Recurrent Themes – Chefs

Background

I enjoy cooking, and so it was easy for me to center my first big story and big series around a chef. DNA The story is Reversal, the series is In Between Days, and the chef is Lili O’Day.

Furthermore, I needed to have characters who readers could more readily relate to. When you watch Star Trek, or you read about it, some of the characters and their jobs and scenarios are just, well, alien. How many of us are Science Officers? Who pilots, if not a star ship, then at least an airplane? Who is a linguist? These jobs – and jobs like them – do exist, but cooking is close to being universal. Everybody’s got to eat.

Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse

Before Chef was revealed to be Jonathan Frakes, I had thought of what it would be like to have someone like Emeril Lagasse in the role. I still think he would have made a better Chef character. Plus maybe it would finally get the bitter taste of the series finale out of my mouth.

Naah. Nothing will.

Appearances

Lili O’Day

Lili is not just a chef.

Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day

She’s a lot of things, too – a wife (twice in the prime timeline and twice in the E2 alternate), a mother, an operative for Richard Daniels, an informal good will ambassador to the Calafan people, an officer (in the prime timeline, she retires as an Ensign. In the E2 alternate, she has a different outcome) and a friend to people such as Jenny Crossman and, eventually, Pamela Hudson.

Lili also works out well as an expository character. She doesn’t always know what’s going on (after all, she spends most of her time below decks), so she asks the questions that the audience needs to ask.

William Slocum

Because Frakes is Star Trek: Enterprise canon as Chef, I don’t mess with that.

Chef Slocum and Hoshi Sato
Chef Slocum and Hoshi Sato

However, the man had neither a first nor a last name so I have provided him with both. I just liked how the name William Slocum sounded, plus it pays homage to the actor’s much better canon character, Will Riker.

Further to that, he needed a bit of a backstory, so he got an Italian mother and, as a result, an affinity for Italian cooking (his chicken marsala is canon). He also engages in a lot of bluster and his relationships do not work out well at all.

Brian Delacroix

Brian starts out in Security, but moves into Food Service by the end of Reversal.

David Faustino as Brian Delacroix
David Faustino as Brian Delacroix

By the time of Together, he’s working full-time as a sous-chef. And by the time of Fortune, he has become the chef for Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the USS Bluebird. He’s even seen in Equinox; Malcolm confides in him a bit.

He and Lili also help to prepare a special meal for the Federation’s founding species. The Vulcans prepare the soup course (plomeek broth), the Tellarites prepare a main dish and the Andorians provide the dessert. Brian and Lili prepare her Harvest Salad, which she made for Will during the events of Voracious and for Jonathan, Hoshi, T’Pol, Travis, Malcolm, TrippJay, and Dr. Phlox in Harvest.

Kathalia

While this Daranaean is an amateur, she is known as a good cook. In Temptation, she’s the one who suggests making cookies (the Daranaeans refer to them as “little cakes”), and in Flight of the Bluebird, her husband, Trinning, singles her out and compliments her as being “the best cook”.

Harvest Salad Recipe

The Harvest Salad doesn’t really have a set list of ingredients. It’s more like a refrigerator salad, e. g. you make it with whatever you’ve got on hand. But the main ideas are as follows:

  • It should be colorful. In Fortune, the lettuces are several different colors, and the entire spectrum of the rainbow is evoked.
  • It should contain fruits and nuts. These can be anything that goes together. Because, in canon, Malcolm loves pineapple, that fruit is always included.
  • It should be vegan. For Malcolm, who has lactose intolerance, and T’Pol, who is a vegan, this is a must. However, the dressings need not be vegan although a vegan option should be provided.
  • It can contain a cooked item. In Fortune, the salad contains beets.

Upshot

For hungry travelers, chefs do more than nourish the body. They are important when it comes to crew morale. In Reflections Down a Corridor, in particular, because morale is slipping, having good food is a must. But chefs are more than purveyors of food. They nourish the spirit.

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