1. “Again, I would like to thank all of the aspiring chefs who participated in our Future Chefs of America competition. You have all worked hard and created fabulous dishes. Those who will be joining us for tomorrow’s big dessert showdown are…”
2. Rachel trembled uncontrollably as she waited for Chef Rubin to announce the names of the finalists. Finally, Chef Rubin looked out into the audience and said, “Our 3 finalists are Alex Williams from New York, David Wu from Texas, and…” Chef Rubin paused for what seemed like an eternity to the contestants and then said, “And Rachel Green from New Jersey!” The roar of the crowd helped prevent Rachel from fainting at the sound of her name. “Congratulations to our 3 finalists, and I hope everyone will join us tomorrow for the big dessert showdown,” exclaimed Chef Rubin.
3. “Rachel, we are so proud of you!” said her dad as he drove back to the hotel.
4. “Yes, we really are!” her mom interjected. “Have you decided what dessert you’re going to make in the showdown?”
“Not yet,” sighed Rachel. “I’m still thinking.”
5. When they reached the hotel, Rachel’s parents decided to order a pizza and go to bed early. They wanted to make sure Rachel was well-rested and ready for the big showdown. Although Rachel turned in early, she had trouble falling asleep. She worried about choosing the wrong dessert and not impressing the judges. Then she panicked at the thought of having to compete against David Wu. His father was a world-renowned chef, and David had traveled the globe learning cooking techniques from some of the most famous chefs.
6. “What am I going to make? How will I ever win this contest?” Rachel mumbled as she drifted off to sleep.
7. “Rachel, do you remember the fun we always had in the kitchen?” asked a pleasantly familiar voice. Rachel couldn’t see the person through the blinding light.
8. “Grandma Ella, is that you?”
9. “Yes, Lemon Drop. This is your Grandma.”
10. “Hi, Grandma!” said Rachel as she choked back tears. “How did you—?“
11. Grandma Ella interrupted and said, “Rachel, I want you to do me a favor. Just relax. Don’t worry about the other competitors. Don’t worry about trying to make a dessert that will impress the judges. Just remember the fun we always had together while cooking. Just have fun in the kitchen tomorrow.”
12. The next morning, Rachel got up bright and early. She felt relaxed and ready to compete in the big dessert showdown.
13. “Rachel, I guess getting some extra pizza really helped?” said her Dad.
“Yes, Dad, replied Rachel.” “I never felt better!”
14. Before the big competition began, Rachel wished David and Alex good luck. She happily hummed and, at times, looked as if she was dancing while making her dessert.
15. An hour and a half later, the desserts were finished and ready to be judged. “Now, the time has finally arrived!” exclaimed Chef Rubin. “Drum roll, please.”
16. “Our next Future Chef of America is Rachel Green from New Jersey!” bellowed Chef Rubin. As the confetti fell, Rachel stepped up to accept her trophy. “Rachel, your lemon drop cookies were just amazing,” Chef Rubin said. “Tell us, where did you get your recipe?”
17. Rachel smiled and said, “It’s just a simple recipe my Grandma Ella taught me.”