Things got hot in the narrative chef’s kitchen with a fun and breezy dialogue assignment I tackled recently.
The request was simple:
We need a BRIEF scene between two contestants and a judge on a Reality TV Cooking show.
I had complete freedom, with the understanding that they were seeking something ‘witty and recognizable’.
Who else could I possibly choose to parody, right? Donkey!!!
Spoofing Ramsey gives us an immediate ‘shorthand’ for the scene. And choosing to parody Master Chef sets up an established dynamic between a brash and outspoken (and many would agree a**hole) judge with a pair of hopeful/fearful amateur chefs.
But I wasn’t just thinking about dialogue and character — I also wanted to take ‘staging’ into account, as the scene would be rendered with simple animations in 2D layers. Hmmm, I wonder if I can tap into any experience with that sorta thing…?
So, with the ingredients prepped and the stovetop max’ed, it’s time to get cooking!
‘SUPER CHEF’: Blades of Glory
FADE UP on the gleaming chrome of the ‘SUPER CHEF’ KITCHEN.
A SPOTLIGHT reveals MALCOLM — our host and Gordon Ramsey-wannabe — with slick black hair and a pink dress shirt unbuttoned to his chest. A mid-life nightmare. He flashes a million-dollar smile as he speaks:
It’s the moment of truth on this week’s Super Chef.
One of our contestants will rise to the occasion…
…and one will fall flatter than their soufflés did earlier.
David. Maria. Step forward with your dishes.
A second SPOTLIGHT reveals the two contestants — DAVID is a burly, bearded, wide-eyed man in a black t-shirt showcasing arm tattoos — MARIA is a mousy woman in subdued business dress.
They are carrying overflowing plates of PASTA.
You both know why you’re here. The ice you’re
on is thin at best. Which of you skates another day, hmm…?
(steps forward, eager and loud)
I was BORN to skate, Chef!
Perhaps…but were you born to cook?
(leans in to smell)
I asked you both to agree on a dish that would thrill me…
And you chose shrimp scampi?!
Yes, Chef. David seemed so sure you would like…
The only thing I’m sure of, Maria, is that your fate
is now in this man’s soufflé-killing hands!
(tasting David’s dish)
Well, big boy…that…is…hot. I’ll give you that.
Just like MAMA used to make it, Chef!
With all due respect, David…your ‘mama’s’ tongue
was clearly deader than the cat she fed this to!
David is stunned. Malcolm moves to Maria, and leans in.
David just served me rubbery pasta, and shrimp
so spicy I’ll be camping in the loo’ for a week.
The only question now is…can you do better, Maria?
I…I did my best, Chef. If you don’t like it?
Then I guess I’m deader than David’s cat.
LONG pause, and knife-cutting levels of tension.
(closing eyes — smiling warmly)
Garlic. Butter. White Wine. Red Pepper. Everything is tender but firm.
Bright, but unassuming. And the shrimp is still the STAR.
Oh God…thank you, Chef!
You did more than ‘skate by’, Maria. You landed the triple.
This is quiet confidence! Not some noisy flash in the pan…
David lowers his head as HIS LIGHT GOES OUT.
Maria beams with pride, as Malcolm WAVES to the viewers.
And you’ll need that confidence when we visit Canada’s
culinary heart, Montreal…for Poutine Week!
That’s next time on SUPER CHEF!
FADE TO BLACK.
And that’s a wrap! What did you think? What would you change? How would you tackle an assignment like this? Sound off in the comments below and who knows…maybe we can conspire someday on a truly memorable narrative dish 🙂
If you’re hungry for more, then scroll up top to the embedded video and check out my exclusive interview with notorious Aussie chef ANTONIO BRUNO. We chat about everything under the southeast Asian sun — from cooking and creativity to the digital nomad life and skirting the grey zones of law. Or you can give it a listen right here: