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Food For Thought
Member

182 Posts
1 Thread

Pronouns: He, Him, His
Age: 28
Occupation: Inventor
Height: 6'1"
Registered: Nov 2020

#1
Wanted:
Seeking a personal chef for my brother.
The position will also have elements of a housekeeper. 
Pay is £3 a day.
Must pass an interview before hire.
Interested applicants should come to the following address:
That was the notice in the paper that had brought the young woman to the manor house just on the outskirts of town. It appeared to currently be undergoing renovations, as it has been empty for a few years this was not surprising. Those who listened to gossip knew that the house had recently been purchased by a wealthy American family the year before. It was, apparently, meant to be a holiday home for them though it was being turned to a slightly different use now. 

Applicants are lead to a small waiting room, that was clearly being worked on but wasn't occupied at present. One by one they are lead out to a small office and soon after they leave. Once inside they would find a sever looking older man with a slightly hooked nose. His expression was one of a man who was used to being in control, though at the corner of his eyes there was evidence of laughter. So a hard man but not an unfeeling one.

Still, there appeared to be a weight on the interviewer's shoulders on entering the room but it would vanish as his attention shifts to the new arrival. "Welcome, my name is Ambrose Blackwood." He says with a nod of his head gesturing to the chair in front of his desk. "Please, take a seat." 
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Member

89 Posts
2 Threads

Pronouns: her/she
Age: 22
Occupation: Private Chef
Plotter: https://bywitandwhitby.rpginitiative.com...hp?tid=366
Height: 5'5"
Registered: Sep 2020

#2
Vela had arranged for a carriage to the address, and with her trusty leather notebook with calendars and basic menus and notes to keep in hand she had headed to see about the job.  Her navy blue walking dress was crisp and professional with a white collar, not fancy but just enough of a ruffle to have a touch of femininity. 

Normally she would have a white blouse and solid dark color skirt with a huge apron over the top as she worked in the kitchen, but this was an interview and first impressions were important.  The navy blue hat was average-sized and had a feather along the side and out the back to curl over her hair a short length.  Her hair was up in a neat bun at the back of her head under the hat.

Inside, she followed the person into the house and to the small office and remove her gloves to hold them beside her notebook.  "Hello, Mr. Blackwood.  I am Vela Rosewine."  She gave a gracious nod of her head in greeting.  "It seems you are doing a lot of work here."  She glanced around as she sat down.
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Member

182 Posts
1 Thread

Pronouns: He, Him, His
Age: 28
Occupation: Inventor
Height: 6'1"
Registered: Nov 2020

#3
"Yes, we are. The original plan was to have the renovations completed before we ever crossed the pound but recent circumstances changed that plan."

The man lets out a long slow sigh as he looks out the window for a few moments. He seems to almost be lost in thought but he quickly turns his attention back to Vela. He offers her a wane smile, drums his fingers on the desk, and decides how much to tell her.

"This position is meant to help with my brother. He will be staying at this house alone, besides the staff, and I need someone to make sure he not only gets meals but also eats them." He pauses as he tries to figure out how to put this. "My brother is a troubled man, not dangerous but... Well, if no one ensures he is eating then the odds are good he will simply not do so until he has already damaged his health." Damage his health was an understatement, his brother might not eat at all until he simply collapsed from hunger and if he wasn't found then Edward could very well die. "With his troubles, I need to find the right person, not just to prepare food, but to coax him into eating it. This is why the pay is so generous, so do you think you are qualified for this position? If so, why?"
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Member

89 Posts
2 Threads

Pronouns: her/she
Age: 22
Occupation: Private Chef
Plotter: https://bywitandwhitby.rpginitiative.com...hp?tid=366
Height: 5'5"
Registered: Sep 2020

#4
Vela listened, her face intent with interest as he described the job.  She needed a regular full-time job until she gets regular customers for her business.  Being hired out to make menus and the following meal for special events or family gatherings was still a new idea. 

She had a few, though it was still as a curiosity both at the kind of work and that she is a professional chef that had finished culinary school.  As a woman, that had been a challenge, but that she was in the top of her class said a lot.  London had been growing interests, but she wanted to be known for herself, not just because her parent's friends had spread the news of her business.

The information about the man being troubled caused a pause in her mind, but then he continued and she relaxed knowing that he wasn't dangerous.  "It is a generous wage."  She agreed.  "And your description of him could be found to be a challenge.  As to am I qualified, I would say yes."

"I have the address of those I have worked before and a letter with me stating that I have received the Le Cordon Bleu Grand Diplôme."  She pulled these to options out of her notebook to hand to him.

"I have started a small business here in Whitby providing special event menus and then leading the creation of the dishes for the event."  She explained with confidence.  "I do however find the need for a client that is more regular while I get more regular clients."  She explained honestly, not wanting to leave him thinking otherwise. 

Currently,  she had maybe two events a month and that would not pay for the rent on the small cottage she had rented, nor the supplies she had bought to fit out the kitchen there.  The income she had earned in London was willowing down quickly.

 "I grew up in a very social household.  My parents often had various people over when in town and once I was old enough to join in the gatherings, I was able to interact with a variety of people.   So, in keeping even the quiet company engaged was not an issue."

"As for food, I have a creative eye in the visual of the dishes I make as well as a good palate for the tastes that are created.  I feel I could find dishes that he would enjoy.  Does he have any allergies?  Any flavors that you know that he favors?"  She asked curiously.
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Member

182 Posts
1 Thread

Pronouns: He, Him, His
Age: 28
Occupation: Inventor
Height: 6'1"
Registered: Nov 2020

#5
Ambrose listens to her patiently as she highlights all of her qualifications. Frankly, she was probably overqualified for the job. It sounded as though she could be serving as the head chef in a restaurant if she was not burdened with her gender which made life harder for a professional. When she is finally finished he cocks an eyebrow.

"That is all quite impressive Miss Rosewine."

He says with an absent gesture of his hand.

"And I am certainly hopeful that by the time your business starts to take off, that my brother won't require a babysitter." Or that he could get some proper staff to look after the man. But that would involve Ambrose admitting that his brother was beyond help. Which he wasn't ready to do... yet.

"So far as I am aware my brother has no allergies. As for favourite foods, he had a particular fondness for apple tarts in his youth. It's been some time since my brother and I lived together so I do not know if he has expanded his palate at all but he was also quite fond of simple flavors. He didn't like things being mixed, would never take a bite of cranberry sauce with his turkey on thanksgiving for example."

He says with a sigh.

"But, before you decide if this job is right for you. You should actually meet him. I must caution you again that he is a bit odd." Breathing through his nose he lets out a sigh. "The first source of his oddness is his intelligence. I do not know that I have ever met a man smarter than my brother. That has made him a bit isolated in his youth, he was placed on a pedestal and it made it hard for him to behave as a normal child. The second and more distressing reason..." He trails off for a moment. "Well, I do not like discussing these things but it is nothing you can't learn in the papers. Just over a year ago my brother's home in Massachusetts burned down. His wife died in the fire, she was with child at the time and he blames himself." There is a pause as Ambrose lets this sink in.
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Member

89 Posts
2 Threads

Pronouns: her/she
Age: 22
Occupation: Private Chef
Plotter: https://bywitandwhitby.rpginitiative.com...hp?tid=366
Height: 5'5"
Registered: Sep 2020

#6
She gave a brief nod at the mention of the apple tarts.  She could do that easily and if he has a fondness of apples she could play around with that in various methods and types of dishes, not just desserts.  "Simple flavors and not mixed together.  I can remember that."

A look of empathy filled Vela's expression.  "Oh, how horrible.  Yes, that would make it hard to move forward."  She gave an understanding response.  "Meeting him would be a good thing.  And seeing the kitchen here."  She suggested. 

She would need to be able to arrange for groceries and see how it would be stored in the kitchen.  She gave him a look.  "How many kitchen help will there be?  I figure at least one or two for the basic things."  She asked, wanting to get an idea of what she was likely to deal with each day.  "Another question would be is would you want standard three meals during the day, or"  she paused thinking about it.

"For someone that is not eating regularly, perhaps small but hearty 'snacks' full of nutrients various times during the day?  Or if he is not one to sleep regularly, even in the night?"  She had heard of one of the chefs she had visited with that they did not have time to sit down and eat a formal meal.  He had made a habit of small mini-meals several times throughout the day as he worked.  Not enough to pause the processes but kept his health and energy going.
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Member

182 Posts
1 Thread

Pronouns: He, Him, His
Age: 28
Occupation: Inventor
Height: 6'1"
Registered: Nov 2020

#7
Ambrose listens to everything Vela has to say before he offers his response. He was a calm level man and he didn't see the need to talk over her as she speculated and asked her questions. When she was finished he drums his fingers once again before he responds.

"At present, we are still hiring staff. We have two maids already vetted who will be starting soon, they could be used as kitchen help at present. If you get the position then I would be willing to provide you with a budget for staff if you wished to hire more dedicated kitchen staff."

He then considers her second question.

"I'll be honest, I don't know the man my brother has become well enough to answer that question with accuracy. I do know getting him to eat a full meal is a struggle so perhaps the small hearty meals throughout the day would be a good way to make sure he eats. As I stated earlier, your job will be both to cook for him and ensure that he eats what you cook. How you go about it will be up to you, find what works best and do that."

A bit harsh to phrase it that way perhaps but he was offering the exorbitant salary he was because this was a problem he wanted solved but could not figure out himself. Getting to his feet he gestures.

"We will start with the kitchen, it's stocked with some basics. I would like for you to prepare some small snack to bring to him. A live trial if you'd like. You are the first person to apply for the job that I think can actually do it so let's put that theory to the test."

He waits for her to get up and they head down to the kitchen. It was nothing special, your typical manor kitchen, there was nothing to complain about but it was hardly the kitchen of her dreams. Still, it was stocked with all the basics so she could whip up almost anything she had a mind to unless it involved something truly rare or exotic.
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Member

89 Posts
2 Threads

Pronouns: her/she
Age: 22
Occupation: Private Chef
Plotter: https://bywitandwhitby.rpginitiative.com...hp?tid=366
Height: 5'5"
Registered: Sep 2020

#8
Vela would need to see how the kitchen was set up and find out if she would be creating meals for the staff as well before she would know what she might need in the way of help in the kitchen.  At most, she would need an under cook (to cook for the staff), a kitchen maid, and a scullery maid, at the very least she would need a scullery, she reasoned mentally.  She gave a brief nod and finding this would be best as well but would have gone with what the employer wanted.  She was relieved though with the goal being to get the man to eat.  Having him guide her as she got to know him, would help her encourage him to eat.

She walked along with him to the kitchen.  Seeing the typical set up with the work table in the middle, she was cheered to find it was modern.  Having both hot and cold water in a large inside sink and a gas oven/stove would make her job much more enjoyable.  She would likely still use the fireplace and need someone to keep it clean and stocked with wood for heat in the winter, but the mess of wood or coal for the stove and oven would not be an issue.

She gave a look at the supplies in the pantry and ice box.  Both were large enough to hold groceries and supplies for a small household.  She saw apples, onions, and some chicken as she looked through the available items.  After washing her hands, she grabbed a large apron to protect her dress and put it on.  First, she gathered the ingredients and put the items on the central table along with the utensils.  With an experienced manner, she set the oven to the appropriate heat for the dish she had in mind. 

"I remembered you said he had once liked apple tarts.  So, I thought a dish with a hint of apple might be appealing."  She explained as she cut the produce.

Then back to the table, she cut the chicken setting the thighs to the side, and put the rest of the chicken back into the ice box.  With a quick motion of her hands, she seasoned the thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heating a deep cast-iron skillet with oil, she browned the thighs and then put them off to the side on a plate but there beside the stove to keep it warm.

Then added some onion after slicing it to saute in the same skillet.  She added some cider vinegar and a bit of water scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.  With a quick toss of more salt and some thyme, she kept an eye on the onions.  Once the onions were tender, she turned off the heat and added the chicken to the skillet with the onions, and spooned the sauce over the chicken thighs.

Then with an artistic eye, she placed the apple slices over the thighs and put a lid over the skillet.  With a careful lift of the lidded skillet, she put the whole thing into the oven for 15 minutes.  She began to clean up the used items as the chicken cooked. 

She had been quite focused as she cooked, but at that point in time, she looked at Ambrose.   "Are there any religious or cultural diet concerns that I should know about?"  She had already asked about things that might be health concerns but thought it was good to ask about other issues as well.

Once is was near the time to pull the skillet out of the oven, she took the thighs off the skillet again to a new plate nearby to again keep it warm.  Then she whisked heavy cream and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Stirring gently into the sauce in the skillet. Once that was done, she placed the chicken back into the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.

Return skillet to the oven and bake, uncovered until the chicken is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear and then for another fifteen minutes.  Again, during the time with the thighs in the skillet in the oven, she cleaned up the area.  This time everything was cleaned up and put away. 

With a quick summary look at the dishes available, she pulled out a plate and utensils for eating, and once the thighs were done, she served the plate with the thighs and the apples with the sauce over it to Ambrose.

"Enjoy."  She smiled quite happy with how it turned out.
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Member

182 Posts
1 Thread

Pronouns: He, Him, His
Age: 28
Occupation: Inventor
Height: 6'1"
Registered: Nov 2020

#9
Ambrose did not stay to watch her cook. However, a servant was sent to assist with the cleaning as she worked, lightening her load quite a bit, when the dish was nearly finished the young woman went to fetch Ambrose. Returning around the time she was pulling it out of the oven he offers her a smile as he waves to the servant. The girl goes to take over doing the dishes as Ambrose indicates that Vela should stay where she is.

"It smells delightful."

He informs her before he picks up the plate.

"However, the job wasn't to make something for me."

He gestures for her to follow leading the way out of the kitchen and up through the house. Passing through a pair of double doors they enter a wide-open library. Tall bookshelves that had yet to be filled lined both walls. A few books had been moved from the dozens of boxes and onto the shelves but the work appeared to have been abandoned swiftly. The center of the room had a large table that was covered with books and sheets of paper pens, and various other things. Then around the table where two blackboards on wheeled stands. A man with a mop of frizzy brown hair, with the sleeves of his dress shirt rolled up scribbles on the boards. He doesn't even glance over his shoulder at the sounds of the doors opening, he just continues to work.

"The job is to get him to eat it."

Ambrose says with a sigh as he hands the plate of food to Vela.
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Member

89 Posts
2 Threads

Pronouns: her/she
Age: 22
Occupation: Private Chef
Plotter: https://bywitandwhitby.rpginitiative.com...hp?tid=366
Height: 5'5"
Registered: Sep 2020

#10
Vela gave a brief soft "thank you" to the servant.  She had not expected the help in this interview type of work, but it gave a good thought in her mind as to the type of environment she would get if she got the job.  When the man complimented the smell, she gave a slight smile and nod of thanks in his direction.

She gave an understanding nod as well when he said it was not for him.  She remembered this was a job about helping to get his brother to eat.  She followed Ambrose through the house to where the other man was working.  It was a bit of an unorganized layout as if he followed where his ideas took him even when he was in the middle of another thought. 

She watched him work for a moment holding the dish in her hands trying to get an impression of the man.  She looked at the things he was writing on the board curiously.  Getting closer, she tried to figure out what the topic was.   She figured if she could connect in some way with his work, she might get an opening to his personality and how his brain would work and how to best get him to eat.

"Hello, Mr. Blackwood.  I am Vela Rosewine."  She finally introduced herself politely.
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