Is This The Culinary Equivalent of Shoot Your Shot?

The visionary behind *that* daikon.

August 22, 2018 ‚óŹ 3 min read

By Richie Nakano | Art by ChefsFeed

Derek—a former intern having somehow finagled his way into a junior sous chef position—finds himself newly employed at Trump National Golf Club in Hudson Valley.

The Trump brand is supposed to be synonymous with “the best,” which is what has drawn easily-distracted Derek to its gilded doors. There’s gold everywhere! Everyone knows gold is symbolic of first place, and first place is for winners. Hence, Derek. 

Now, coming up with new dishes isn’t easy—if you’re a fan of rolling your eyes so hard they slide down your spine and land in the cuffs of your pants, ask a chef about their approach. Brace for romantic stories about the farmers' market, sketches of plate-ups in sweat-stained notebooks, and the line, “You know, it’s really just about striking the right balance.”  Derek, loyal binge-watcher of Chopped who periodically screams, “NO, YOU IDIOT, YOU NEED TO SEAR THAT SCALLOP HARDER," has finally been given the go-ahead to start contributing to the menu.

Passionate as he may be, he isn’t necessarily in the running for Rising Star Chef, or even “Most Improved Skill-Set/Hopeful Attitude” award. Dedicated as he may be, Derek isn’t known for good judgment, per se, or for demonstrating the kind of behavior that makes a person sit back and say, “That dude will absolutely make something of himself!” (There was that time he tried riding his hoverboard to the dry storage room, crashed, and sustained serious head trauma—but dabbed the wound with a wet nap and went about his day, after all.)

Fresh off a night of pounding Monster Energy Drink while trolling the r/culinaryporn subreddit, Derek rolls into the Trump National Golf Club Kitchen three Adderall deep and ready to cook his truth.

Today is a big day: he must finally use up the case of daikon he accidentally ordered two weeks ago AND create a new vegetarian dish (but not too many, since cuck veggies are thin on the ground). After catching part of Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift on TBS, he’s newly obsessed with all things Japanese, and though the Trump kitchen isn’t well stocked with cookbooks, there is a signed copy of an old Nobu cookbook being used to prop up an uneven prep table. An idea strikes.

Though he saw it in a YouTube video once and it looked super easy, slicing the daikon takes about six hours. Derek settles on using a mandolin while slowly rotate-feeding the daikon through. 14 deep, grievous cuts later, he finishes. Elsewhere, service is about to start and Derek needs to scramble. He runs to the omelette station at the 19th Hole Bar & Grill, gathers up all of the mise en place that’s been sitting there since 9 am and quickly assembles his pièce de resistance. His boss, a gaunt, hollow shell of a man that smells of gin and feta, says it needs “a sauce.” He’s right. Derek quickly whisks together an aioli with a dollop of dijon “for extra zing.”

The goop gets the green (yellowish-puce?) light. Derek scatters a few spare corn kernels for flair and Instagrams his masterpiece. A photographer grabs the plate and whisks it away for a photo shoot.  Unbeknownst to Derek, the social media team will be using his tribute to radish in a Twitter post that will become the ridicule of the entire food world. If it makes it to r/culinaryporn page, it won't be a good thing.

Is it an entree? Vegetarian sushi? The world’s worst Niçoise salad? Is this a hateful burrito? These are not questions that worry Derek’s peaceful mind. It appears to be daikon sprouts, typically reserved for use as a generic garnish on Asian dishes, wrapped in daikon sheets, typically reserved for….well, there’s really no reason to eat sheets of daikon.

In moments like these, a chef with a mere five percent of self-awareness may fall into a period of deep reflection. Am I out of touch? they may wonder. Is there a level of genius at work here that my small mind cannot comprehend? Is this the bleeding edge of culinary greatness? But this is not one of those moments. This is a crisp, spicy radish tube filled with a thin, stringy radish, garnished with many more mistakes.

After work, Derek gets his Instagram account locked for telling a cook that roasted his daikon dish to “pull up to the Trump Club and catch these deba knives bihh.” Satisfied, he drops four weed gummies into a can of Monster, and logs back onto Reddit.

[Ed. note] Meanwhile, while fact-checking: