Takashi hadn’t been this nervous since proposing to his wife. Tonight there were rumours that Gastón, one of the most famous food critics would visit Takashi’s ramen restaurant. Takashi didn’t know how the rumour started and he was worried that Gastón would criticise his restaurant in a negative way.
He had everything ready, the tables were set and the kitchen staff were on standby. He just had to wait for Gastón to arrive. The minutes felt like hours as he paced around the restaurant nervously.
Finally, Takashi saw a slender, well-dressed man walking towards his restaurant. He recognised him immediately as Gastón. He rushed over to greet him.
“Welcome to my restaurant! I’m Takashi, the owner.”
Gastón smiled and shook Takashi’s hand. “It’s great to finally meet you. I’ve heard so many good things about your ramen.”
Takashi breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, please come in and have a seat.”
Gastón sat down at a table and Takashi brought him a menu. “Our speciality is tonkotsu ramen, but we have other flavours too.”
Gastón looked through the menu and then said, “I’ll have the tonkotsu ramen please.”
Takashi nodded and went to report the order to his head chef.
A few minutes later, Takashi brought the ramen to Gastón himself. “Here you are, enjoy.”
Gastón carefully observed the dish. He used his chopsticks to stir through the broth and seemingly test the texture of the ingredients. He then took a small sip from the broth.
Takashi and the kitchen staff in the back tried to gauge for any sentiment, but Gastón didn’t show his cards while continuing to eat from the dish.
“Is everything in order, sir?”
“Hmm,” Gastón hummed as he put down his chopsticks. He dabbed at the corner of his mouth with a napkin before speaking. “The broth is creamy and has just the right amount of fat. The pork is cooked well and melts in your mouth. The noodles are springy and have a good bite to them.”
Takashi let out a sigh of relief, but then Gastón continued speaking.
“However, I find the overall seasoning to be a little too salty for my taste.”
Takashi’s heart sank. He knew that he had to take Gastón’s criticism seriously if he wanted his restaurant to improve. He bowed his head in apology.
“I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it as much as others have. We’ll try to do better next time.”
Gastón smiled and patted Takashi on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’m sure your next dish will be great. What do you have for dessert?’
Takashi brightened up at the mention of dessert. “We have a special green tea mochi cake that I think you’ll love.”
“Sounds wonderful, I’ll definitely try it.”
Takashi went to the kitchen to relay the order and then brought out the cake a few minutes later.
Gastón took a small bite and closed his eyes to take in the taste. His eyes opened wide and he started coughing. His face turned pale.
“Are you alright?” Takashi asked with concern.
Gastón clutched his throat as his face turned into a greenish blue color, he slowly slid from his chair to the floor. He tried coughing, but there was only a gurgling sound coming from his throat.
“Some water!” Takashi shouted to the kitchen staff. He then turned his attention back to Gastón who was now lying motionless on the floor. “Please wake up, sir!”
Takashi frantically tried CPR, but it was too late. Gastón was already dead.
The police soon arrived and started investigating the death. They quickly determined that it was not natural causes and that Gastón had been poisoned. Takashi was devastated. He had no idea who would want to kill Gastón or why.
The police questioned Takashi and the other staff members, but no one had any information that could help with the investigation.
Because Takashi was a creature of habit he still flipped the Sunday paper open to read the food section and restaurant reviews. His stomach turned as he saw a review of his restaurant, written by Gastón.
“The broth is creamy and has just the right amount of fat. The pork is cooked well and melts in your mouth. The noodles are springy and have a good bite to them. However, I find the overall seasoning to be a little too salty for my taste.”
Takashi read the words over and over again. He then realised that Gastón had given him a clue to who murdered him. The killer must have added too much salt to the dish knowing that Gastón would find it too salty. Takashi was sure that the killer was one of his kitchen staff.
He went to the police and told them his theory. They began investigating the staff members and soon found out that one of them had been adding extra salt to the dishes for weeks. The staff member confessed and was arrested for murder.
Takashi was relieved that the murderer had been caught, but he was still devastated by Gastón’s death. He vowed to never let something like this happen again at his restaurant.