This is Derek. You know what the greatest ambition of his life is? He wants to be a famous chef. He’s known that this is what he wants to do since he was four years old, when he helped his mom make Christmas cookies for the first time.
After producing his first tray of cookies, Derek was deeply impressed by this magic phenomenon of converting simple products into beautiful dishes. His mom taught him something new every day, and by the time he turned seven, he could already cook a simple breakfast for the whole family on his own. While all of his friends were playing football or listening to music, Derek was experimenting in the kitchen. Derek went to see his dad and told him that he wanted to take up cooking classes.
“Whaaaaaat?! Are you kidding me? Cooking classes?! - dad said.
“If this is about money,” Derek responded in an attempt to placate him, “I have some pocket money saved up, so I can contribute… Dad, this is my dream! I want to become a chef!” It was then that he noticed that his dad was slowly becoming red with anger.
Derek felt devastated. He went to his mom for support and explained the situation. She was very understanding and said he could take the course while she discussed the matter with his father. When he started his classes, Derek felt ecstatic to learn all the tricks and methods that were his first steps towards his dream of becoming a professional chef. His dad seemed to calm down a bit; maybe it was just that he couldn’t do anything about it or that his mother’s negotiating had helped.
Derek hadn’t realized what was actually going inside his head. He’d decided to sabotage his own son. Once, Derek was making a simple chocolate cream sponge cake. He was supposed to bring it to class and let everyone try it. There he was getting it ready, all the ingredients tasted fine, he had just made the cream and left it to cool down a little when his dad came to the kitchen and asked Derek to help his mom do the laundry. When he came back from the basement, he finished his cake, putting the layers together with the cream and covering it with fondant and frosting. When he went to his class, Derek was looking forward to receiving top marks, as he was sure that the cake was perfect. His teacher cut a slice and took a bite. Derek was waiting for his smile, but instead saw a strange expression of incomprehension appear on his face. His heart sank. “What’s wrong?” he asked in a defeated tone. “How could you have mistaken sugar for salt? The cream is salty!”
Derek couldn’t understand how this could have happened. He’d tasted everything the previous night. Then suddenly it occurred to him that it had been his dad who’d been left alone in the kitchen with his cake. How could he!? He decided to face him like a man, asking him directly: He appeared to be ashamed, and admitted it. Derek was angry as hell. He sighed, and said: “Son, I need to tell you something. Sit down.” He went out of the room and brought back an old photo album Derek had never seen before.
He opened it, and Derek’s jaw dropped. There he was, his dad as a teenager in a fancy glittery suit dancing with a suntanned teenage girl. “I’ve never showed this to anyone. This is an old and painful story for me. No one knows it, so please keep it a secret. I used to love dancing and I was really good at it. I took up classes when I was about your age and even took part in several competitions, until one day, I don’t know how but my classmates found out about it. Can you imagine the reaction?” “No.” Derek was puzzled. “They started mocking me, and told me dancing was for girls! They treated me horribly, and in the end I had to give up. But they remembered it, and made my life hell till the very end of school! I know how this finishes so I wanted to protect you!” “But dad, my classmates already know and they think it’s cool! Especially after I brought my homemade muffins to school.” His father seemed lost at this news, and opened then closed his mouth in astonishment. “But would you still like to dance?” Derek asked. “Yes, but keep it quiet! Not even mom knows. Then I guess it’s ok if you don’t have any problems at school. Off you go!” He seemed pretty embarrassed by his sudden confession, but that still didn’t put Derek off cooking. And he thought up a plan.
Derek had a chat with his mom the next day about the secret his dad had been keeping from her. She gave him a sly smile and said nothing. But he soon found out that his parents were taking up tango classes! Derek cooked them supper for the first evening after their class, and waited excitedly for them. When they came in, his dad gave him a warm hug and hissed “Traitor!” straight into his ear. But he didn’t look sad at all as Derek gave him a sly wink.