My Own Special Expert
In our household, my partner, who worked for many years as a pastry chef, is an absolute foodie, and I’m one spoiled writer. When it comes to food, he and I have an amazing relationship: he cooks, I eat. So when I decided to write A Taste of Love, set in a restaurant in our hometown, my partner, Dominic, was truly the inspiration and more. When I’m writing, my partner is usually incredibly helpful, letting me write and taking care that I eat and actually sleep. But with this particular story, Dominic was there the whole way. The man listened to dialogue, answered questions, and even gave me recipes and food preparation processes so I could write a convincing restaurant kitchen. He even helped me name some of the characters.
“Darryl!” Hearing his name, he turned to Kelly, who was standing in his doorway. “Geez, where were you?” She didn’t wait for an answer, putting a plate in front of him before plopping into the only other chair. “I think we’re done for a while, so I made you something to eat.” Darryl barely heard her, his mind still on the kid—er, Billy. “Earth to Darryl, are you there?”
“Sorry.” He pulled his mind back to the present. “What’s this?”
“I made it for you. Tell me what you think.” Kelly looked pleased as Darryl examined the plate. The presentation was good, and he sniffed at the food. The aroma was enticing without being overpowering. Picking up the utensils, he cut a bite and tasted it. “Very nice. A variation on veal Milanese.” The breading was crisp but not too heavy, thin with a nice mouth-feel.
“Yes, except I breaded it, and instead of frying it, I sautéed it in a very little oil to keep it lighter.” Kelly watched as he cut off another bite. Popping it into his mouth, he let the flavor run free. “Do you like it?”
“Yes. We’ll need to refine the process, but this could definitely work on the menu as a special. Let’s talk about it tomorrow; you can think about what you’d like to serve with it.”
Kelly practically squealed with delight as she hopped out of the chair, and Darryl smiled as he continued eating, his mind returning unbidden to a vision of Billy. Jesus, he needed to stop that. Yes, the kid fascinated him. He had energy and was absolutely adorable, but he was way too young. And besides, Darryl had a hard and fast rule: he never dated anyone he worked with. He was the boss, and that could open a kettle of worms he wasn’t interested in exploring. But damn, the kid seemed to push all his buttons. “Maybe it’s just been too long,” he muttered to himself. Darryl tried to remember the last time he’d spent time with anyone and he realized he couldn’t. “Fuck, it’s been forever since I had any kind of sex that didn’t involve my right hand.”
He heard a soft knock and looked up to find himself looking again into Billy’s big, expressive eyes. “I forgot to ask how I should dress.” Billy looked nervous, and from the look of the clothes he was wearing, Darryl surmised that he probably didn’t have much.
“Wear black pants, and I’ll give you a few Café Belgie shirts that you can wear when you’re working.” Billy looked relieved and flashed Darryl another smile that raced through him.
Sometimes when you write, you need expert help, and that means using the knowledge of supportive friends, family, and especially the ones you love. You don’t have to have all the answers yourself—you only need good, supportive people willing to share what they love with you so you can share it with your readers.