A Busy Week
The day had finally come, the one I had worked and prepared so hard for. It was final day! Tara and I had a few drinks last night just to ensure that I would relax and rest like I should and boy did it work. I grabbed my bag, filled with my first set of knives that I bought when I started school, my apron and head band and walked out the door.
It was chilly outside, indicating the weather had officially changed and Fall was upon us for good. The leaves had begun to liter the ground with rich colors of red, orange and brown and the trees were now bare. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and continued the walk to school.
Once I got there, everyone was filling into the kitchen and standing at their stations sorting out their utensils and collecting their supplies. I quickly placed my things down and found what I needed, starting with the ingredients, then placed everything on the counter in preparation.
The instructor entered the classroom and told us we had 3 hours to make our meal, including getting everything on the plate. She continued to explain that flavor and originality encompassed the majority of our grade but presentation was going to be a small percentage as well then she pushed the timer and the countdown began. I took a deep breath then tuned everything out and started the same process as last week but this time I added a few different herbs and ingredients to make it even more spectacular.
An hour in, I was coasting along great until I began cutting the tomatoes. My knives hadn’t been sharpened in a few weeks and it started to show when the blade wouldn’t glide smoothing through the skin of the Roma, leaving it with little jagged pieces. I knew she would never see them but the real problem would be when I sliced my pinwheels where I needed the edges of the chicken and it’s contents to remain a clean cut.
I internally scolded myself for not thinking about that before the final. Although it was a major inconvenience, I pushed through and decided to worry about it later, surely someone would let me borrow one. After everything was assembled, I placed the rolled, mozzarella, roasted Roma tomato and spinach stuffed chicken into a pan with a white wine and truffle butter reduction. I basted the chicken until it reached a light brown color on all edges then put the pan into the oven for it to continue cooking. While my entrée roasted, I started on the sides, grilled garlic green beans drizzled with a bacon jam.
Another hour and half had passed and it was time to start plating my entry. I went with a simple flat, white plate with a gold trim and smeared a dollop of bacon jam on the bottom, placing the green beans on top and added three pinwheels to the plate. There were four judges in all so I made each one identical to the last until all of them were lined up and ready. With 3 minutes to spare I stood back and waited for them to make their rounds and start tasting everyone's dishes, in the order that they were completed.
I began to shake as they made their way around the class, only taking a few minutes per table to inspect and taste our final plates. Finally, the judges landed in front of my station and our introductions began.
"Good afternoon Chef's, I am Brittany Richards and today I have prepared for you a Mozzarella, roasted Roma tomato and spinach stuffed paneed chicken breast with garlic grilled green beans atop bacon jam."
They all commented on the elegant presentation and how the combinations weren't anything they had seen together before. One by one, they each took a bite. Two of them were completely delighted and the other two kept going back for more bites. I kept my reactions very professional but on the inside I was jumping for joy, especially since one of the judges was one of the greatest Chef's in the city and a very prominent food critic before he went to culinary school.
They smiled and thanked me before walking off to judge the next six tables leaving me an anxious mess waiting for my grade.
"Hey Britt, how do you think you did?"
"Hey Lynn, I think I passed, which is all I really want right now, but it would be nice to get a recommendation from Chef Cruz. How do you think you did?"
"Ok I guess, I mean they seemed pleased with my dish but they weren't here as long nor did they take a second and third bite like they did with yours." She winked making me smiled slightly.
I know I should be ecstatic about their reactions but I still had a lot of competition in this class. Some of these people had been cooking for years and had way more experience around the kitchen than I did but that didn't stop me from learning from them.
"Attention class, thank you all for your delicious presentations today. Your grades will be posted outside the classroom by 4pm this afternoon. If you would like to contest your grade please contact me in my office as soon as you receive it. I will be leaving at approximately 7pm tonight."
We all sighed and collected our things then began cleaning up. It took us about an hour to get everything cleaned and placed back in it's correct locations and by the time we were done they were placing the grade sheet on the bulletin board outside the door. I took a deep breath and followed the crowd where we each found our names.
Here goes nothing!
I searched the list, locating mine immediately, then traced my finger to the right when I almost fainted. I couldn't believe my eyes, a 100, a perfect score! That almost never happens and here I was one of very few students who had the honor to receive it. Everything around me went silent as I stared at the paper trying to make sure I was seeing it correctly when my instructor walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Brittany, I can assure you, that grade is 100% real."
I looked at her in total surprise, speechless and still in disbelief when she laughed and gave me a big smile. She walked back towards her office and I looked once more at my grade, taking a picture to capture the memory forever. Like a zombie, I turned and walked out the door letting my feet guide me home, never realizing that I reached the house until Tara came outside to greet me.
"Well?" She said.
"I...I made...a perfect score." I said in a small whisper.
She ran down the steps and engulfed me in a hug. "That's amazing Britt. Oh my gosh, we have to celebrate. Come on!"
She pulled me into the house where I finally snapped out of my daydream and rushed to the shower. After I was finished I was greeted by Tara and a bed full of clothes.
"We are going to La Runida tonight, my treat and I don't want to hear any objections."
She grabbed dress after dress and placed them in front of my until she decided on a knee length red dress with a sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps then she handed me a pair of gold snakeskin shoes that strapped around my ankles. I knew better than to say anything and to be honest I wanted to go crazy tonight and wearing this would take me out of my comfort zone.
After we were dressed, we took an Uber to the very exclusive club downtown and walked right in. The music was pounding and people were everywhere, grinding all over each other while the lights from above lit their faces in all different colors. Sweat pouring from their bodies as they swayed to the music, oblivious to what was going on around them.
We walked to the bar and stood in line while the bartender poured drinks by the dozen for the patrons sitting on the stools. When we finally got noticed, Tara ordered us each a shot of tequila along with a glass of scotch and passed them to me. We found a table and sat down watching as everyone moved around to the beat.
"This place is hypnotizing isn't it?" She screamed into my ear as I tapped my foot against the table to the rhythm.
I shook my head as I sat there mesmerized by the people and their partners, feeling the pang of jealousy as they danced and kissed. They all looked so happy and satisfied with their lives, knowing exactly what they wanted and how to get it and I'm over here with a guy that would do anything to be with me when all I want is someone who couldn't make up his mind.
We continued drinking and laughing all night and I was grateful that Tara never asked me on the dance floor because these shoes were killing my feet. After a few hours of girl time we decided to go back home and continue the celebration with a movie and some Chinese.
As we drove up to the house, I noticed a car parked at the end of the street. There were only three houses down here and I knew every single person, along with what they drove so I found it odd that this particular one chose to park here at a dead end. Although, it wouldn't be the first time a couple of teenagers came down here to hide while they did highly inappropriate things in the dark.
"I'll order the food while you search for a movie and make it something scary."
"No, the last time we watched something scary you slept in my bed for a whole week. So we're watching a comedy."
She burst out laughing while she picked through the menu and I flipped through the movies. I found a movie then ran into my room to change while Tara did the same. After 30 minutes our food arrived and we were planted in front of the TV and talked the rest of the night. It had been so long since I had a carefree night and now that one of my obstacles was out of the way, I could focus on my birthday night and losing my virginity, which was only two days away.
Britt got a perfect score on her culinary final! Of course she did.
I don't know about y'all but I could slap that girl when she starts doubting herself.
Do you think she will let Ethan know how she really feels or will she lose her virginity then finally give Colin the chance he's been wanting all along?