The man Julia had fed for the last two weeks evaporated before her. In his place stood a man that looked just like him but carried himself with the air of a far more sophisticated person.
Nothing made sense. Jean-Pierre’s livid features softened into a fearful expression now as Ayaz held out his hand and introduced himself. Julia let out an audible gasp when he explained who he really was.
While other little girls loved dolls, Julia Brundle preferred reading cookbooks and using easy bake ovens. Julia always had a strong sense of identity that her most ardent passion provided her.
Most children her age had no idea who they were yet. Julia, on the other hand, had a detailed idea of her future career path since she was 9-years-old. Unfortunately, as a child, no one told her how difficult it was to break into her chosen profession.
By college age, Julia’s dream career was getting farther away. The obstacles seemed endless. As a native of San Francisco, competition in the world of cuisine was tough and ruthless.
Also, although her parents were supportive, they weren’t well off and the best culinary schools weren’t cheap. However, Julia was no quitter. She decided on a new route and decided that she would work and pay her own tuition.
Julia began searching everywhere for suitable work. Naturally, she was drawn to restaurants. Soon, Julia’s passion for food and knowledge of cuisine and fine dining impressed the manager of a local restaurant.
The place itself, La Vie en Rose, was a 2-Star Michelin-rated restaurant. This made it an ideal environment to learn from as she chased her dreams. However, Julia’s initial excitement soon turned to dread.
After a very rushed training period, Julia was made a waitress. Word around town was that the restaurant’s standards had been slipping for some time.
Julia also soon realized that many of the staff at the restaurant were very rude, impatient, and snobby. The head chef, Jean-Pierre, was particularly nasty and criticized everything she did. The environment was deeply toxic and Julia soon became disillusioned.
Far from her dream job, life at the restaurant was a nightmare at times. Julia worked twice as hard as anyone but was paid the least. The rest of the staff treated her coldly and she spent most of her breaks alone.
To escape the environment for a few precious moments each day, Julia began eating her lunch across the street by herself. That was when she made a strange new friend.
On her breaks, Julia noticed that there was a homeless man who sat across the street from the restaurant. He always seemed to watch the place intently.
Julia pitied him greatly and resolved to help him somehow. Julia noticed that the restaurant wasted a lot of high-end, expensive ingredients each day. That was when she hatched her plan.
Julia began sneaking out ingredients from the restaurant and used them to test her budding culinary skills. With them, she was able to prepare exquisite gourmet lunches.
She began making an extra lunch for the homeless man and would spend her breaks sharing a meal with him. To her surprise, the unlikely pair ended up becoming friends.
Julia learned that her new friend was actually a fascinating person. His name was Ayaz and he was deeply appreciative of her kindness. Julia was surprised to learn that he knew a lot about food.
In particular, he appreciated detailed nuances of flavor, texture, and presentation in the lunches she made him. While Ayaz avoided talking about his own life, Julia began confiding in him and realized that there was a lot more to her friend.
While Julia’s friendship with Ayaz grew, life at the restaurant was getting worse. More and more customers were beginning to complain and Jean-Pierre was being nastier than ever.
Julia knew that pinching the spare ingredients was wrong but she also couldn’t stand how wasteful Jean-Pierre and the kitchen staff were. She kept up this routine for a few weeks until, one day, her luck ran out and she was caught red-handed.
Jean-Pierre had never hidden his disdain for Julia. After catching her pinching the spare ingredients, he marched her into the back office and fired her on the spot. Julia was devastated and left the restaurant in tears.
Ayaz spotted her and was angry when she explained what had happened. To her surprise, Ayaz took her by the hand and marched her straight back inside the restaurant. That was when she learned who he really was.
The sight of a vagrant walking Julia back inside made Jean-Pierre livid. He began shouting and tried to get them both thrown out. His comments about Ayaz being “dirty” and “a bum” were vile. Instead, Ayaz calmly took off the ragged clothes he wore.
Remarkably, amid the grizzly beard and long hair, he now wore a crisp suit. His sudden transformation left Jean-Pierrel speechless as Ayaz stuck out his hand and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Ayaz”, he said. “I’m the new owner of this restaurant.”
Ayaz was actually a prominent food critic and an acclaimed chef himself. After hearing of the restaurant’s troubles, he considered buying it himself. He first decided to investigate why standards had been slipping.
Pretending to be homeless gave him the perfect vantage point from which to keep a close eye on the place. As Julia listened, she realized with dread that she had been sharing the stolen ingredients with the restaurant’s owner all this time.
Aya explained that the staff’s toxic habits, wastefulness, and Jean-Pierre’s treatment of subordinates disgusted him. He was initially put off from buying the restaurant. Turning to Julia, he explained that only her work ethic, kind nature, and generosity had changed his mind
Julia epitomized all the traits he admired and respected in employees. It was because of her that he eventually decided to buy the restaurant and bring back its former glory.
As the owner, Ayaz immediately dismissed Jean-Pierre and most of the kitchen staff. From her delicious lunches, Ayaz recognized Julia’s talent and culinary instincts. He appointed her as his apprentice chef so that she could learn directly under his tutelage.
The restaurant was soon the toast of the town again. After many struggles, Julia’s persistence, kindness, and determination led to her becoming a rising star in the culinary world, and all her dreams were finally realized.