USF Personal Log
Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net image
A Little Lunch Chatter

Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net

by Chef Bobby Harris
[Stardate ]


This is a joint log with Commander Masterson, but I don't know his nick name to add him to the additional authors line.

         Noah walked across the small, grassy courtyard en route to Cher Lydia. He had a proposal for Chef Bobby Joe: on certain missions, come along and cook real food for the crew on board the Lexington. Noah had worked up his speech all week and hoped to catch Bobby Joe in an adventurous mood.

In his kitchen, Bobby Joe was working on the rue and grinding the fresh sausage for his jambalaya. Adding the correct seasonings and spices to the ground meat, he cooked up a small patty to make sure it was balanced before stuffing the cases with the sausage. He glanced up and saw Noah walking toward his place. Noah was one of his favorite customers, always nice to talk to and enjoying all the wonderful food he offered.

Washing his hands and turning the prep over to a line cook, he dried his hands on a clean towel and walked out to meet with Noah. “Hello, Commander, what can I get for you today?”

“Hey, Bobby Joe, I actually came to run an idea past you,” Noah explained. “Last time we took the Lexington out on a survey mission, I saw a distinct lag in crew performance and a downturn in crew morale. Funny thing didn't happen until about four or five days into the mission,” Noah explained.

“I’ve asked some of the crew and although there were other factors, one sort of 'universal’ point was the chow and how it was from the replicators,” Noah said. He couldn't blame the crew. He agreed with the complaints, as a matter of fact. He had grown up with his adoptive mother hand-making sushi nigiri. He knew how it was supposed to taste and feel in his mouth. The replicator version got the visual and some of the flavors, but Noah could definitely tell a difference.

Bobby Joe looked at Noah and was a little surprised. “I’m not one for replicating anything, but I’ve been told it’s pretty close to the real thing. I had no idea it was so off. No wonder Kaitlyn has so many problems using real food instead of replicated food. I will have to talk to her more in depth about it one of these days.”

Then he stopped a moment to think about what Noah hadn’t said and frowned a little. “Commander, what are you asking me?”

“So, I was thinking there's two ways to handle this, and you could help with either one. First, we could contract you and your staff to make large scale meals that can be reheated on board the Lex,” Noah began “or...we can fit a live kitchen on the Lex and you and some of your staff could accompany us.”

Making a silent “Wow” with his mouth, Bobby Joe took a moment to wipe his hands again on the towel as he thought about it. “I’m flattered you rate my food so highly, Commander. And I’m honored that you would pick me for this challenge. However, not everyone like Cajun or Creole food and I’m not good at anything else. I’m sure I could make it taste good, but I pretty much just stick to my personal wheel house of flavors and skills in cooking.”

Shaking his head as he thought about it, because really who didn’t like a little spice in their life and who didn’t like the bourbon spike he liked to add to his dishes. “I’m not saying No, Commander, I’m saying, shouldn’t we give the crew a greater choice? I would be happy to do either of your suggestions, but maybe some of the other cooks here would also like to contribute.”

Noah thought about it for a moment. He didn’t want to force Bobby Joe to do anything but he knew the crew would appreciate real food...especially if it was seasoned with bourbon.

“Take some time and think about it, Bobby Joe. It was just an idea, after all…,” Noah said.    

Bobby Joe thought about it and nodded. “I’ll make a deal with you, Commander. I’ll provide real food for the first time out, if you talk to other chefs here to provide their take on food for other missions on ship. And if the crew decided that they prefer mine, then I will do all the missions afterward. Does that sound like a plan?” The chef made mental notes on what to do to get ready for it.

He went over menus and how to make them work on ship and trying to decide if sending made food in statis boxes or go on ship with the supplies and cook fresh. If he went on the ship, then he would be limited on what he could fix because he could only take so many supplies. There would also be items found on new planets that he could use as well, experiment with different things. It could be rather challenging and maybe fun to be a cook on ship. He would agree to one mission, go out on the ship with a couple of his line cooks and leave his second head chef in charge of Cafe Lydia.

“Commander, I will go with you on the next mission and try it out.” Bobby Joe said as he set down a plate of blackened chicken with dirty rice for Noah to eat. “Enjoy lunch.”

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