Turning on the television after having a nice and long bath, I rushed to the living room as all my homework had been done at school. I scooped the remote control from the table and quickly switched on the television. I pressed `727' and the channel immediately changed to the Food Network Asia channel. I was just in time as Iron Chef America was just about to start.
Suddenly, just as the show started, Herbert fell into the Kitchen Stadium (the place where the programme was broadcast). It was like he had just plunged into the programme. I gasped with my mouth wide open so much so that a fly could have gone right in and then out again.
I paused for a second before saying, 'Hey! Isn't that Herbert from the reading comprehension book at my tuition centre?!'
Herbert walked into the kitchen, looking around at the spotlight, and staring at the crowd as they looked curiously back at him.
The audiences first looked awkward but were soon filled with laughter as Herbert started walking around with eager curiousness.
The director looked furiously at him and then screamed at the top of his lungs, 'Come here, boy!'
Herbert stared back, perplexed. He walked slowly down to the platform where the director stood as the audience cracked up.
'Which iron chef would you like to challenge?' the director asked him.
Herbert looked in clockwise motion, staring hard at the chefs and finally he chose Iron Chef Morimoto. The spotlight beamed down on the iron chef - the one and only chef who was Japanese. The director presented a table of ingredients and a cloth that covered the ingredients.
The director looked at both of them, saying 'Today, our secret ingredient is. . . . EGG!'
The cloth was raised and there were piles and piles of eggs; there were quail eggs, duck eggs, ostrich eggs and all other shapes and sizes of eggs. Herbert took a look at the eggs, shaking them and feeling them.
'Are you ready, Chefs? As with the words of my uncle. . . . . . Ale Cuisine!'
As the honking sound was made, iron chef Morimoto rushed to his place and started planning what to cook while Herbert still remained standing, not knowing what to do. The director shouted at him to start cooking.
He was puzzled, as never before in his life had he even touched a frying pan. He discussed the menu with his sous chef. Instead of making the eggs the star of every dish, he added cheese and onion.
The sous chef asked him if he was out of his mind but Herbert just replied in a soft voice, 'Cheese and onions.'
The sous chef didn't care and just went about preparing the dishes as Herbert sat there tucking into a bag of crisps, and munching away in an irritating manner.
After an hour, the countdown was made as the chefs rushed to do the finishing touches on their dishes. The first one to face judgment was Herbert who just stood there and didn't say anything at all. The panel of judges took a bite of the food as they looked at the silent Herbert. Herbert didn't even give them a presentation about the food. How embarrassing it was for the sous chef who had to explain on Herbert's behalf who hadn't cooked anything at all.
Herbert's appetizer was a grilled cheese sandwich with onions and a poached egg with the yolk still runny.
'It's splendid, the egg works really well with the caramelized onions, and the crispy bread just adds another level to the texture.'
Herbert's entrée' was a frittata with jack cheese, red onions and roasted green bell peppers, and to top it all was some grated parmesan cheese.
'This is what I have to say.' One of the judges held his plate high to show that it was completely clean. He even licked it to demonstrate his comment.
Herbert's main course was a pizza with runny yolk, onions, red onions, prosciutto, and pepperoni, topped with parmesan cheese, jacked cheese, sage and olives. The judges ate ridiculously as they made clanging sounds with their forks and spoons.
When they had finished, one judge was curious and asked, 'Hey! Why is there cheese and onion in all the dishes?'
Herbert didn't say anything. Instead, he just answered, 'Cheese and onion' several times.
The dessert was a cheese and onion ice-cream with onion waffles and melted mozzarella cheese. The judges looked at the dainty dessert in amazement. They hesitated for a while and then took a daring bite.
'Mmm . . . . . . It tastes delightful', one of the judges said.
'It tastes strange at the very first bite but you get used to it after a few more bites. There's really a distinctive flavor about this that I really like that I can't get enough of. ', another judge said.
'Thank you, Herbert, for a wonderful meal.'
The director held his hand up to shake Herbert's hand. Herbert looked puzzled and didn't know what to do as he had never talked to anyone and had also never shaken hands. The director looked at him and then quickly grabbed his hand and shook it hard. The other judges did the same thing and it was then chef Morimoto's turn. Although there were some flaws, his meal was just as excellent as Herbert's.
Finally, it was time to announce the name of the winning chef.
'The winner is . . . . . . Chef Herbert!' the director cried while shaking his head at him.
Herbert threw his hand high up in the air like what people do when they have just won a million ringgit in a game show, and shouted 'Yeah!'
Wow, who would have known that Herbert's bizarre idea of cheese and onion in every dish would finally get him to prevail in a competition?
What TV programme will Herbert show up in next?
Ken Kuek Yong Qing