Chef Jakub – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 7

With an audience of nobles, cultured palettes would expect fine dining and with an almost limitless budget, I searched for the highest quality produce the very next morning. Before dawn had even contemplated breaking I was at the closed doors of the market awaiting the first carts to arrive from the fields and the docks. With a thick wad of notes on my person I bribed my way to the finest stock I had ever laid eyes on. The ingredients were so fresh that most of the fish were still flopping and the vegetables had worms squirming in the soil that clung to their roots. There were shell fish and rare eggs, every bird I knew of, and more, butchered cuts hung high with dried and cures and smoked meats and sausages of every colour and size imaginable. It was a feast in itself. A glorious dominion inhabited by trolls and haggard men with filthy fingernails. My kind of people.

Within the hour I was stocked but it pained me to leave that place, that temple of all that I loved. Knowing full well that I would return the following morning I made arrangements with all the best vendors and returned to the Manor. Peters still hadn’t warmed to my presence yet, but I got the impression that that was his function – he was suspicious of everyone and everything. A tough job, I imagined, not that I cared. When we returned, Peters helped me to carry the ingredients into the kitchen through the staff entrance and then he disappeared into the house through the dining room. Alone at last, I headed straight for the ladder and plucked two large wrought iron pots and a huge frying pan that was so heavy I almost fell from the ladder when I hoisted it from its hook. I slammed them down onto the countertop not knowing their weight, the ragged echo still dissipating with a slow chime as I turned and tossed vegetables into a colander in the sink and then ran the tap over them. Carried by my own worth I ruined what would have been a superb meal and then laced a bottle of lemon water guised as a pallet cleanser. Then I set about arranging the dining room.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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