When: Saturday afternoon, 17 May (in between lunch and dinner opening hours)
Arriving outside the Wok'n'Roll ten minutes before the time scheduled for his interview, Stephen paused to check his reflection in a nearby shop window. Once satisfied his robes were tidy and his hair wasn't sticking up on end, Stephen walked into the restaurant.
Although he knew Cho's father was a congenial sort of man, Stephen couldn't help feeling nervous. He supposed it was only natural since this was his first job interview ever and all the practice in the world didn't really prepare one for this sort of thing. All he hoped was that he wouldn't make a fool of himself.
Wai Hong met Stephen at the door to front door of the restaurant. He knew many employers would choose to have Stephen wait or be lead back to him, but that really wasn't his style. He was an informal man, who believed in running his business his way and that wasn't going to change. "Mister Summerby!" he greeted with a smile. "Lovely to meet you! I hope you haven't been waiting long!"
"Good afternoon, Mr Chang," the older man's smile and informal manner help soothe Stephen's nerves and he smiled back. "No, not long at all. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me today."
"Of course, of course," he said, Wai Hong said, extending his arm and ushering him in and towards the back. "Are you enjoying your day away from school?"
"It's good to get a break away from N.E.W.T study," Stephen admitted as they walked in. He glanced around the restaurant, the environment new to him since he hadn't seen it before. "And to visit my parents. You have a great place here," he added, his tone and expression completely sincere. The restaurant looked like a fun place to be and he was glad he'd decided to try for a job here.
Wai Hong grinned. "I like it. We serve all sorts of Asian cuisine here, not just Chinese. I'm thinking of branching out to breakfast myself but Cho thinks that's a bit weird."
"Asian breakfasts have a reputation for being very healthy though and if there's a call for it then perhaps a breakfast menu isn't so strange," Stephen smiled as he recalled the rice porridge his mother used to feed him. He missed that.
"A man after my own heart," he said, his grin broadening. "What's your favourite dish to serve?
That was a difficult question to answer since Stephen had many favourites, but after consideration, he picked one he'd found recently. "At the moment, for dinner, it would have to be a garlic and sesame stirfry with a hint of chilli. It's had the best reaction so far, and since the sauce is the key, I've found I can vary the meat according to preference, it even works well with tofu."
Wai Hong nodded thoughtfully. "Good, good, we need more vegetarian dishes. Megan Jones--she is a hostess here--doesn't eat meat. I told her I would work on a menu all for her. She said not to go to all the trouble, but it is no trouble, right?" He winked and then he lead Stephen back into the kitchen. "Well, here we are. Let's get you cleaned up, tell me what you'll be needing, and we'll try out this garlic and sesame stirfry--with tofu--if that's all right."
"My mother is a vegetarian," Stephen smiled in assurance. "So I always try to balance my recipes to include something she will enjoy."
His expression on entering the kitchen was that of someone who'd just found their lifelong dream and he stood still for a moment, absorbing the smell and sounds before replying. "Yes, perfectly all right."
Once he was ready, Stephen stood at the counter and drew in a deep breath, exhaling slowly against a last minute attack of nerves before reeling off the list of ingredients. "I need: extra-firm tofu, honey, tamari, fresh ginger, sesame oil, black sesame seeds, five large cloves of garlic, rice vinegar, two fresh red chillis, green onions, and oil for frying," he paused and glanced at Wai Hong. "I usually serve this with steamed bok choy and brown rice."
With everything required ready, Stephen set to work. All his worries faded away as he cooked, getting into the zone and focused on making the best dish possible. The dish didn't take long to make and it was only a matter of minutes before he was presenting the completed meal to Mr Chang with a small bow.