The Short Order Mad Man on Toast Club

Contributor: Miles Gough

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I just got back from the hospital and I’m too wired on pain killers to not want to go on about it. Don’t worry about me and the hospital, it was just five stitches on my forehead, not even a wound if you ask me. Toast Club got out of hand last night, but that is the kind of thing that happens at Toast Club. I heard that the guy from The Castle Cafe will have to wear an eye patch for a while, now that’s a wound. Maybe I should wear an eye patch, cause that shit’s cool.

Toast Club is the best after hours underground competition we cooks have done, and now, who knows if it will ever happen again. The idea is simplicity, which is usually not my thing, but this is extreme simplicity, so I’m with it.

Everyone always says that great chefs are better than anyone else, no matter what the hell they’re cooking. Some French dude just wants you to cook an omelet to see how badass you are. To our thinking, that’s too complicated for the test. If you say a great chef can make anything better, then they can make toast with butter better than your average schmuck. So me and a few real believers started Toast Club. We do it once or twice a month in the back room of Julio’s kitchen, the one with the craps game. We do it on days when dice ain't flying.

We have two contestants. They start at the same time. They are given two identical pop up toasters, four pieces of Wonder bread and an ounce of Land O Lakes butter. They have to make four pieces of toast and put on butter and the four judges figure out who is the supreme chef from the results. That’s pure. All the contestants can control is how long to toast the bread and how much butter to put on. And that’s all you need to figure out who should be swaggering big and long.

The judges are beyond reproach and yeah I am one. Can you think of anyone better qualified? C'mon. We been doing it for some time and the best chefs in town are almost always the winner. Sometimes a dark horse brings out an amazing win, like Noberto working the line at Altese, he is a genius with the butter, right amount every time. After he trounced all comers, he got himself a name and was promoted to Chef d’cuisine. This ain’t no joke if you were wondering.

This all gets us to last night. We were pretty wasted on kosher wine from this insanely elaborate bar mitzvah, so maybe we should have canceled, but the crowd was hungry for it. Of course we ran it. Miles who works at a upscale pizza joint out by the mall was one toaster and then there was Stan. God, you got to know Stan. Worked every place. Had style, but was an annoying shit. With that bad an attitude, its a wonder he doesn’t have a restaurant empire by now. He was a return combatant, had lost three times already and if I can remember, they weren’t even close. I think one time he even burned the toast, now that’s amateur.

The contest started with the pomp and circumstance of Lucas doing his MC routine. He did the stupid first rule of toast club, is don’t talk about toast club. For real, first rule of toast club, is that no one should stay that stupid fucking line anymore. But give it up to Lucas, he worked the crowd and we were ready. The toasting began and Miles was calm, doing a neat trick of warming the butter knife on the side of the toaster. Stan looked in his element, which kind of worried me, because he was never a relaxed dude. The toast popped and the buttering began. My favorite part, this is where the finesse happens. And then the presenting of the toast.

We bit into the offerings and Miles’s was good. This tasted like a fine piece of breakfast. I gave it high marks. Then I moved to Stan’s plate and holy shit that was fantastic. In all the times of Toast Club, this was the best goddamned piece of toast I ever ate. We had to give it up to Stan, though it pissed me off to do it.

Lucas ran over to Stan and raised his hand in victory. Stan had tried to move away but Lucas was too fast. Then Lucas’s eyes got all big. He took his hand back and looked at it and then smelled it. “Son of a bitch,” he said, “this guy spiked his butter. He has bacon fat on his finger.”

Can you believe it? He had come in with a finger full of bacon fat and when he was spreading the butter, he had put a little of it on each piece of toast. You know that no cook can resist bacon, so of course we were goners for it. That was a dirty trick and me and the other judges jumped the no good shit.

One thing for Stan, he can tussle in a fight. And he is smart enough to bring some back-up. He and his buddies brought their knives and it got nasty. Eventually, we made a lesson of him, but not without injuries. No one disrespects the sanctity of Toast Club.

At the ER, me and Lucas and a couple others were talking that maybe this was a sign to end Toast Club. If one asshole can play us that way, maybe we didn’t have the best contest devised. Next week, we’re going to debut Chip Club. Who ever can open the best bag of potato chips and pour the finest beer, wins. You should come, it’s going to be spectacular.

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