Christ almighty... Why had she agreed to do this? Maria frantically glanced around. She needed to put the dish in in four minutes for Christ's sake! She didn't have time for this now!
She wiped off the knife she'd just been using, and hefted the onion in her left hand, before slamming it down on the chopping board and setting to work. First she halved it, then she quartered it, then she diced it. She scraped the entire board's worth of onion into the pan, added the other ingredients, and took a step back as steam billowed upwards. The chili in the dish made her eyes water, but she pressed on, preventing the stir-fry from burning. The rice should be just about done by now, she was counting on it.
Expertly, she picked up the wok, tipped the contents into a bowl and moved onto the rice. She'd managed to get the consistency bang on, not too wet, but not too dry and under cooked. As she assembled the various dishes together, she became conscious of the webcam behind her, and the fact that she'd not said anything for a little too long. She cleared her throat, and corrected that. "So, that was pretty intense, but it seems to me like it's all come together. Let me just finish with the assembling..." her voice trailed off. Finally, she brought the full dish in front of the camera.
"Chicken and peanut stir-fry with garlic, onion, and a whole bunch of other things thrown in for good measure!" She wiped off her knives and put them inside the sink, letting her audience look at the dish as she did so. She checked the comment feed. Spammer, spammer, someone complimenting her, sexist joke, sexist joke, about a thousand other random comments saying 'yum!'... Basically what she normally got. "Well, thanks for watching everyone! That's gotta be one of my tamer and easier dishes I've done for a while, but I really enjoyed doing it! A break from all the insanity eh?" She stood in her signature pose, and smiled. "Well that's me, Maria Cucinotta signing out! If you liked this video, check out my Youtube channel, and I hope to see you all again soon!" She cut the feed.
"Bloody hell..." She muttered to herself. She carefully undid her apron, and took the bandanna she wore around her hair whilst cooking off, wiping her face with it to get rid of the sweat that had run down. She hung the apron up, stuffed the bandanna into her pocket, and breathed out heavily. She looked around the room and sighed again. White walls, white floors, steel, steel, steel. The place looked more like a lab than a kitchen, all white lights and minimalistic.
She picked up the dish she'd prepared and pulled out a chair. Plonking herself to eat, whittling down the meal with expertly-wielded chopsticks, most of what she'd done tided away. A good chef always tided in-between dish-making, and she was most certainly a good chef.
Well, she hoped so anyway.
She was conscious of the general lack of people. The kitchen was normally pretty empty anyhow, but this was strange. There was basically nobody. She kept chewing though, she'd skipped breakfast as she'd overslept, and then lunch to do this. Bar a granola bar, this was the only thing she'd eaten for the past... Seventeen? Eighteen hours? Christ. She didn't think it was that bad... She finished her meal and tided the remainders up, taking her mic off of her chest afterwards. She'd always assumed she'd need to take her shirt off for the mic before she got it, and whilst that was true for putting it on, she found that it was much more straightforward for taking it off.
Laptop powered down, in the bag, webcam unplugged, also in the bag. She stood up and rolled her shoulders and back, getting the cricks out of it that she'd earnt from leaning over cooking. Her sports shoes made a soft 'thump' against the floor as she walked out, as she mentally calculated wether she could get a drink tonight. No urgent work, Friday night so she didn't have to cook... She dialled up her father to tell him she wouldn't be home tonight apart from a quick change. Party time.
(Maria Cucinotta, continued in Morning Dew)