Roberto prepared to spoon on the sauce.
This wasn’t just any sauce, mind you, it was his special creation: the culmination of his years of experience and expertise, his signature dish. But, it couldn’t stand alone. It needed something to be drizzled over to truly be complete. Thus, he waited.
Carlo carefully plated his own masterpiece. He took his time to make sure the presentation was perfect. It simply wouldn’t do to have a single item out of place. Genius cannot be rushed.
The two brothers, Roberto and Carlo, chefs extraordinaire, were known across the land as the finest cooks one could ever have the pleasure of being served by. Their restaurant, Intingolo, had started humbly enough with the two of them working every shift on a shoestring budget and barely making ends meet. Over the years word of the food had spread and the customers and rave reviews had poured in, allowing them to expand, hire help, expand again, and finally look around and feel like they had made it to where they wanted to be: working on their specialty dishes and leaving the rest of the business in capable hands.
Life had been good.
Then famous customers had started coming in, politicians, actors, sports stars, and the pressure to create works of art, pleasing to all of the senses, mounted. Roberto and Carlo scrambled to find something that would define them and their restaurant, something that would appease the masses but also appeal to the more discerning palettes of their upper echelon clientele.
It was Roberto who had stumbled onto the sauce, and its secret ingredient, late one evening after the doors had been closed and the last of the staff had gone home for the night. Carlo had worked countless hours after that to create a dish to compliment the sauce his brother had created and he too finally stumbled onto the right combination of flavors and textures. They combined their creations, and, voila, they gave Intingolo a dish that would be raved about, craved, obsessed over and sought after through the country.
Roberto was clamored with request after request to give out the secret of his sauce. The public wanted to know. His peers wanted to know. The world wanted to be able to at least attempt to make the delicious gravy in their kitchens at home. He always refused. He smiled, a knowing, sad and tired, smile after each attempt at getting him to divulge the ingredient list, but as long as the brother’s continued to garner fame and attention, as long as their restaurant was the one on the tip of everyone’s tongue, as long as they were the darlings of the kitchen, Roberto knew he couldn’t share the secret of his sauce with anyone other than his brother.
Carlo knew the truth of it, of course, he had been there the night Roberto had created it. Plus, they were brothers and they shared everything anyway. Roberto would have told Carlo how he had come up with the sauce even if Carlo hadn’t been there in those fateful late night hours. Just as Carlo had shared the secrets of his dish with Roberto once he had perfected it.
They knew the “how” and the “what” of each others’ signature creation but they never once attempted to make them. They were a team, they each had a role to fill, and they were okay with that. It was as it was supposed to be.
The years passed, the restaurant thrived, Roberto and Carlo were offered guest appearances on several cooking shows, were asked for critiques on up-and-coming chefs, and were afforded every opportunity to thrive and grow their business, but every afternoon they returned to Intingolo and made sure they were on hand to create their dish whenever it was ordered. It was their passion, their calling, their true love.
Eventually the truth came out. When someone, or two brothers to be specific, has a secret that other people want to know they will find a way to discover the truth of that secret. Staff members at the restaurant were bribed, money exchanged hands, hidden cameras were set up to record the brothers’ movements and after several weeks of having to move the cameras around to capture the right angles and the right settings of every step of the process, the entirety of the steps and ingredients to create the sauce and dish were caught.
It took less than 24 hours for the news to go public, for the restaurant to get shut down, and for Roberto, Carlo, and a third, unidentified, man to get hauled off to jail where all three were held without bail for their crimes. In hindsight it was a marvel that the secret had lasted as long as it had. Expose after special after investigative report was thrown together to track how they brothers had gotten away with it for as long as they had and to ensure that other famous restaurants and chefs weren’t employing similar tactics.
Due to the overwhelming and damaging evidence, all three men plead “nolo contendere” to the charges leveled against them. As first time offenders, despite the overall mass of their crimes against humanity, the brothers were only sentenced to ten years in prison. The public was outraged that the sentence was that long as the two chefs were still generally beloved by all. The third man, received his third strike, and was sentenced to life in prison with the first possibility of parole in ten years time. Though it was still his third strike and the Judge could not overlook that, it was statements from the brothers claiming the man’s innocence as to the purpose of the drugs he had been dealing Roberto for the past several years that the court factored in to being slightly lenient on the man.
The drug dealer truly hadn’t known the mdma (ecstasy) he’d been selling the elder brother was being used in creating the world famous sauce.
Word Count: 1,000
Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.
“This week, tell us a story based on this photo”
Pictures truly are worth 1,000 words.