Menu wo Douzo : Here's the Menu - Menu 1 Chapter 2
For Maejima Shiori, that period was the lowest point of her life.
It was a period so horrible that even Tenchuusatsu and Daisakkai added together would be too weak.
After this, there would be no other time where she was at the lowest, right?
It all started when her father fell sick.
Shiori’s father was a famous chef well known by the mass media.
He sometimes appeared in television shows, and was introduced with “Master of French Cuisine”, “Magician of Sauce” or other embarrassing taglines added.
He didn’t particularly want to appear in television shows, however, when he appeared in television solely to help his troubled friend who worked in television industry, he became popular with ladies of the world. Her father said he was no more than a chef until the end of his life, as the only thing he could do was cooking.
(That’s why he got to that point…)
It was alright while her father was healthy.
The restaurant was lively, and customers never stopped coming at all times.
However, since the time her father was hospitalized, his restaurant began to change gradually.
In the kitchen where her father was no longer standing, she couldn’t satisfy their customers. “The taste has changed.”…no, it was painful for Shiori to say this, “The taste has degenerated.”
During the first three months, she was able to manage somehow by using the name of “That Maejima Ichiro’s French Restaurant.”
As her father’s stay in the hospital was extended, the shop began to quiet down.
If it was true, she should have closed the shop there and then.
But she couldn’t bear to do that because she was concerned about her father who was striving to fight an illness, his moral support was his hope to come back to the restaurant.
Shiori herself had undergone a lot training in other restaurants with the intention of succeeding her father’s restaurant.
“One day I’ll take over Father’s restaurant.”
That was Shiori’s dream. She couldn’t give up that dream so easily.
An embezzlement done by an employee was revealed and that employee disappeared. The restaurant that even at best of times were still trying to survive, had to be burdened with a huge debt, and at that very moment, her father lost his fight against illness and passed away.
She was at least relieved by the fact that her father never knew about the embezzlement by his employee, but the debt it caused was much too large, she had to part with the restaurant.
(But even that wasn’t enough, was it?)
She sold off her home that carried a few memories of her and her mother, furthermore, she blew out all her hard-earned savings since she started working and her father’s life insurance, only by doing that finally she settled the debt.
The things left in Shiori’s hands were up to 100 recipe notes left by his father and only one piece of Kruzen red milk bread she received from a mother whose father died.
(On top of that, they broke up with me!)
Shiori had a sommelier lover who she had been dating on the intention of marriage.
However, their relationship started to strain about six months after her father collapsed, and soon after the funeral, they broke up.
Her partner said to her they were sorry to not be able to support her, but Shiori realized they knew her family condition and ran away.
Indeed, anyone will run away if they find out she had a debt easily exceeding a hundred million. Shiori herself too, wouldn’t marry a man with such a debt.
(The finishing blow was the restructuring…)
You may think that cooking is feminine, but it was actually men’s world.
It was said that there were quite a lot of female patissier these days, but if you say pure ‘cooking’, it was still a male society, whether French or Italian or Japanese.
Recently, women had made remarkable advances in various industries, but in culinary world, female cooks were still rare and strange creatures.
Just like Shiori, if you hit a blow to the head chef because you were sexually harassed, you could easily get fired.
The reasons were because ‘cost savings’ and ‘if there are women in the kitchen, the teamwork will be disturbed.’
The restaurant manager said that they decided to cut labor costs in light of recent social conditions. And finally, the first one to get fired was Shiori.
She was ridiculed by her heartless coworkers, they said “That’s what happened when your father’s influence is gone.” A man’s jealousy is, in a sense, more deep-rooted than a woman’s jealousy.
(I was utterly exhausted…)
She was staying in a dormitory at her workplace, but she was told to leave within two weeks.
She had to find a place to move in, and she also had to find a new job.
While working between lawyers to move forward with the sale of her restaurant and house, she commuted to Hello Work and association, took interviews for new workplace, and during the leftover time, went to real estate agents…Such a hard schedule could not go on so well.
At that very time she found the poster.
“Urgent recruitment. Why don’t you try working as a chef at a scenic resort area?”
Her eyes were glued to a poster located in an underground passage leading to the nearest station.
(There was really nothing.)
She had been devoted to cooking since her childhood.
Shiori, who was raised in a slightly unique motherless family, didn’t have a lot of close friends, and within the small number of friends, some had just got married, some just had kids. Shiori who was at the sorrowful bottom of her life could not help but hesitate to ask for their help.
The reason she had no family, no house, no lover, no job, and soon enough she would have nothing left at all was; to sum it in one word, ‘solitude’.
She felt alone in this world.
Even though she lived in the center of Tokyo, where so many people crowd it was making her sick, Shiori didn’t have any people she could consult at a time like this, and when she lost her job, she lost her connection to the society.
When she saw the poster, before thinking it was shady or suspicious, she felt that it was some sort of salvation.
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