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Same Dish, Just With An Added Chef

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"I don’t like secrets. All this cooking a-and reading a-and TV watching while we read and cook. It’s like you’re involving me in crime. And I let you. Why do I let you?" Emil questioned.

"Ah!" Remy called out, hoisting his prize. "Aquila saffron. Italian. Gusteau says it’s excellent. Good thing the old lady is a food lov-" Remy abandoned his dish as the TV caught his attention.

"Hey! That’s Gusteau! Emile, look!" he called to his brother.

"Great cooking is not for the faint of heart." Gusteau said on the screen. "You must be imaginative, strong-hearted, you must try things that may not work. And you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true, anyone can cook... but only the fearless can be great."

Remy nodded his agreement. "Pure poetry."

"But it was not to last," The TV Narrator continued. "Gusteau’s restaurant lost one of its five stars after a scathing review by France’s top food critic, Anton Ego. It was a severe blow to Gusteau, and since then the great chef has rarely been at the restaurant due to an illness. It is this distance is the likely cause of the loss of another star."

Remy looked at the TV in horror. "Gusteau... doesn't cook anymore?"

The TV screen snapped off, and Remy and Emil spun to see that the old lady was awake and wielding a shot gun.

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Soaked and exhausted, Remy waited on the sewer bank with the cookbook. Maybe the clan would find him, maybe they wouldn't. There was just enough light to read, and Remy flipped through the pages of the cookbook that he fought to save. He did his best to ignore the images of food and the gnawing feeling in his stomach.

On the opposite page of one of these, was an illustration of Gusteau. The illustration smiled. "If you are hungry, go up and look around, Remy. Why do you wait and mope?" the chef said.

Maybe it was crazy to talk to a picture, but it wasn't like he had anything else to do. "I’ve just lost my family. All my friends. Probably forever," Remy said.

"How do you know?" Gusteau asked.

"Well, I--" Remy started, then stopped. "You... are an illustration. Why am I talking to you?"

 

"You just lost your family. All your friends," Gusteau repeated back at his with a shrug. "You are lonely."

"Yeah, well, you’re not here."

"Ah... but that is no match for wishful thinking," the chef said with a smile. "If you focus on what you’ve left behind you will never be able to see what lies ahead. Now go up and look around."

Remy looked up, considering his options, and took off to explore the night.