Chapter Ten:
A Brush with Culinary Genius

September 11th, 2012   |   8:12 pm   |   

What had happened, Carter wondered? How could she account for her meteoric professional free-fall? To go from a six-figure salary to contemplating a grocery bagging gig—was she crazy? Yes, she appreciated fine food more than anyone she knew, and as she had witnessed this afternoon, Freshville did carry Austin’s latest local products—Sticky Toffee Pudding Co’s warm chocolate and almond pudding and Texas Olive Ranch’s basil-infused EVOO, among other items—but the place was chaos. And what would people think about her new career path? Had she really endured four grueling years at an Ivy League, only to now land at a food co-op?

The glass of Pinot didn’t do much to raise Carter’s spirits. She knew she was procrastinating, but she was in serious need of a diversion before returning to a more…er, realistic job search. Her eyes fell on an unopened bottle of raspberry jam, sitting on the dining room table. There was probably no better way to generate praise (especially from Taylor), and repair her confidence, than by making her Linzer torte.

As Carter routinely did before diving into a recipe, she ran through a quick inventory of her ingredients. She stared inside the refrigerator door, frowning at the sight of Taylor’s low-calorie imitation butter. Ugh, How could her sister use that abomination? Well, at least this would give her a chance to check out Freshville again. In fact, it would be a good test. She could compare how the co-op’s dairy department fared next to her regular grocery haunts.

Outside the co-op, Carter held the front door open for a man who looked vaguely familiar. Weighted down by his reusable grocery bags, he was wearing a vintage t-shirt and wrinkled jeans. She took a closer look, and stepped back in surprise.

“Chef Tyson Cole? James-Beard-Award-Winning-Food-&-Wine-Top-10 chef Cole?”

The man smiled at her.

“What are you doing here?”

“Uh, I needed some fresh ginger and a few other staples,” he shrugged.

“But, but… what are you doing here?” she gestured towards the co-op’s jumbled pile of vegan lunchboxes and the Rastafarian checkout guy.

Cole’s brown eyes twinkled. “I don’t miss a chance to come to Freshville whenever I’m in the neighborhood.”