The Saturday Night Supper ClubBy: Carla Laureano
IT’S STARTLING AND HUMBLING to know that a book isn’t complete until it makes its way into the hands of readers. You fill in the blanks with your imagination and bring your own life story, making this book undeniably your own experience. Thank you for joining me in this story!
For those of you who have waited so patiently for this next book—I appreciate you! Your enthusiasm and encouragement is such a blessing to this writer. For those of you picking up one of my books for the first time, welcome. I apologize in advance for making you hungry. My characters cook their way through all my books, and for obvious reasons, this one is extra food-filled.
The process of getting the book to this state was certainly not a solo effort. Steve Laube, your guidance, wisdom, and practicality are more appreciated than I can express. I probably wouldn’t be doing this without you. Jan Stob and Sarah Rische, thank you so much for believing in my vision. Your sharp eyes and gentle guidance helped make this book into something I can be proud of. To the rest of the team—Karen Watson, Sharon Leavitt, Mark Lane, Shaina Turner, Kristen Magnesen, Danika King, and the Tyndale sales force who work so hard to get this story into the hands of readers—it’s a blessing to work with such a creative and enthusiastic group! Thank you for making me feel right at home at Tyndale.
To my friends and fellow writers-in-arms—Brandy Vallance, Evangeline Denmark, Elizabeth Younts, Laurie Tomlinson, Beth Vogt, Amber Lynn Perry, Candace Calvert, and Lori Twichell—thank you for your friendship, encouragement, and willingness to listen to endless plot points, realizations, and rants. It’s a blessing to have people who really get what it’s like to do this crazy job.
To my family—Rey, N, P, Mom, and Dad—I love you. I couldn’t do this without all your support, both physical and emotional. You’re the best.
THREE HOURS into Saturday night dinner service and she was already running on fumes.
Rachel Bishop rubbed her forehead with the back of her sleeve and grabbed the newest round of tickets clattering through on the printer. Normally orders came in waves, enough time in between to take a deep breath, work the kinks out of her neck, and move on to the next pick. Tonight they had come fast and furious, one after another, tables filling as quickly as they were cleared. They were expecting two and a half turns of the dining room tonight, 205 covers.
It would be Paisley’s biggest night in the six months since opening in January, and one they desperately needed. As part-owner of the restaurant, Rachel knew all too well how far away they still were from profitability. There were as many casual fine dining places in Denver as there were foodies, with new ones opening and closing every day, and she was determined that Paisley would be one of the ones that made it.
But that meant turning out every plate as perfectly as the last, no matter how slammed they were. She placed the new tickets on the board on the dining room side of the pass-through. “Ordering. Four-top. Two lobster, one spring roll, one dumpling. Followed by one roulade, two sea bass, one steak m.r.”
“Yes, Chef,” the staff answered in unison, setting timers, firing dishes. Over at entremet, Johnny had not stopped moving all night, preparing sides as fast as they came through on the duplicate printer. It was a station best suited to a young and ambitious cook, and tonight he was proving his worth.
“Johnny, how are we coming on the chard for table four?”
“Two minutes, Chef.” Normally that could mean anything from one minute to five—it was an automatic response that meant I’m working on it, so leave me alone—but at exactly two minutes on the dot, he slid the pan of wilted and seasoned greens onto the pass in front of Rachel and got back to work in the same motion. She plated the last of table four’s entrées as quickly as she could, called for service, surveyed the board.
A muffled oath from her left drew her attention. She looked up as her sauté cook, Gabrielle, dumped burnt bass straight into the trash can.
“Doing okay, Gabs?”
“Yes, Chef. Four minutes out on the bass for nineteen.”
Rachel rubbed her forehead with the back of her sleeve again, rearranged some tickets, called for the grill to hold the steak. On slow nights, she liked to work the line while her sous-chef, Andrew, practiced his plating, but tonight it was all she could do to expedite the orders and keep things running smoothly.