My dad was the best chef that I had ever known and up until a certain point in my life, he was also the best dad. He would always dedicate the time outside of his culinary profession to spending time with me and making sure that I was loved. When I went through my phases of what I wanted to be when I grew up , as every child did, he made sure to support me fully. When I wanted to be just like Steve Irwin , he would buy me the best books on animals and would take me to the zoo frequently. When I wanted to be just like Neil Armstrong, he bought a telescope so that during the night we could look at the stars and point out to each other the funny little shapes that they made. When I wanted to be just like Michael Jordan, we got a basketball hoop and played basketball every single day. It wasn’t until around my 13th birthday that I decided that I wanted to be just like him, and that we were really able to bond and grow closer than ever.
I remember from my childhood to my teenage years he would always talk about how it was his calling to be a chef and that to be one simply wasn’t enough, he wanted to be the best. Seeing his ambition and dedication to his work , along with how great of a dad he was, made me think of him as a hero. He was Batman and now I was his Robin. Taking me under his wing, he began to teach me everything he knew.
With his specialty being a rotisseur , a chef that deals with meat, he instructed me on how to season, cook, and serve the world’s finest meat. Whether it was Japanese Kobe Beef, American Wagyu Beef, or the Filet Mignon, he wanted to make me as good as him. There was nothing that he wouldn’t teach me, well… anything except for his perfect recipe.
As I mentioned earlier, my dad never wanted to be just a chef, he wanted to be the best, and to achieve that status he sought to create the perfect recipe.
“Ruben, this will be the world’s greatest dish. Mouths will water at the sight of it, and I will be known as the greatest chef to ever live. This family’s name will go down in history.”
Now don’t be mistaken, it’s not as if his recipe was really a secret. He would constantly talk about it and it was obvious whenever he was working on it, however he refused to teach me it.
“Not yet, it hasn’t been perfected. Once there are no flaws, I promise kiddo, I will teach you all about it.”
This dish was something that outside of his work and teaching me, he would constantly work on. In fact, I’d say that at a certain point he even became obsessive over it.
When I was around fifteen, my dad decided to renovate the basement and create a professional kitchen so that he could have his own little environment to test out the recipe. The only thing that struck me odd at the time was that nobody for any reason whatsoever was allowed down there and to make sure of that, he installed four deadbolts , with one requiring a passcode, and two reinforced steel doors. To say that I became a little worried, would be an understatement.
Soon he started to spend more and more time down there in his kitchen so much that it became normal for him to go at around nighttime and come back up well into the morning. My mentoring time got shorter and shorter until it just stopped altogether, but at least he still went to work.
And poor mom. I haven’t really mentioned her yet, I guess I still can’t get over what my dad did. He used to be my idol, you know. Anyway, my mom was one of the best ones. Although my dad and I were closer, we still had a great bond. She would always notice if something was up and made the effort to make everything alright again. She read me bedtime stories when I was a kid, healed my bruises and scrapes, and as I got older gave me advice on my dating problems. Like how my dad used to be, she was always there for me. I could tell that my dad’s obsession began to take a toll on her. He barely paid attention to her anymore. It came to the point where days would go by before she would even be able to see him, yet when those happened he still didn’t seem to notice her.
As my dad became absent in my life, she was there to fill in the empty space, and became my rock. Unfortunately it got to the point where she couldn’t handle it anymore and she snapped.
I was sleeping over at a friends house when it happened. According to my dad at the time, she got into his kitchen and yelled at him saying how he was a horrible husband and how he became a shitty father then went upstairs to pack her bags and left.
My mom was missing for a week. I tried to call her and any family that she could’ve went to, but there was no news of her. So I went to the police, and they began to start an investigation.
During all of this, it was like mom’s outburst really got through to my dad. It was strange seeing him spend time outside of his personal kitchen. Hell, he actually even started to cook dinner again for the first time in years. Yeah tell me about it, I was shocked too when I walked into the kitchen and saw him being his old self again. Unfortunately, that didn’t last.
About three days into the investigation, they arrested my father on murder charges- I was eighteen at the time. I couldn’t believe that he murdered mom. I wouldn’t believe it, but then the police told me of a tape they acquired that was definite proof and I demanded to see it. I wish I hadn’t.
At the beginning of the video, there was just pitch darkness, but then suddenly the lights came on and it looked like a kitchen.
My dad walked into frame and up to the camera, filling in the space until all I could see was him.
“ For years, I have been trying to perfect the best meat dish. I’ve practiced on different animals over the years, but this whole time it was right in front of me and I didn’t even know it.”
There was something off about him. His eyes looked like he was holding on to the brink of sanity. A look I never thought I’d see on him.
Muffling was heard offscreen.
“SHUT IT YOU DAMN IDIOT.”
He got a plate, threw it to the left and it shattered. At this point my stomach started to churn and I could feel the anxiety rising.
“This will go down in history as the greatest dish ever, mark my words.”
He went off frame and wheeled in a person tied down to a dolly, with a hood over their head. I couldn’t believe it. All this time, while my dad worked on his secret recipe, he was torturing animals right under my feet and I didn’t even realize it.
“You’re in for a real treat.”
He plucked off the hood and I felt my heart plummet into my stomach. My mom… the one person who was still there for me was tied up on that dolly. Her eyes showed how frightened she was and her face was scrunched up as tears ran down them. He took the tape off of her legs and torso that kept her bound to the dolly, yet she wasn’t really free because there was still rope that had trapped her.
He carried her wriggling body to the center island and cuffed her to it.
“Now ladies and gentleman, or whoever will watch this, get ready to learn how to make the perfect recipe. And watch closely, I wouldn’t want you to mess up.”
He got out the biggest knife I’d ever seen and brang it down swiftly onto her neck, separating her head from her body, and carried it to the garbage. He used the knife to sharply separate each limb from the torso and cut off all of the hands and feet which he threw away. He got what looked like a huge potato peeler and excruciatingly peeled off all of the skin from what was left of my mom. He then used the knife to cut all of the meat into thin slices, separating it from the bones.
As I watched with tears running down my face, bile rising in my throat with each second, and the feelings of shock and despair in my body, I realized that I could point out in my head what he’d do next. Everything he taught me about preparing dishes, he was doing right there on that video. I couldn’t take it anymore and I began to empty out my stomach while violently sobbing in between.
He got out a meat tenderizer and pounded the meat. He seasoned it with his special blend of spices, yet oddly enough he didn’t cook it. He just put it in a container, cleaned everything up and carried it off frame.
The video cuts to him cooking in the actual kitchen upstairs. I recognized this as about a week ago. I see myself walk into the kitchen, stunned that my dad was cooking for the first time in years.
We have a little conversation as he finishes serving the food and sets a plate down in front of me.
“How does it taste, kiddo?” He asked me.
“Perfect.” I chirped back.
Slowly he lifted up his head and stared at the camera for the longest of time… then grinned shooting a quick wink.