Toadstool

Inside I saw a group of people standing around a man wielding a pot and ladle. “Ah excellent! That makes seven. All of our hopefuls have arrived.” He said before whacking the pot with his ladle like a makeshift gong. “Welcome” He exclaimed. “You are the lucky few. Who will have a chance to join our crazy little family here at Oddity?” Kenneth said using the gong to emphasise the name. “Tonight we have a special guest; Vinny Van. My friend and renowned food critic!”

This was followed by a sharp intake of breath from the other candidates. I scooched over to one of them. A girl similar to my age with a cute cat emblem on her bag. “Hey, who’s Vinny Van'” I said hushed tones. She startled at my touch. “You don’t know? He’s TV famous! La Chabot gained fame and Glasshouse closed due to his review”
“Thanks” I said. She threw me a smile and turned back to the master chef as he continued.

“Now the interview is simple. Mr.Van has a particular weakness. Does anyone know what it is?” Kenneth said. He directed his weapon among the crowd. A guy wearing a green coat raised his hand. “Yes? “Kenneth said. The boy began to talk but was cut off instantly. “Yes! Fungi!” Kenneth said. I visibly grimaced. The rest of the initiates had a similar reaction. “More precisely. Mushrooms.” Kenneth continued. “He’s absolutely mad for the stuff!” He said. The guy in the green coat spoke up obviously taken aback at being cut off.
“What does this have to do with the interview? “He said.
“Ah I was getting to that,” Kennett said. “You seven will be creating the five course meal he dines on tonight.” He continued followed by gasps from the crowd. “You task is to eat nothing but mushrooms for lunch and then come up with a suitable dish.” He finished.
“How will we be marked for the interview?” I said poking up from the back of the crowd.
“Well I’ll judge each dish combined with the critics reaction.” Kenneth replied.
“Does it have to be mushrooms?” The Girl with the cat badge said.
“Of course. It’s known that the little devils take up mushroom in our guests heart.” Vinny said emphasising the word by wiggling his eyebrows. Silence followed for a very unfortunate amount of time until the host cleared her throat. “Come back by 3pm to start cooking. That corner of the kitchen is reserved for you. My chefs will help you out” He said with one final ring of the gong.

Mushrooms. Ack. I hated mushrooms. One reason I leaned towards baking in culinary school. What kinda fricking interview was this? I expected to have to cook but not under such strange conditions! I needed a plan. I needed a partner, someone that I could bounce ideas off of. I looked around the room and my eyes locked with cat girls. “Hi! I’m Amelia, Thanks for earlier.” I said. She looked down then back up to me. Shy.
“Hey, no problem. My name’s Kat with a K!” she said enthusiastically. I had to stop my eyes from rolling it was just too much of a coincidence. “So… do you have any idea what you’re gonna do?” I said trying not to sound desperate. It didn’t work.
“Uh, I’ve got an idea but this is a competition right?” she replied.
“I guess. Fair enough. Know anywhere that’ll be good for brainstorming? Mushrooms aren’t really my thing.” I said.
“Well there’s a vegetarian place just around the corner. I thought I’d go there if you’d like to join me?” she said. I could see the pity in her eyes.
“Sure!” I replied a little bit too enthusiastically.

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