit despises. Its carbonated properties can only be used in a sauce.
Ranjit has never tried experimenting with cooking soda before, but he has heard a lot of the water evaporates, leaving a sticky coating behind. Ignoring his own opinion of the drink, he grabs a saucepan, which he places on a burner set to high. He is only working from imagination and instinct, but he assumes the remaining substance will be bitter, so he will need some umami and spice to counter it. With that in mind, he races to the pantry, his eyes catching the clock as he runs past. 28 minutes left.
For his meal, Ranjit has decided to create the wings Americans know and love, but with an oriental twist. In the pantry, he picks up the following items:
> Corn Starch. This will help stabilize the seasonings and provide a solid structure for the soda and beets.
> Curry Powder. This is an important ingredient,
> Cayenne Pepper. This will help give the wings some bite.
> Lemon. This will add some much-needed zest.
> Cilantro. This goes well with the curry powder and cayenne pepper.
> Tabasco Sauce. This will help make the soda edible, and make this dish the bees’ knees.
Having grabbed everything he needed, Ranjit rushes back to his cooking station, looking at the clock once he has put everything down. 25 minutes left.
Not good. Wings take a while to bake, but that should be enough time if he acts right now. Grabbing an oven tray, Ranjit puts a wire rack on top of it, spraying a quick coating of nonstick agent. Putting that to the side, he mixes some of the starch, curry powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper into the bowl. Quickly coating each wing, he places the wings onto the wire rack and places the rack in the preheated oven.
Not bothering to look at the time, Ranjit pours 2 cans of Dr. Pepper into the saucepan, which already begins hissing. In several minutes, a thick tar will coat the bottom of the pan, which is what he is hoping for. Satisfied that he is no longer in a dire time constraint, he looks at the clock. 19 minutes left.
Not too shabby. The wings will need to cook at a slightly higher temperature than normal, but all is well. Looking at Gorbacholi’s station, Ranjit could only guess at what monstrosity he is creating. Probably something that will make all the judges sing praises.
Turning back to his own station, Ranjit grabs a cutting board and minces several of the beats. Wasting no time, he tosses the minced beats into the saucepan, stirring the slowly thickening syrup that is forming. It might soon be time to take the saucepan off the heat. Going back to the cutting board, he cuts several lemons into small wedges and cuts the cilantro. That should cover all of his cutting needs! With a sigh of relief, he looks at the clock. 13 minutes left.
Opening the oven, Ranjit flips each wing over, relieved at the lovely tan slowly appearing on the seasoned wings. After the last wing, he moves the syrup off the heat and stirs in some tabasco sauce. Sampling a little bit, he determines that is passable, but needs a little more flavor. Flavor, like something fruity. Like the dried apricots that he still hasn’t used yet!
Muttering a curse under his breath, Ranjit picks up the bag of dried apricots. Fighting the urge to eat some, he cuts them into very fine slices. He already used a dried fruit as a palate cleanser last time, so he would have to figure out a creative use for these. Allowing himself to eat some of the uncut apricots, he decided that it has a calm, but noticeable tang to it, and would go best underneath the wings, catching any of the excess sauce and seasonings, which should complement the apricots okay — and not to mention, it will make the dish look better.
However, the time to act is now. Running to the cart, Ranjit grabs several plates, which he arranges a ring of dried apricot slices on. Ideally, the wings would go in the middle, slightly covering the apricots, but also allowing their lovely yellow hue to show alongside the orange wings. While working, the clock enters his sight. 8 minutes left.
Too late to create any additional food if he wanted to. All he can do is wait until the wings are finished, then race to coat them all with the syrupy sauce. The end result will be spicy and sweet, kind of like traditional BBQ sauce, but also like traditional curry. Grabbing some lemon slices, he shoots each plate with some lemon juice.
After looking over his shoulder to make sure Anatika isn’t planning on sliding a dagger into his back, Ranjit waits several minutes, enjoying some spare apricots and even having some of the cheap red wine from the pantry. After his snack, he looks at the time. 2 minutes left.
Now is the important part! Slipping on oven mitts, he takes the rack out of the oven, then drops each wing into the mixture one at a time, quickly coating it, then putting it on a plate. He does this until each plate has 6 wings, then he garnishes each plate with some of the chopped cilantro, ignoring the time warnings. The time finishes just after he garnishes the last plate.
“Time’s up,” Mizal declares, and each chef backs away from their cooking stations.
Focusing on his plates and his presentation, Ranjit can’t help but worry about what she and the judges think of his food — even if it is meaningless in the end. One could guess it could be passed off as force of habit, but Ranjit couldn’t care less, he only wanted to see what the judges thought of his food, and he wondered if Anatika will be forgiven for costing everyone the previous 30 minutes.
In perhaps the final moments before Ranjit would completely snap, he presented his dish. "This dish I present to you," Ranjit informed the judges, "Is Indian-style baked wings, with spice and zest, as well as sweet and umami."
While the new round starts, and the chefs fully realize the position they're firsthand in by watching a contestant die, the camera pans back to the audience, having just finished watching Daisy turn Weebasumi into chum. Naturally, the audience goes wild, having more than their share of bloodlust fulfilled with two deaths so far. Well, fulfilled for now, anyway. As the camera pans, a lone spotlight illuminates a familiar man standing between the cheering tides of flesh. He gives a smile as the camera starts to zoom towards him, and he holds up the mic in his hand to speak.
"Hello, our faithful viewers! Welcome to the beginning of the Entree round! We're down to 3 chefs now, being that one of them just got CHOPPED, his cause of death being Colossal Squid. Remember, if you'd like to see the aftermath of the judge's decisions, go ahead and buy a premium subscription! We have a special deal going on right now, get 6 months of Premium FREE and the next 6 months half-off in exchange for your firstborn child. Anyway, let's see what the audience thinks so far!"
The man walks over to what either might be a man with a dog's head or what may very well be a corgi in a coat posing as a man. Either way, the man with the mic is indifferent.
"Hey there. You seem to be enjoying the show so far, if the panting is of any indication. Care to voice your thoughts?"
The dog-man's mouth does not move, but a voice answers the question nonetheless.
"I'm definitely rooting for Gorbacholi, that guy is a legendary chef. The others have all been awkward and disappointing so far."
"Yes, this batch of contestants seem to be a little less than optimal."
"Although, seeing that dude get eaten by the Kraken was dope."
"Indeed, and it sure did not help him that we had Daisy watch a live stream of the other squids being killed, cooked, and eaten. She was pretty agitated. Started cracking her tank walls. Should probably do something about that."
"If he somehow fails, though, I guess Ramshit will have to do. Looking forward to the next round!"
"Yes, and and I hope your optimism is rewarded! Have a great time, thanks for sharing!"
The man walks away from the dog-man, the mystery of it's true identity known only to itself and, naturally, the god-queen Mizal.
"Okay, folks, I need one more person so that I can return backstage and drown my sorrows! You there, the guy with the third eye!"
The man walks down the aisle to a fairly accurate description of what he said: A being that appears to be a some sort of knight, that sports three eyes on his head.
"You look like someone who's alert and paying attention. What say you?"
"Tinydicku Weebasumi's chopping was expected and riveting after such a failure."
"Yes, he clearly underestimated Mizal's uncompromising judgement. She does not pull punches, especially against those who cut corners."
"With such a contrast, I am delighted to see what Papa Gorbacholi thinks of next."
"Indeed. Half of the appetizers actually seemed edible."
"Considering the basic and.. interesting ingredients, the chefs are going to have to blast out of the box if they want to stand out!"
"You got that right. Dr. Pepper as an ingredient sure is unusual, but it's been done before. Anyway, thanks for your words and have a good time!"
The man walks away, and the three-eyed knight goes back to surveying the stage.
"All right, that's all the time I've got. You viewers at home will be back to the action in just a minute, and I'll be backstage having a nap to escape my painful existence, but first..."
The man pulls a small notecard from his suit and begins to read it off.
"This round of Chopped has been brought to you by The Endtimes Emporium. The Endtimes Emporium: If it's not in a can, it's not worth the effort. With that, I'll be seeing you next round!"
The camera pans out and the spotlight dims as the man walks towards the backstage door, and for those paying attention, he slams open said door and exits sight. The view pans back across the audience and onto the kitchen, where the Entree round continues to take place.
Little do you guys know, things are going to end differently than you expect.
Gorbacholi mulled over the beverage in his mouth for a moment, trying his level best to detect what flavors it held- The first was sugar, and lots of it, but it seemed as if there was... Substance, to the sweetness. He tasted all manner of flavors- Most notably cherry, mixed with blackberry. There were also little hints of things like vanilla, licorice, and... Amaretto? Things he certainly didn't expect to find in the flavoring of an American soft drink, but today was full of culinary surprises. This drink was a symphony of a thousand confusing choices playing one particularly interesting note. So what was the harm in adding a few more instruments?
He eviscerated the beets with record time using the aforementioned sword of a knife, and lifted a pan onto the stove to sautee the beets with a bit of olive oil. He wanted them to be soft, juicy, and perhaps somewhat absorbent before he did anything with them, so they could take on additional flavors. He also added a little salt in, just to highlight the stuff. Then, he turned to this... 'Dr. Pepper' with a scrutinizing stare.
He poured the can into a saucepan- Usually the first pan he used when he had no idea what the fuck he was doing, and... Assuming there wasn't already apricot flavoring in... Whatever tonic this 'Dr. Pepper' was prescribing, tossed the dried apricots in, hoping he could reconstitute them in (or at least add a more apricot-like flavor to) the impending sauce.
It didn't take much stirring for him to realize that this bubbling water wouldn't last, and he'd have to do something about this sauce before it became a slime. He decided that apricots in sugar-water with a special recipe of 23 different flavoring syrups might not really taste that much like apricot, so he poured in a drizzle of orange juice and stirred it in. A little natural citric acid to bring back some semblance of what the dried apricots may have lost. Almost bringing in his ladle to taste, but stopping himself just short.
It occurred to him that such a concoction might be too sweet- Even offensively so, to his refined palette. There was nothing to counterbalance the overwhelming bouquet of fruit and soda that he had inadvertantly prepared for himself... So he added a spoonful of dijon mustard and began stirring. He took a quick taste, "Hmm..."
With a look of great consternation, he flicked in another loose spoonful of mustard and stirred, trying again, "HMMMM..."
It was simultaneously too fruity and too mustardy, he needed something to marry the two clashing forces, something that didn't quite have a taste of its own, but would resolve this subtle war between savory and sweet.
BAM! He tossed in a little more than half a cup of brown sugar. This would be... Interesting for sure. He began to strip the meat off the bone of the wings as he continued cooking this... Sauce? No, it was more like a syrup at this point, a thick, heavy... Glaze! Yes, that was it.
He got out a pan and turned the heat down, adding just a bit of water, periodically stirring it and keeping the pot hot just to make sure it maintained its liquid consistency. In the meantime, he poured the boneless wings into the pan and seared them until thoroughly pale and juuust juicy enough.
Grabbing a rubber barbecue brush to deftly paint the glaze over the butchered, skinless chicken bits, scrambling them with a seemingly superhumanly durable bare hand to get an even coating on the other side. He picked up a particularly syruppy one to try. Yes, this was absolutely the bizarre caramel flavor he was looking for. He set the pan aside and poured the chicken into a bowl with extra glaze, letting them cool down in order to get a crunchy outer shell. Perhaps this alien beverage wouldn't be the detriment he thought it would!
He grabbed a loaf of Italian bread and started deftly cutting thick layers with his original ridiculously sized knife, the heavy swings dropping right through it like an axe through wood. In no time at all, he had enough to make sandwiches for 4 judges-... If they even had that many left after this round. He added crushed garlic from the previous recipe to butter, and heated that butter in a small cup. When he had enough, he mixed it together with a hilariously small whisk that barely fit between his enormous fingers, and poured the faintest smidgeon of it over what would be the 'outside' side of the garlic bread in a wide arc- Enough to flavour the entire slice, but only faintly!
When the ostensible "garlic bread" slices were all laid out, and adding 3 broad slices of juicy beet flesh to every other bread slice. He then reached into the bowl of chicken, with a crackle and tingling sound of little pieces of sugary glaze breaking off and falling to the bottom of a ceramic bowl, he withdrew several handfuls of red, bejeweled chicken wing out and laid them across the remaining pieces of bread. Fishing out 2 Dr. Pepper-reconstituted apricot slices from the saucepan, he put one on top of each small pile of beets, before putting the sandwich together.
A variety of strange smells met his nose as he pressed the first sandwich in the panini grill. It certainly was a bizarre mixture, but then again, so were the ingredients... He could only hope that this sandwich was not as abhorrent as the sandwiches before.
Panini-pressing was an extensive process, but he managed to get the last sandwich on the plate and step forward with the dish.
"Caramel-glazed Chicken Panini, with beets, candied apricot, and swiss cheese!" He declared, as proud of this creature as it was decently possible to be.
I intended for it to be a very faint and unsalted garlic bread. It would actually make the bread sweeter and a little more roasted to fit better with the rest of the sandwich
After seeing the horrific scene in front of her, Avantika was shocked and mortified from the gruesome execution. She had absolutely no time to think however, as right now her main focus and concern was the ingredients.
She opened the box, hoping to find something easy, or at least recognisable.
Chicken wings: Once again, she was nervous upon seeing this; but she did read various recipes using chicken wings online once out of sheer curiosity.
Beets: A somewhat non-traditional ingredient when it comes to Indian cuisine, but she did know that the Sri Lankan love using beets.
Dr Pepper: She was totally dumbstruck upon seeing this, having never drank the soft drink before. Though she did know a South Korean that once mentioned her of its sweet-spicy taste.
Dried apricots: Probably one of her all time favourite snack food, though aside from in biryani, she couldn’t think of anything else to do with this...
She closed her eyes for a moment and thought of all the possible permutations and combinations, when suddenly an idea struck her mind, and she immediately set to work.
The most obvious thing to do with chicken was it’s tandoori. Chicken tandoori wings, was pretty famous with the non-veg lovers.
First, she laid the wings on a baking tray and added salt n pepper, with a little bit of Cajun mix. Then generously sprinkled tikka masala and garam masala. After this, she opened the already pre heated oven and set it to the temperature that would perfectly imitate the traditional tandoor; placing the baking tray inside.
Trying her best to remember the traditional Sinhalese curry, she prayed that she wouldn’t make an error. Sri Lankan food was never her strong point.
She chopped out the top and bottom sections of the beets, taking care not to throw away the leaves. Then she peeled the beets and chopped them into extremely fine and perfectly rectangular strips. Then she kept these in a pressure cooker, and added warm water, along with a pinch of salt. Then, she decided to give the traditional recipe a spicy twist and proceeded to take a small frying pan on another stove. After adding two tablespoons of rice ran oil, she added cumin seeds, and turmeric powder to the boiling hot oil; as the spices sizzled and integrated together. Then after adding curry leaves and sautéing it for half a minute, she poured all the contents in the cooker. After this, she poured coconut milk in the cooker generously and put the lid on, and began cooking it on medium flame.
Now for the apricots, she decided to make something special out of ‘em, maybe turn them into a drink to wash down the chicken curry. She knew just the right drink that’s one of her all time favourites.
First step was, to create her special homemade version of apricot liqueur
She placed fresh and dried apricots in a clean quart jar and poured in a little vodka. Then she sealed the jar and kept it in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.
She removed the chicken wings from the oven and was instantly hit by the amazing aroma. She kept them
aside for now.
After this, she strained the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the fruit pieces. Then she strained it again through a fine mesh strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth.
In a clean quart jar, she combined the strained liquid with simple syrup and put this for another thirty minutes in the fridge.
Now, she poured in the dr. pepper drink in a serving crystal glass and added the prepared liquer. Then she put a few cut pieces of dried apricot on the glass of the drink.
By now, the whistle blew five times, and her curry was ready; she put the stove off and opened the lid, being greeted with a rich pink colour of the beet curry.
She put the curry in a serving bowl and then added the chicken wings inside it, (after dicing them with a knife). Then she quickly cooked a little rice using the heat of the recently used cooker to her advantage, and placed a scoop of the rice just beside the curry bowl.
She kept the crystal glass, apricot drink beside this in the serving tray.
“Dune! I caal this the tandoori chicken beet curry and dr.pepper apricot special!”
A brand, I had found a box called Cajun spice mix at the market, the ingredients were salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme. I thought that the spice mix ingredients were universally the same and it was understood that when I used a box of Cajun spice mix, it meant these.
I don’t know if variations of these exist, if they do I’ll keep in mind to mention that next time.
Shouja, get something prepared! I need you alive for my plan to work!
Wait, why are you in place of fiscean?
Ficsean was killed in the succubus contest, and his soul was placed in the body of his first victim.
I was just proofreading!!
C’mon, don’t tell me I typed that all out for nothing! :(
[The following post has been officially sanctioned by Mizal and Fic. Any and all severe detriments are entirely canon until proven othewise.]
A small cricket chirped along to the clock in her seat, watching with baited, bloodthirsty breath as the Time of Killing grew ever nearer. But something was different about this round. That Indian woman- What was her name? She was falling behind... It seemed... Odd. She must have been distracted by something! Maybe her brain was in a different timezone. That's how these things work, right?
So much time, so little progress. The other chefs were almost finished with their dishes after that weird interval where everyone seemed to fall into a spice-induced trance, but ironically, Anatika seemed to be the most held back by her own clever sabotage. Even the one who wanted to see death the most was shocked by how alarmingly little time was left.
4 seconds on the clock!
The chefs finished plating their dishes and stepped forward. All except one. Anatika, who had barely passed the point of beeting her curry when the alarm went off. She knew what this meant- Gross incompetence had no place in the CHOPPED kitchen. Gross incompetence would be punished. If she was going to kill Ranjit... Well, she'd have to make use of what little time she had.
With a primal scream, she grabbed a meat tenderizer and charged toward him- Somebody in the audience called out, "Chef Gorbacholi! Your saucepan is still on!"
The big man turned around worriedly and stepped forward to see what was going on, and then it happened. The little cricket's eyes widened with joy and anticipation. Was it happening? The thing she had wished for? It felt like so long! An hour maybe! But she might have waited 9 days!... In some ways, it even felt like she did. But at least she was finally seeing it.
Chef Gorbacholi had entered a physical altercation with another one of the contestants. The spiky hammer hitting him square in the chest first, and the rest of the charging woman crashing haphazardly into him shortly after. The chef couldn't even see what hit him on account of his height, and was more shocked than anything as he spun around to see what was happening, elbowing Ranjit in the face.
Maybe it was just survival instincts because he'd been elbowed in the face by a 6 foot, 400 pound man. Maybe it was due to the high tension of the situation. Maybe it was because of Gorbacholi's callous disregard for the man who'd died in front of him earlier. Maybe it was the fact that the boisterous chef's Italian and pugilistic antics reminded him too much of a deeply buried trauma he faced early in life. Maybe it was because his convenient accent caused him to inadvertantly call Ranjit a rude word.
Or, maybe, it was all these things in a great stew that was finally boiling over- but for a moment, the Ranjit of the outside world died, and what rose to action instead was a being of fury... And murderous intent.
As Sal tried to wrestle the weapon out of Anatika's hands, he heard an ear-piercing scream. A scream he barely had time to react to before he heard someone breaking a bottle of olive oil on the table. He could tell by the distinct timbre of the droplets against the floor! Wasted olive oil? Who would dare to-
Glass shards embedded themselves deep in Gorbacholi's back as Ranjit stabbed him with the bottle. Once, then twice, then getting interrupted by another firm elbowing from Gorbacholi, trying to keep them both at bay.
"Yeah! Get him! Fuck him up!" the cricket yelled, waving a tiny foam finger. It wasn't entirely clear who she was cheering for, maybe it was more of a general sentiment?
"You can't kill me!" Anatika screeched, "You can't! I won't let you! I won't die without seeing the light drain from that filthy cheater's eyes!"
"YOU DIDN'T TELL ME YOU WERE A WOMAN, YOU HARLOT!" Ranjit screamed, from within his primal berserking state.
There were gasps from the audience all around, the accusation causing enough rage for even the small Anatika to shove Gorbacholi aside, "I CAN'T AFFORD THE OPERATION, YOU SHALLOW CUNT OF A MAN!"
She leapt forward and tackled Ranjit into the nearest kitchen counter, attempting to smack him in the face with her hammer, before her wrist was grabbed again by Gorbacholi.
"There has been too much violence!" He declared, trying desperately to pry the quarreling exes apart, but Anatika was ready for his attempt this time, taking a knife from the kitchen counter and stabbing Gorbacholi in the gut, "Ah! Mamma mia!"
The momentary distraction was enough for her to get away and turn back to Ranjit, but Ranjit was ready for her this time, punching her in the mouth as hard as he could in a fit of berserker rage- He cut his knuckles on her teeth, which had been forced all the way through her very lips with the sheer effort!
Both of them were screaming incoherently at this point, and Anatika slammed Ranjit back against the table again. He ripped the faucet off of the sink in a bout of hysterical strength and bludgeoned her across the face with it, then, as she doubled over, ran forward and staggered Gorbacholi with a series of blows until the faucet bent too far and became unwieldly. He tossed the makeshift club away and attempted to kick the bent-over Gorbacholi in the face, but...
This time, Gorbacholi was ready, grabbing Ranjit's leg, then slamming him as hard as he could in the chest with his fist- knocking him to the ground and stunting his breathing! He picked up the stunned Ranjit by the arm and started to flail him around to keep Anatika at bay as she approached with... A barbed wire baseball bat!? Where the blazes did she get that!
"Yeaah! More DEATH!" Chirped an entirely uninvolved Cricket, sitting atop her wallet that was now significantly thinner in the "Bribing Security" pocket.
Gorbacholi swung Ranjit as she swung her bat, managing to parry the blow, and tossed the man on top of her, giving him time to try and grab the bat. Ranjit attempted to crawl off, dragging his dislocated arm behind him, as Anatika, refusing to let go of the bat, was hoisted in the air by Gorbacholi!
With his hand on her back, and his other around her wrists, he shoved her up over his head in a most unconventional pro wrestling hold, then, in a few strides, walked over to her kitchen station and bodyslammed the woman into the island. Shattered glass and curry flew everywhere as she broke through the marble countertop- broke the sink off its upholstery and was gored by the plumbing underneath. Where once there was a kitchen counter with a sink and food, there was now a shattered canyon containing a burst mess that eerily reminded Gorbacholi of the sauce of the last armed and dangerous chef he had bodyslammed this way.
"WHY!?" Chef Gorbacholi fell to his knees, shouting at God, "WHYYYY!?"
"MURDERER!" Ranjit shouted, though he didn't seem all that genuinely concerned about the mess that was Anatika, "DID YOU THINK I'D FORGET, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!?"
With the knife in his hand, he swung wildly, cutting up the tree hairy trunk arms that Sal instinctively blocked with, not stopping until-... He suddenly couldn't move his hand?
With a stern, deadly glare, Chef Gorbacholi had caught the knife in his hand... Shoving it all the way through just to grip Ranjit's hand and hold it still. "Enough."
He shoved Ranjit to the side, giving him enough time to yank the knife out of his hand and suplex-toss Ranjit as he charged again, all the way into the pantry. Shelves clattered as Ranjit was launched by a human catapult, who lay spread-eagle and bleeding on the kitchen floor as the show's... Version of what could tentatively be called 'medical staff', finally decided to show up.
Let me know if I left anything out!
Amazing. Crap, cooking with a dislocated arm is gonna suck.
Crap, I have to rethink my plans of absolute rebellion, too.
Wait, so I’m out? (Oh and it’s Avantika not Anatika)
Aw c’mon, I was just 20 minutes late before Mizal finished the time, and the other contestants are in a time zone way closer to miz’s than mine.
Well, this has certainly been a learning experience. A bit tragic that this seems to have ended at the climax without a good Final Cooking Battle. But at least we had a good time! While writing prompts around a singular story and theme have been very fun, I think there are few takeaways that we need to address on our way to the next season.
1: The Killing System (and how to stick to it.)
I appreciate that this episode, as inadvertently as it did, actually managed to stay true to the show, and would have killed a new chef every round. But the inconsistency with which we were able to keep chefs participating meant we might have ended up with a very short show if we kept killing people off. Luckily, if we kept going, I don't believe that would have been the case. Everything seemed to shape up juuust perfectly as we killed off one person each round almost unintentionally. We likely would have had the episode running smoothly (as smoothly as some snuff series about gladiatorial death-cooking can go) from beginning to end, with what would have been minor hiccups in hindsight.
But I'm gonna be honest, it almost never happened on account of flakes. Judges held up the contest with their slow and minimal input (more on that later) and we almost didn't have enough chefs to start until Shouja literally saved the show. It was a small miracle that we managed to cobble together a one-elimination-per-round matchup with consistent competitors.
My major suggestion for improvement would be, indeed, to give all chefs the chance to make it to the final round without eliminations and score them based on overall performance. This will make the finale a lot of work, but the finale would probably be a lot of work anyway. My other suggestion would be to allow more than 4 chefs to participate. This would allow us to have random spectacular deaths as some chefs will inevitably fail us, and also allow us to make sure that at least two chefs compete all the way to the final round. We'll have it be a chef marathon. How will we be able to fit that many chefs? Well, it all comes down to the features that I propose be removed for the next round:
2: The Supporting Cast (Or: A case of too many moving parts.)
The Judges had, arguably, what could have been one of the most fun jobs in the entire series. They were supposed to give their opinions on dishes- Describe tastes, react to wacky shenanigans or odd cooking choices, play off each other and their fellow chefs, and add some extra drama, flavor, and rivalry to the competition already taking place. It was a brilliant idea- a clash of culinary figures and the chefs who cook for them.
There was a reason why, even though a lot of the judges in the show were somewhat boring straight-men, that the dialogue between the judges and the host interviewing them was what took up a good 50% of the Chopped runtime. It's interesting to hear these thought processes, to fill the audience in on the experience of dishes they haven't had, using ingredients they might not have even tried (or ingredients they're familiar with with an interesting twist!) The judging panel this episode was a diverse cast of eccentrics and wild personalities, so we were in for a raucous ride from the very beginning!... Except, we weren't.
Let's take a look at the Judges this episode. How do you think they did? Who was your favorite one? Don't look at the applications, that's cheating! If the only part of this thread that still existed was the Appetizer round up until the fight where it ended, which one of the judges would you like the most?
The only judge post was Ozoni calling in an impromptu ad break? Oh, huh. So it's confirmed that the judge characters were about as compelling as all the extra CGI aliens in the Star Wars Special Edition. But why were they all so uniformly non-present?
One potential reason might be that everyone who was participating as a judge was participating (as far as I know) in an ongoing contest as well, but I think it might go a little deeper than that.
The chefs have a very simple task ahead of them. Take four ingredients, plan a tasty meal, try to make it sound as pleasant as possible while hopefully establishing character with your chef, and try to make things interesting for the cameras using whatever improv tools you were given by context leading up to this.
What do the judges have to do?
Read 4 short stories, take personal opinions on what they think the meal would be like into account, offhandedly comment on people's actions or somehow interview chefs in the middle of rounds, open up live dialogue with other people's characters, and do it all within various time limits to keep the chronology of this collaborative story happening in sharpish order. Yes, for all the polish and brilliance this would have added, it sadly did not pan out that way, because it was a much weirder and more nitpicky task than most would have initially thought.
Getting a concrete sense of time and everything in the story happening at once in something like this is, indeed, fairly difficult. It's the reason none of the judges actually pulled it off, and the reason that Mizal, the only character that we actually see doing that job, only did most of her judging after the rounds were said to have occurred.
Fiscean honestly didn't get enough credit for what he did with the tools he was given. Without much pre-planning, he was able to use the time limit for dramatic tension, react to what other chefs were doing, and tie each round together to make it seem real by being able to react to what other people were doing. Being in Ranjit's head during those rounds was a treat, and it honestly did make him root for him as the rattled but unbroken underdog.
What Tim did was also brilliant despite what astonishingly little we actually gave him, with his only canonically stated role being "live studio audience". With it already implied that the common rabble could call in with commentary as they pleased, and with the judges being the only official opinions on the dishes given, Tim still decided to go above and beyond to flesh out the episode and add a real sense of participation.
Tim was willing to juggle the varying roles of judge, gameshow host, even a little backseat chef, snuck in worldbuilding details, and all in a concise package with injokes and audience members. Tim's efforts were a beautiful display that we honestly didn't deserve. Tim was utterly wasted in this role.
This was A Waste of Tim, and that fills me with disappointment.
So, what's the solution to this horrible lack of participation? I personally feel like we should simplify the tasks available. Just let the participants all be chefs, who really only have one job to do. The non-compliant will be able to be executed easily, in a way that makes sense in-universe, no participants will be saddled with anything as overwhelming or underwhelming as judges and live studio audience respectively, and all in all, we're just a lot more likely to get participation when less variables stand in the way of it.
3: Other suggestions to keep in mind for next time,
Arbitrary restrictions for bonus points: E.G. you may only include vegetables that aren't green, you can only cook meat from animals that don't have teeth, no ingredient can have more than 3 vowels in its name, etc.
The option to prepare appetizer, entree, and dessert in any order you want, but knowing that you might get saddled with non-optimal ingredients in later rounds which were intended for other genres of dishes.
More than 3 rounds if the amount of non-flaky participants is greater than 4.
Any plans for a season 2?