Chapter 9

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"Use mini chocolate chips for a bit of chocolate in every bite" - Riley Monroe

Excited. That was what I was currently feeling right as I'm waiting for the instructions for the cooking competition.

"Alright listen up everyone!" Mrs. Hartworth's cheery voice sounded throughout the dining hall. "We have kitchen set ups around the dining hall as you can see here." She gestured around her.

I looked around the room. The kitchen sets included a long marble counter with a stove, oven, a grill, and kitchen supplies all on a wheeled counter. They were also arranged in rows on either side of the room. Similar to how it is on Master Chef.

"The purpose of this assignment is for you to show off what you know. The ingredients are all in the refrigerators and cabinets right there," She pointed to a section of the room in the far back. "You may only use the ingredients provided. Nothing else. The dish will be considered in three categories. Preparation, Visualization, and Taste. Now, finally the theme for the dish is that there is no theme. Make whatever dish you want. You can make any dish you'd like ranging from any culture so be creative. Good luck! You have one hour and thirty minutes starting now!"

After she finished, everyone rushed to the cabinets to get ingredients.

I quickly grabbed the ingredients that I needed and rushed back to my station. I laid out all the ingredients and started getting out all the supplies. Once I was done, I got started.

I cut the chicken up in thick slices, and started up the grill. While waiting for that to heat up, I washed the vegetables and oiled the pan. After that, I began setting the chicken on the grill and got started on the sauce that will be used on the chicken.

I added lime, pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil in a blender, mixed it and set it on the counter. While the chicken was grilling, I sliced the vegetables and shredded the cabbage.

I walked over to the grill and flipped the chicken slices to the other side and began applying the sauce on them with a brush. After that, I heated up the oiled pan and sautéed the bell peppers. Then I got a bit of the shredded cabbage and prepared the coleslaw. After that I walked over to the grill and flipped the chicken and started applying the sauce to the other side. Once I was done, I grabbed an avocado and got started on the guacamole.

"30 more minutes" Mrs. Hartworth said.

I started to get nervous. This is like an episode of Hell's Kitchen! I quickly set up another pan to heat up the tortillas. I grabbed the chicken off the grill and set it on the cooling rack to cool. After, I gathered all the dish's components and laid it out on the counter next to the chicken cooling on a rack. After that, I grabbed a plate and started to arrange everything. First, I diced the chicken into bite-sized cubes, then I set two tortillas on the plate, scooped a bit of chicken on each tortilla, then a large scoop of coleslaw on top of that as well. Then, I folded the soft tacos so that they were leaning against each other and spooned the bell peppers right next to the two tacos. I quickly finished the guacamole and put in a small glass bowl next to the peppers. Finally, I drizzled chipotle sauce inside each taco.

Just when I set down the final things on the plate, the timer rang. I let out a sigh of relief and wiped my hands on my apron.

Mrs. Hartworth and a few teachers walked around the room and began asking questions for the evaluation.

I nervously played with my hands as I watched the teachers and looked around the room. Everyone seemed to have managed to get their dishes done. I saw everything ranging from simple salads to exotic looking plates. Everything looked like it came out of a restaurant.

Tammy made grilled kabobs with pineapples and various meats along with a red looking sauce. I looked over to where Raven was and saw that she made a bowl of hummus and stuffed pita bread. And from the looks of the bread, it didn't look like the one that was there on the cabinets. She must've made it herself!

While everyone's plates looked extravagant, Cassidy decided to go for a classic. Cheeseburger sliders, seasoned fries that looked completely homemade, and a chicken salad on the side. It looked completely ordinary, but when the teachers took a bite from the burgers, their faces lit up with smiles, but they completely covered it up and moved on to the next person.

"Don't look so nervous, cupcake," a husky voice said from my left.

I looked over and saw Aaron at the counter next to mine.

"Not nervous," I laughed slightly trying to calm down my nerves, which was quite hard with him staring at me. "Just expectant"

"Okay, so how come you're playing with your hair so much that it looks like it's going to fall off?"

I looked down at my hands and found them pulling at my hair. I quickly put my hands behind my back.

"That doesn't explain anything," I denied.

He just shook his head. "Relax, you'll do fine, and you're right. It's just practice."

But I knew for a fact that it wasn't "just practice". Just like how the teachers are judging you, your fellow campers are as well. They're trying to single out the strongest competitors.

"What's your favorite color?" Aaron suddenly cut into my thoughts.

I stood there and stared at him. "What?"

"What's your favorite color?" He asked again but this time slowly as if he was talking to a five year old.

"I know what you said!" I exasperatedly exclaimed "But who asks that out of nowhere?"

"I do, so answer my question."

I took a deep breath. "Purple. What's yours?"

"Green," He said staring deeply into my eyes. I opened my mouth to comment, but he glanced behind me and said, "Oh look, it's your turn to get evaluated."

I turned to see that the teachers were coming my way. I had completely forgotten about the competition. I took a deep breath and explained my dish to them and watched them as they had a taste. They took quick notes and walked onto the next counter.

I turned to Aaron. "Why did you ask what my favorite color was?"

He shrugged. "It calmed your nerves didn't it?"

I thought about what he said for a moment, and realized that it was true. The random conversations that we just had completely made my nerves disappear. I looked at him once again and into his eyes. "Thanks," I said giving him a smile.

He seemed shocked, but quickly set his expression to his usual one and shrugged again.

After everyone was done with the evaluation, I turned to the front, and caught James's eyes. He gave me a crossed eyed look, and I laughed and stuck my tongue out at him. He made a duck face. I just shook my head and laughed quietly and turned to the front.

"Okay so we have finished the evaluation," Mrs. Hartworth said from the front of the room "Everyone did remarkably well, but there can only one winner."

There was a long dramatic pause. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it was me.

"And the winner is..."


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- Tiffany

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