Friday, June 21, 2013

First-look Friday: An excerpt from my latest work-in-progress

This is from my latest novel, which is untitled. Julia Emerson is a catering chef, and she loves her job - the food, the people, the atmosphere... You met Julia and her friends here - and today, here's an insight into the folks Julia works with:

With the exception of Brian, the owner's teenage son and unwilling intern, I was the youngest on the team. George was top dog, and loved nothing more than to act as though every catering job was the final three minutes of Top Chef (the Japanese one, simply because he tried to be that intense). Then there was me, happy as a clam preparing the main dishes George thought up (and creating a couple of my own), but my specialty was in the creation of mouth-watering appetizers and ensuring beautiful food presentation.
Next up was Andy, the pastry chef who was drop-dead gorgeous and fantastically gay (aren't they always?), and he loved to speak in a French accent while he was "creating" (he's from New Hampshire, although he'll deny it). And last but not least was Bev, our chef de partie. She could whip up a marinara faster than a true Italian on speed and make it taste like you were sitting in the middle of Rome, speaking fluent Italian with a beautiful man.
When I opened my own catering business, I had to figure out a way to lure her from Cathy and John (the owners). I didn't care that she was Cathy's sister...this business was cutthroat.
Okay, maybe it wasn't really all that cutthroat. I mean, everyone (except George in the throes of his Food Network dreams) was pretty laid back about work. We all did our jobs, did them well, and got paid a decent salary. It helped that we liked each other and it helped even further that we only worked together 4 days per week. (I don't know why Cathy and John felt like Wednesdays shouldn't be worked, but I'm not complaining. I get a day off in the middle of the week to run my errands.) In the summers, we sometimes expanded for weddings and graduations and such, but for most of the year, we were generally in the business world. We had an entire brigade of servers to actually bring the food to wherever it was going, so we - George's Girls, as we liked to call ourselves - rarely did any face-to-face customer time, unless we were trying to land a big client. We hung out in the massive kitchen space near Faneuil Hall and simply made food all day long. The owners let us experiment with food pretty much whenever there was time, budget and permission. George had more clout than the rest of us, which he held high over our heads, but since I am pretty non-competitive, I usually just smiled and continued to create my beautiful fig and goat cheese flatbreads (or whatever was on the menu that week).


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