Stories From a Distant Galaxy Volume 24
Intergalactic Flavors and Cosmic Aromas Brought to you by Chef Yeri
The smells of exotic foods fill my nose as I run through the kitchen. Yelling, calling out, laughing, food flipping on the grill, the sizzle from the stoves, the spinning of mixers, these are all sounds that hit my ears. I welcome these sounds with a smile, as I truly know I am home.
My name is Chef Yeri and I am an orange-skinned Kilarian man. I am one of the greatest chefs in the galaxy. That’s one hell of a title, huh? Well, it took many years of work, pain, blood, and sweat to get here. Started off as a dishwasher, and then did bitch cook work for about a decade before I came up in the big leagues. My flavor was immaculate and nobody any the galaxy could do what I do with food.
I just have this gift that allows me to put flavors and smells together like numbers in a mathematical equation. I currently work as the head chef for the Blazri Quez Lucir. The Blazri is a luxury restaurant on the most expensive star cruise in the galaxy. People come on this cruise for two reasons. They come to cheat on their spouses and eat the food.
Tickets are anywhere from 50,000 AC to 500,000 AC. That’s a lot of money to cheat, but then again, the food is pretty fucking great. Out of the 30 restaurants on the cruise, the Blazri is certainly the best. Well, that’s what all the critics say. I change up the menu every few weeks, so that takes a lot of research. Every month, I take a week to travel to an exotic world to sample their cuisine and learn new flavors for my menus.
It’s all the work I put in that really makes my cooking shine. Currently, we’re cooking with my newest menu, so the kitchen is a little crazy right now, but hey, I can give you a quick tour. Out of the blue, a few of my line cooks shoot past me while holding boiling pots of Rukari Hera Chowder. We always get our seafood from Rukari Dez because it is of the highest quality.
First, we have our prep room, which is connected to our loading dock. Here is where our shipments come in, ingredients, meats, and other products are stored in proper conditions, and our prep crew prepares the food for the line. I spend most of my time on the line and in the shits, but sometimes I come back here to relax and chop some greens.
Next up, we have our zapping room. A zapping room is a superheated room where certain meats are prepared. Some planets where we farm animals are extremely hot, so the meat from the animals must be kept in a heated room or else they will spoil. Sounds strange, right? With a galaxy full of planets with different climates, we need to be prepared to work with diversity.
Then we have the line, my favorite spot. Our line is occupied by a 20-cook team working with 10 burners, 4 Goula oil grills, 3 laser cutting stations, 4 quick freezing boxes, and a specialty station with specialty tools. At that station, we have 2 highly trained professionals who are licensed in using the tools. Don’t worry; we’ll get into that later.
I feel a tap on my shoulder from behind me. I turn around to see my sous chef, Werila. She’s a green-skinned Ludenarian woman who is beautiful, but missing a hand because of a meat cutting accident. I offered to buy her a new hand, but she claims she works better with just one. She’s a crazy bitch, but that’s what we need in a kitchen.
“Chef, we have a hefty order! I think this one needs your touch.” She informs me. I grab the tab from her and read it. Oh wow, this is one hell of an order. They want a Velkarian steak, Relufo sprouts cooked in Jumi, grilled Rukari Ieugu Lamu, and hyper-cooled Jizzits with soft coating. Well shit, this is one hell of an order.
For someone from, I don’t know, a different galaxy, this may sound like gibberish, but to me, this is flavor. I’ll explain everything as I go along, so worry not. My sous chef smiles at me. “Tell me what to do, chef.” I think for a moment. “Prepare the Relufo sprouts and soak them. I’ll handle the steak and we’ll handle the Ieugu Lamu last. The Jizzits will be a desert, so after the entrée, we’ll take care of that.” I order. She smiles and scurries off.
With no time to lose, I dash over to the prep room to retrieve the meat cut. I open the fridge and pull out a 5-pound slab of Velkarian leg cut. Velkarians are a reptilian species of animal that lives on the planet Wemonimo. The planet is freezing with little plant life. A Velkarian’s diet is purely fish and shellfish, giving the meat a rich seafood flavor while also possessing a thick meaty chew.
As I flop the cut on the prep table, one of my prep crew hands me a specialty-heated knife. When cutting into a slab of Velkarian, the knife must be heated to prevent the blood from escaping the cut. The blood carries all the flavor and is a vital piece to the cut. Different alien species have different meat structures, and this makes cooking in a diverse galaxy a pain in the ass.
After cutting a half-pound slap, my crew wraps the rest of the meat, and I run to the line with my cut. I arrive at the seasoning station where my cooks are waiting with my spices. Velkarian goes great with very specific spices. One spice is Urilias leaf, only found on a protected natural reserve planet. Our restaurant is allowed access to 40 pounds of the leaf a year, so you best believe it is expensive.
The next spice is a type of mineral known as Cuka salt. This mineral comes from several mining planets and can also be found on asteroids. Though both spices are light-years away from each other, the flavor of it combined with an alien steak is beyond expressing. The leaf gives us a tangy, yet sweet taste, while the salt brings out the flavor of the blood, expressing the seafood flavor in the steak.
After lathering the steak in spice, I hand it to one of my cooks and he slaps it on the grill. Immediately after, I spray the steak with a mixture of Kurpa flower nectar and Guuba oil. The nectar coats the steak with a floral taste to make that first bite a bit more intense, while the oil keeps the steak at a slow burn. The steak takes about 20 minutes to cook, as the blood needs to steam and cover the meat.
So, now is the perfect time to regroup with Werila and check the sprouts. I trust her with any task, but I like to double-check everything. Quickly, I walk to the prep room to check the Relufo sprouts. They are currently soaking in Lake Ofura water while also cooking. There is no heat in the tub, but the water from the lake cooks them. Why is this?
Well, Lake Ofura is a very special lake on one of the Bugari System planets. The lake is a crater caused by an asteroid containing massive amounts of salts and acidic compounds. The planet is uninhabitable other than a species of bacteria living in the water in the crater. These bacteria organisms feed off the acidic compounds and salts, creating a fluid in the water that cooks plant life. It’s the weirdest shit, and the water is extremely scarce, but we make do with our infinite funds.
The flavor of the sprouts cooked in the water is absolutely breathtaking. It gives the sprouts an almost candy-like flavor while also being extremely rich with a taste that lingers in the mouth. This aftertaste positively affects every bite of other foods you take, creating several flavors in one bite with many foods. A gallon of Lake Ofura water costs around 20,000 AC, but with how much the dishes cost, we double our money.
After the sprouts cook, we drain the water and run it through a recycler to use it for at least 3 more batches. We then chop them up into small cubes and set them in the fridge to cool. Werila and I then pull out the Ieugu Lamu and begin preparation. The cut we use for an Ieugu fillet is the tail fins. The Ieugu Lamu possesses two sets of tail fins that hold the most meat. Their body carries a decent amount of meat, but when you buy Ieugu, you want the rich parts, which are the fins.
I cut the head off the fish and cut the body down the middle, revealing the meat and bones. Werila takes the bones and guts out while I cut the meat from the body, leaving the tail meat. While I carefully slice the tail meat, Werila takes the head and body meat and throws it in a stew that the prep crew is making. Swiftly, we take the tail meat to the line and throw it in a skillet.
We then lather the steamy meat with Roppa berries for sweetness, Yuti stems for a rich tongue-grabbing taste, and we spray it down with Quoia tree sap to give it a thick, spicy coat. You only cook Ieugu tail for a couple of minutes because the meat is very light and can easily burn.
After a few minutes pass, Werila throws it off the skillet and into a tub of Treka Lizard scales. Treka Lizards come from a dry desert planet called Nurubi Laz. The reptile has scales made of sugar and salt crystals to help it survive the harsh conditions. After a good cleaning and time in the oven, the scales make a great coating for various meats and even deserts.
The fillet is ready and on time, as the Velkarian steak is finished too. I plate up the steak, fish, and sprouts and add a layer of dried Burta flowers and Fulik grass to help give it an appetizing aroma. This meal looks incredible! The Velkarian steak is covered with a brown crispy charred layer while the meat is dark purple, bleeding violet blood. The sprouts smell of mountain flowers and are glowing blue with yellow spots and orange veins, while the Lake Ofura water steams from it, giving it a hint of mountain air aroma. Finally, we have the Ieugu Lamu fillet smelling of a freshwater spring with hints of pungent greenery and forest rain. The meat is light blue with a sparkly crust of scales that sparkles in the light.
After the garnish is spread, I take a small bowl and fill it with our Rukari Hera Chowder to compliment the Ieugu Lamu. The menu I chose was a cold climate and ocean theme. We ordered a lot of seafood from Rukari Dez and several herbs and steaks from other cold regions of the galaxy. A server approaches me and smiles. “Excuse me, chef, our guest has requested that you bring out the dish. Considering the price, I believe it is a fair request.” Says the red-skinned server.
Now and then we get a hotshot that wants to see the chef. That’s okay; I could use a change of scenery. I turn to my sous chef. “Werila, could you prepare the Jizzits and charge the hyper-cooler? I shouldn’t be too long.” I request. She smiles and makes her way to the specialty station. I grab the platter and step out from the back.
Wow, I forgot how different everything is out here. The subtle silence is caressing my broken ears as the light classical music fills the restaurant. The walls are metallic black with smooth engravings, while the entire front side of the restaurant is a bubble of glass that reveals the stunning view of space. Sitting outside the window now is a thick, gassy blue world with striking lighting storms that flash and reflect off the windows. The lights are a dim red that emphasizes the dishes on the tables to give the place a relaxing feeling.
I don’t come to the front too often, but it’s always a pleasant trip. As I step closer to the table, guests give me smiles and compliments. Shit, I forgot I was kind of famous around here. My reply is with smiles and nods. I don’t cook for these rich fucks; I cook because it makes me happy. The guests can go fuck themselves for all I’m concerned, but they keep me in business, so I’ll be good to them.
While trotting closer to the table, I soon realize that it is the best seat in the house, the bubble. The bubble is a table that costs 80,000 AC just to reserve. It’s a great seat, as it is an entire table encased in a glass bubble sticking out the side of the place, giving you a complete view of the vast cosmos.
I approach the bubble and notice something, or should I say someone. It is a blue-skinned Trigiaite woman with braided violet hair, wearing a beautiful baby blue dress that matches her skin. This better not be who I think it is.
I set the platter on the table and greet the woman with her back turned. “Beautiful starry night, wouldn’t you say?” she tells me. Goddammit, I know who it is. She turns toward me to reveal a beautiful smile complimented by dark crimson eyes. It’s my ex-wife, Kerra.
“Well hello, miss. I hope you enjoy your food.” I quickly say as I try to evade. Before I can make my great escape, she grabs my hand. Fuck, I forgot how soft those hands were. “Stay, you haven’t seen if I like the dish or not. I will say; it looks amazing. Please, sit and keep a lady company on a fine night.” She urges.
I try to let go of her hand, but her skin is far too soft. “I really have to get back to the kitchen. God knows what would happen without me.” I express. She chuckles. “Yeri, it’s okay. Werila can surely handle the back for a minute. You trained her well. Just give me a moment.” How can I say no to that face? We may be split up, but I am not immune to her witchery.
Slowly, I sit down and watch her eat. We were married for 8 years. Usually, monogamous relationships are looked down upon, but we had something going on. The marriage was held in secret and our life was like a romance movie. Like every movie, it ended. She was taking over her father’s opal mining company, and I wanted to be the best chef in the galaxy.
She begged me to give up the cooking and work with her as an executive for the company, but that was nonnegotiable. She went off to the Trigia system, and I went off on my own. It’s been years, but now and then, she’ll find me at whatever restaurant I’m in and check in on me.
She still loves me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. Our paths don’t cross, and I choose to cook over love. As she takes her first bite, she smiles and wipes juice from her chin. “Yeri, there is nothing like your food. It brings back a flood of memories. How’ve you been, love?” I smirk and tap my head. “I’ve just been cooking. You know, I’m always cooking.”
She takes another bite and sighs. “You can always come back, you know. I was with this guy and a few other girls, and none of them can cook like you. I just don’t feel it anymore, not like I used to.” Her words hit me like a fucking artillery cannon. She’s beautiful, yet dangerous. I peek back to the kitchen and can slightly hear the sounds of cooking, yelling, and sizzling.
“Kerra, c’mon. You already know the answer. I found true love, and it’s waiting for me on the line. I love my work, and I love the flavors of this galaxy. You’re always welcome to eat at my restaurant, but we’re not meant to be. Move on, sweetheart.” I try to hold it in, but a tear leaks from my eye. Kerra wipes it away and smiles. “Thank you for the dinner, Yeri. I’ll be back; you know that. I’ll be waiting.”
I stand up and kiss her hand. “Don’t wait. You have a life to live, too. There is a galaxy full of charming souls. You’ll find yours. I found mine, and it’s in the form of a task. I love this task and I am married to this task. Be good to yourself.”
Before she can reply, I scurry off. Another minute with that stunning woman, and I would’ve been snared in her trap. Trying to hide my watery eyes, I make it back to the kitchen and meet Werila at the specialty station where the Jizzits are waiting.
Jizzits are a type of nut found in the, uh… they’re found in the Jerikita planets in sector 32 or some shit, fuck! My brain is all fucked up. Why does she always do this to me? “Chef… Chef?” Calls out Werila as she waves her hand in front of my face. I sharply turn toward her, and she notices the watery eyes. “You okay? You need a smoke?” she asks. I smile. “Let’s just get the Jizzits done, then after, a smoke sounds nice.”
So, to prepare these nuts, we need to cut them with a proton-charged saw. The protons keep the nut stable and prevent it from exploding. So… Where was I? I hold the cutter but my mind goes blank. I can’t stop thinking about her eyes. Fuck! Yeri! Chill, man. Just be cool and get these done.
Werila slowly takes the cutter from me and pats my back. “It’s okay, Chef, I got this.” She swiftly cuts the nuts with perfection. I trained her so well. She hands them to me, and we place them in the hyper-cooler. The hyper-cooler is a compact box that freezes things to subzero temperatures within a flash.
I hit the button, the buzzer sounds, and we pull out the nuts with special gloves. We then coat the Jizzits in Teragoa foam, which comes from the milk of a Teragoa Rar, a large mammal reining from the planet Grador. The milk is sweet and tastes like a milkshake. The flavor of the nuts taste like soda and has a spicy, yet sweet aftertaste.
After plating up the dish, the server approaches me. “Our guest wants you to deliver the dish again. Is that okay?” Before I can respond, Werila leans close to me. “Is it her again?” She asks. I slowly nod my head. Quickly, she grabs the dish and dashes out to the front. I peek through the door as Werila storms to the table of my ex-wife. I watch as she calmly talks to her, yet I can see the lightning in her eyes. Kerra peeks back at me and I duck behind the door. After a minute, Werila comes back with a smile. “Say, Chef, how does a smoke sound?” She asks with confidence. I look around the kitchen and feel nervous, but Werila pats my back. “Don’t worry, Yeri, they have it all under control.”
We step out to the landing bay connected to the back. I sit on the curb while Werila leans on a rail. She opens a pack of Refili cigarettes and lights one up. I love Refili; it always calms me down and makes me feel giggly on a cloud. She lights both in her mouth at the same time and hands me one.
The smooth smoke entering my lungs is a liberating sensation. Werila sits next to me and looks at me with a smile. That woman has always had a wonderful smile. “She got in your head again, huh?” she asks. I slowly nod. “Did I make a mistake? Should I have stayed with her?” I ask. Werila scoffs. “Yeri, I’ve seen no one cook like you. We’ve been working together for almost a decade and you taught me everything I know. I remember when you found me. I was strung out on Cellz, freebasing that shit.”
I chuckle. “You were a fucking mess, dude. We’ve all had our moments, though.” I add on. She continues speaking. “You offered me a dishwashing position, and I went up from there. I have a house now, Yeri. I have two ships and a ton of video games. Yeah, I lost my hand, but I think it looks badass. You chose this life because it’s what makes you happy. I’d be dead if you didn’t choose happiness. Fuck Kerra! Like really, fuck her. She’s hot, but she let all that Trigiaite money get her. You may want to tap that shit one more time, but it’s like a drug; there is no one time.” Werila preaches.
I look at her and take in her face. Her green skin goes well with her orange eyes. People are like food; unique features compliment others, making for a great and unique dish. “You’re right. We were together for a long time, so it just plays with me. I need to cut that shit out, though. I just need to cook. All I need is to cook.” I express.
She wraps her arm around me and takes a big drag from her cigarette. “You haven’t seen my kitchen, have you? I hired interior designers to model it. Tell ya what, let’s take the night off and you can teach me a new recipe. Hell, maybe I could teach you something, too. I’ve been very creative lately.”
Did she just invite me to her place? This feels weird, but it’s kind of cool. I look back at the door to the kitchen. “What about the crew? What if they need us? We can’t-” She stops me mid-sentence. “Yeri, it’s a slow night. You trained the crew well. I’m sure they can handle it. The last time you took time off was over 3 months ago. We’ll have fun. You’ll still be cooking, just for us. C’mon, let’s get out of here. My house is one light jump away. It’ll only be an hour to get there.”
She stands up and walks toward her ship. I love watching her walk away. “You know, we could work on planning the new menu. Eh, fuck it. Let’s get out of here.” I say as she paces to her ship. Maybe I like this woman. She’s my best friend, but maybe we need our best friends for love. I walk over to her ship and hop in. She’s flying a nice blue cruiser with purple leather seats. I turn toward her and she smiles. “Lead the way, sous chef. Let’s go cook.” I tell her. My brain is untangled, and I can see the sunshine in my mind. The ship takes off and we ride off into the starry sky, ready to cook up some more good shit.