With Love, Your Sweetly Salted (2023) Movie Script

Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Gazing at the
shape of the moon
I wondered about you
Way out there
and all around
And deep within
Talk to me Earth Wisdom
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Waving your bows
and branches
What are the
chances you grew
To be older than this town
before this all was around
Talk to me Earth Wisdom
To allow us
To allow us
To allow us
To allow us
Hot, hot, hot.
To allow us
Not bad.
Na na na na na
na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
na na na na na
[Elevator door chimes]
[Footsteps approach gently]
Morning, Ali.
- Morning, Ben. Would you like a
slice of cheddar cheese apple pie?
- I'll never say no
to your experiments.
Still a work in progress.
- Not half bad.
Sweet and savoury.
- Exactly. I think the crust
just got a little too dry.
Tastebuds say it's just right.
- [Chuckles]
- You're too kind.
I'm gonna take
another crack at it.
- Let me know when
you try again.
Will do.
[Footsteps click away]
[Rhythmic music]
[Keyboard keys clacking]
[Indistinct chatter]
This combo is outta this world.
How about...
some cinnamon?
Hmm, just a little bit.
It's already so rich.
Yep, even better.
- If I had to
choose my own death,
it would absolutely
be death by pie.
And what a glorious way to go.
What makes this one so good?
- Golden delicious apples
baked in a flaky crust
with super-sharp
17-year-old cheddar,
made with milk from
Gardner's Farm,
where the cows eat like kings.
- Well, lucky cows.
- If there was ever an advertisement
to move to the Midwest,
I think it would be this pie.
[Alison's phone ringing]
- Oh, I hope that's
the reservation
confirmation for tonight.
I could eat again in an hour.
That's why I love you.
It's an unknown
number. Do I answer it?
Hmm, live a little.
Fair enough.
Is this Sweetly Salted?
Um, yeah.
If you don't mind me asking,
how did you get this number?
- Powerful women
have their ways.
Plus, this isn't
Chicago Today business,
this is just for you.
Who am I speaking with?
- I'm calling with
Hudson Publishers.
We all read your column here
and we absolutely love it.
We've been placing bets all day
whether or not you were a woman.
I will be winning
some money today.
- Well, the bigger
congratulations goes to you
because we would like you
to pitch a book idea to us.
Who the heck is it?
Hudson Publishers.
- There's only one
teensy-weensy little catch.
We would like to be the ones
to break your identity.
I mean, you really
did your research.
- Well, we think it'll
help sell the book
if people finally get
to know the real you.
- Look, this is
an amazing offer,
but I'm gonna need some
time to think about it.
I've done what I've
done so that restaurants
would treat me
like everyone else.
- Yes, which is
absolutely brilliant.
I mean, it's a known fact that female
critics get treated differently.
Incredible writing just
deserves to be rewarded.
Just... tell me
you'll think about it.
Yeah, absolutely.
- I'm just sending
you an email now.
My inbox is open to you.
[Computer chimes]
I promise you will
remain "Miss Sweetly"
until you decide how you would
like to execute your big reveal.
Oh. Or is it Miss Salted?
- Honestly, it
depends on the day.
Your secret is safe with me,
as long as you want it to be.
Thank you.
- No, Sweetly, thank you.
Talk soon.
Book deal?
I mean, don't count your eggs
until you get the yolks poached
just right, but maybe... yes?
I knew it!
I mean...
- "Sterling paves way for
fresh female authors."
She seems cool.
She really does.
But there's a catch...
I need to decide if I wanna
go public with my identity.
Which is no big deal at all!
- All right, don't turn a good
hop into a bad one, Alison Reed!
You've dreamed about this
ever since I've known you.
I know, you're right.
- Do double the beers
get sold in the 7th?
- What?
- Of course, I'm right. [Chuckles]
- I just... I love
my life right now.
Revealing my identity could
change my life as I know it.
- Look selfishly, I don't
want anything to take you away
from being rec team
catcher, but sometimes,
a team anchor's gotta set sail.
- Okay, A, I'm
not going anywhere
until playoffs are over,
and B, I think it might be
a little generous to
call me team anchor.
Everyone knows the
catcher on a rec team
is the girl that can't
play everything else.
- Except, now you've
gotten so good,
we couldn't live without you.
Something tells me you could.
- Either way, you've gotta
swing for the fences.
Thanks, Jules.
By the way, we are confirmed
at the new fusion spot,
Isla Dulce, tonight. The
one started by Seb Reynaldo.
- Uh... my brain is numb
from spring training stats.
- Who's this person again?
- Puerto Rican transplant to the city.
He wants to be the 10th Puerto
Rican to ever get a Michelin star.
- But how's the food?
- I don't know!
I'm honestly surprised
we even got in.
It's the hottest
opening in town.
Seems like Chicago's
really pulling for him.
- Sounds like a down and
out in the 7th kinda story.
I love it! [Chuckles]
- Maybe. He's also
notoriously mysterious.
How so?
- He hates having
his photo taken.
I couldn't pick his face out
in a crowd if you paid me.
Hmm... kinda like you.
- Okay, I guess some of us do
like to keep a low profile.
But the difference is,
everyone knows his name.
- Well, soon everyone
can know yours too.
[Light music]
[Exhales deeply]
[Upbeat Latin music]
[Indistinct chatter]
- [Chuckles]
- I can't believe we finally have
a Seb Reynaldo joint in Chicago.
- I am dying to see
what he looks like.
- Me too. I would ask him
if the rumours are true.
- What rumours?
- That he's never had a female chef.
- How does something
like that still fly? I...
No idea.
- We'll put that meatball
to the test and see
if he's got a course
that can really close.
They have jibaritos.
I haven't had one in forever.
- Uh, what pray
tell is a jibarito?
- It's a tasty Puerto
Rican sandwich.
Marinated meat,
tons of toppings,
and the key is the bun consists
of two fried plantains...
- Ah!
- Hugging the whole thing together.
Ah! Puerto Rican
Chicagoans love it.
- You've never had one?
- No, but my mouth is watering.
- The best one I ever had
was when I was in college.
I was just... taking a walk.
[Easy Latin music]
It was so outrageously good.
There was horseradish,
and I think cinnamon.
Definitely pickles.
The meat was so tender, and the
plantains were fried just right.
It was so amazing, I...
I tipped the vendor 20 bucks
and wrote a note on the bill.
[Jules]: Well, what
did the note say?
[Alison]: "Thank you for
the salty and the sweet."
- Wait, so the column name
is from this one jibarito?
Pretty much!
- How have I known you all
this time and I had no idea?
- [Chuckles]
- I'm full of surprises.
I'm gonna get us cocktails.
- Twist my arm, why don't you?
[Upbeat Latin music]
- Hey.
- Lemme get a shot of tequila?
Excuse me!
I was about to order.
Yeah, so was I.
Well, you cut in front of me.
[Exhales sharply]
- Sorry, but I'm uh, having
kind of a rough night.
Sorry to hear that.
Yeah, what did you order?
- I was gonna order
the jibaritos.
- Let me get your drinks.
- You don't need to do that.
- Oh, it's the least I
can do. What do you want?
Two Cadillac margaritas.
- And... also, maybe
skip the jibaritos.
Two Cadillac margaritas, yeah.
There you go. Thanks.
[Annoyed chuckle]
Thank you.
[Soft Latin music]
Holy, salami, that's spicy.
- Gotta love a good
kick! And a free drink.
From that cute bartender?
Not the bartender.
It was some hot guy that
disappeared into the crowd.
- Well, cheers to
the hot mystery man.
So, I ordered the
jibaritos to start,
and yucca fries, and flan.
Great choices.
Teddy would hate this place.
Not enough grill choices.
- Well, he may not be the
most adventurous eater,
but I do miss his grill nights.
Yeah, me too.
- Well, why don't
you have one soon?
- Do I seem like the nagging
wife if I ask for one?
- No, you seem like a wife who
wants to have a fun dinner party
with her grill master
king. [Chuckles]
Okay. I'll ask for one. Hmm.
Thanks. Mm.
- These are normally
served on plantains.
This feels sacrilege.
Tasty sacrilege.
- No, no, Hawaiian
rolls are sugary.
Plantains aren't that sweet.
These are gonna taste all wrong.
- Just try it. I
mean, I like it.
- No, offence, but your
standards aren't as high as mine.
Only with food.
- Hmm.
- Buck up, champ. Sometimes the cheap seats
are just as fun as the boxes.
I doubt that, but...
I can't not try it.
- Mm-mm. This is all wrong.
Don't be so dramatic!
Once you've had caviar,
sardines don't taste the same.
More for me, then.
Help yourself. [Chuckles]
Thank you!
[Alison]: Seb Reynaldo's new
fusion restaurant, Isla Dolce.
The jibarito is usually the
perfect combo of sweet and savoury.
The meat should be
carefully marinated
and served between two
buttery braised plantains.
But this sandwich
reminded me of dry sand
on a midsummer desert day.
The worst sin of all
is that was served
on two buns more artificial than a
losing actor's smile on Oscar night.
This Isla will soon be
deserted if the chef can't nail
what should be a simple
and inspired dish.
Buena suerte, Isla not-so-Dulce.
[Rhythmic music]
[Door clicks, bell jingles]
- Hey, Alison!
- Hey!
- Your normal dozen?
- Yes, please.
And can I also get a chai latte?
Ah, that guy got the last one.
- I know what it
friggin' says, man. Okay?
- You know what? I
think he deserves it.
Thank you. Here you go.
See you next time.
[Door clicks open, bell jingles]
- Oh, that's what all
the fuss is about.
It's cronut day, baby!
Oh, save one for me.
Oh, I will.
They smell so good.
The chocolate today?
- Well, I got extra today, so
if you play your cards right,
- you might just get two.
- Thank you. Hmm.
Hey, Ali!
[Intriguing music]
- Don't worry, Bob,
I saved you one.
- No, it's not that,
just... come here!
Why are you being so weird?
I'm not being weird.
Shut the door!
- Okay, okay!
- Shut it!
What is going on?
- You're Sweetly
Salted, aren't you?
Who's asking?
Just me.
- Does anyone else...
- Just me!
Look, I'm the obits editor.
I come in at all
sorts of weird times
when somebody dies, and you...
you come in at weird
times, too, right?
Sometimes 11:00, or 11:30.
That would be right after
a late dinner service.
A later service... [Sighs]
so nobody would take
notice if you were trying
to keep a low profile, right?
- So, what if I
was Sweetly Salted?
Why do you care so much?
Because you're the only one
who's been nice to
me in this office.
- Really?
- Yeah.
And I know you don't always
read the morning blog posts
because you're old school and
you still get hard copies.
How do you know all this?
- You and I are the only ones
who take from the hard stacks.
- Oh.
- So, for the record,
I thought the latest
review was really funny.
- [Chuckles]
- Thank you.
- But... it seems the
rest of Chicago did not.
[Mouse clicks]
Oh no!
I should get back to work.
Yeah, right. Intern Alison.
- Thank you, Bob. Your discretion
is greatly appreciated.
"You are a salty joke."
"Seb Reynaldo is a Chicago Puerto
Rican treasure. How dare you!"
"You think you're clever?
You try to make a jibarito."
[Chuckles nervously]
"Examples of well
written informed articles
by food writers who don't
hide from the public."
"Sweetly is only salty lately."
This is bad, right?
I think...
it's pretty bad.
But at least it's not
in the print edition.
- People only read the
online edition anymore.
This is... worse!
I'm sorry, champ.
[Alison's phone ringing]
Hey, Lex!
Mm-hmm. I'll be right there.
- Hey look, this is no worse
than when the Aces of Bases
were down and out in the
last playoff tournament.
- Yeah, but we were
out in the first round.
Barely remember, I was
having so much fun.
- What are you trying
to tell me, Jules?
- Well, just go in
there and remind Lexi
that you're an
anchor for the paper,
just like how you're
an anchor for the team.
[Exhales sharply]
[Heavy music]
Have a seat, Alison.
- Is your inbox as bad as mine?
- It is.
And I'm not gonna
mince words here.
Controversy may sell papers,
but it's gotta be
the right kind.
- Right.
- You know I'll always go to bat for you.
And I appreciate that so much.
But this one... is tough.
I understand that.
Uh... question, isn't that
what the editors are for?
- You know you're more
powerful than our editors now.
- No, I didn't know
that, actually.
- You pull in some of the
highest readership for the paper.
The editors are
afraid to edit you.
- Well, everyone needs
a good editor. Clearly.
Maybe it's best to just...
lay low for a few weeks.
- I always lay low! That's
literally my schtick!
- You know what I mean.
- Food loses its taste
- if I can't write about it.
- Maybe take this time to just...
gain a little perspective.
I'll try my best.
- It's just a little break
from publishing the column.
That's it. People are forgiving,
especially when they have
time to miss something.
- You think people will
really miss Sweetly?
- There's only one
way to find out.
Ali, I'm so sorry.
I heard absolutely
every single word.
Were you eavesdropping?
No, I was just... in the area.
Okay then...
- Lexi wants me to take a break.
Give everyone a
chance to miss me.
- So, does that mean
that you're not gonna be
sitting across from me anymore?
- I don't think that would
qualify as taking a break.
Well, I'll miss you.
I think Bob's gonna miss me.
But will Chicago miss the
column? Will they even care?
- I think about
food 80% of the day
and I don't even write about
it, so in my opinion, yes.
Well, that's something.
Well, this sucks!
I've been sitting
across from my bestie
ever since I started here.
This is gonna be so weird.
- Not helping, Jules.
- Sorry.
I just gotta get outta here.
Clear my head.
- You wanna grab
some comfort food?
- [Exhales]
- Not this time.
- Well, I'm here
for you when you do.
Thanks, slugger.
[Emotional music]
[Oven timer beeps]
[Frustrated sigh]
[Light music]
I'm sorry, Seb.
You know I'm about
to get married
and I got a kid on the way.
- It's all the more
reason to stay.
It just feels too tenuous.
I gotta go somewhere
more established.
Well, I'm established.
It's Isla Dulce that's
just getting started.
- You know what I mean, man.
- Is any restaurant ever a guarantee?
What can we do to keep you stay?
- How about an extra day
off to be with the family?
I need more work, not less.
Look, I know you're new in town,
but that Sweetly Salted
review, it really matters.
It can mean the kiss of death.
I've seen it happen before.
- That's why we have Luis.
- Look, I'm a PR master.
I'm workin' on a spin right now, then we invite
Sweetly Salted back and we get a rewrite.
- Right, these things,
they just take time.
- There's no guarantee that
columnist will ever come back!
I mean, no one even
really knows who they are,
but in this town,
they matter the most.
- No, no, no. What matters
the most in this town
is how good the food is.
Yeah, we've had some hiccups,
but we're gonna be
the best PR joint
this town has ever seen.
Okay? I can promise you that.
- And how can you change
what's already been inked?
I'm really sorry, Seb,
but I've already
accepted another offer.
You know I'm rooting for you.
- Hey.
- How the heck are we gonna get through
a week of service
without a sous chef?
I'll find one. I'm on it.
[Light music]
[Alison]: I've been thinking a
lot about your offer and I'm in.
As Sweetly Salted, or
as requested, just me...
even if I'm still unsure
who the real me is.
Maybe you saw my last column?
I thought it was
pretty good work.
Our readership did not agree.
The rebellion against my
words makes me question
how and why our emotions
can rise and fall so deeply
with the food we
consume. [Sighs]
To get to the bottom
of my question,
I propose I go undercover at
the very restaurant I reviewed.
Get in bed with the enemy.
I'll get hired by the
man whose restaurant
I told the world is
currently less than.
I will befriend the notoriously
hard-nosed Seb Reynaldo
to find out what it truly takes to
launch a restaurant from the ground up.
Restaurant critic makes
good by actually discovering
the joys of working
in a restaurant.
Sincerely yours,
the soon to be unveiled,
Sweetly Salted.
[Light music]
[Call ringing]
[Alison's phone rings]
- Hi!
- Sweetly, Olivia Sterling.
That was fast.
- I read books and
emails for a living.
I am the definition of
a good communicator.
- [Chuckles]
- A great skill to have.
- I love your pitch. I think
you've really got something.
- Really?
- Yes!
A food critic in the kitchen
with no real-life experience?
The idea is rife for conflict
and possible failure.
Um... thank you.
- Makes for the
juiciest kind of story.
Well, I'm glad you like it.
- Can you get me
some pages in a week?
- - Yeah! I can
make that happen.
- Well, fantastic.
I'm sure I can get
a larger company to
sign off for the sample
and possibly swing
you a cash advance.
- That sounds...
really fantastic.
- I look forward to
reading your pages.
Good night.
[Crickets chirping]
[Upbeat music]
Hey, Alison.
Have your order right here.
Two chais?
- I'm working with
some new people.
Trying to make a
good impression.
- Can never go
wrong with cronuts.
You got that right. Bye.
[Door clunks, bell jingles]
- Okay, okay.
- It's a big deal.
[Luis and Seb continue
chatting indistinctly]
- You got this, Alison!
He is just a chef.
They're normally the ones
who are afraid of you.
- May I help you?
- Hi, yeah. Um...
I was wondering if you could
talk to me for a minute?
- We're closed. Come
back at dining hours.
- You're Seb Reynaldo, right?
- Who's asking?
Me. I'm an aspiring chef.
And you brought me cronuts?
Yeah! And a chai latte.
- Cronuts are a
ridiculous hybrid,
but I actually love this place.
- It's the best.
- I guess I could answer a few questions.
- Word on the street is
you need a sous chef.
- Where exactly
did you hear that?
Restaurant people talk.
- They do. So much so, I feel
like I should know who you are.
- No, hear her out. We still
do indeed need a sous chef.
You got a resume, then?
- Yeah, of course. Um...
but I didn't bring it.
- So, you're an aspiring chef,
who apparently wants a job here,
and you brought me
cronuts but no resume?
Well, the cronuts are magical.
- Look, no offence, you
don't look like a sous chef.
- And what does a
sous chef look like?
- Well, for starters, they
never have a manicure,
and they never hang at bars
until it's closing time.
Okay, so now you recognize me?
- I thought I'd give you a chance
to say your peace with no judgment.
- Oh, that's funny, 'cause I felt
kinda judged since I walked in here.
- You know, maybe the
drinks were a mistake.
They obviously gave
you the confidence
to walk in here
and waste my time.
- Hey, look, before you
dismiss me completely,
I just have to
know if it's true?
- Is what true?
- That you've never had a woman working in your kitchen?
- People might talk, but it
doesn't mean what they say is true.
Well, is it?
- I've trained three
women up from sous chef,
and once they get up to
the chef role, I lose 'em.
They're so in demand, I can hardly
keep one longer than a month.
Well, I didn't know that.
- This is the most loyal
guy you're ever gonna meet,
but it has been a year
since we had a woman here.
But we can't keep losing people
when we're just starting out.
- Yeah, I got into all
this 'cause of my mother.
And she's the one who taught me
that the kitchen is a sacred place.
Just takes some time
for me to trust someone.
Why don't you give me a shot?
It probably can't hurt for PR
to have a new woman
behind the scenes.
What do you have to lose?
Only my whole restaurant.
Where was the last
place you worked?
- Look, I respect how
things got to my plate,
that someone caught
or grew that food,
and someone else transported it.
That food journeyed to me.
So, how lucky am I to get
to experience something
that took so much
effort to get there?
- Very lucky, indeed.
- Hmm.
- I wanna be a part
of that journey.
Every night in your kitchen.
I figuratively packed
my bags for this,
so, here I am!
Just a humble sous chef,
standing before a master.
Ticket in hand.
Okay, you're hired.
- Yes!
- As a trial, for tonight only.
You start now. It's
inventory time.
Yes, chef.
- And I might hit you up for
some social media copy...
- sometime.
- I'd love that.
- [Hand thumps on counter]
- Let's go!
[Laughs] We're running
behind already.
Ch-ch-ch, okay.
Bin A, 50% capacity,
Bin B, 25% capacity.
The rest could go another week.
Then we have the fruits and
veggies, meat, fishes, all...
- Sorry, could you... slow
down just a little bit?
- Thought you were ready
to be part of the process?
I am.
- Okay. Look, Bins A
through E are the dry goods,
then we have the
fruits and veggies,
and meats, fish, all
of that, in the cooler.
Days across, okay,
and we do inventory check
at the top of every morning.
All the trash goes in here.
- Got it?
- Yeah, I think I'm keeping up.
Let's keep going then. Okay.
Actually, wait...
What do you mean, wait?
- There's gotta be a
way to waste less food.
Do you have a donation system?
- Look, I hate waste too, but
Chicago Food Safety is no joke, okay?
I can't risk getting cited.
- Well, some community
kitchens will take food
even if it expires that day.
- Well, that'll be
your first task.
But on your own time.
No rest for the wicked.
- You got that right.
This is a kitchen.
And there are systems
in place for a reason.
If you don't like that,
go somewhere else.
- Did women like
working for you?
- It's not about like,
it's about the work.
Luis and I ate in more than one
community kitchen growing up.
So, thanks for taking that on.
- I already finished the
cooler inventory for the day,
so you can take your
coat off. Let's go.
Are we going somewhere?
[Courage by Whitney Pea]
- I can't believe
I've never been here.
I come here every two weeks.
There's so many vendors.
- Carl!
- Hey, Seb!
- It's been a minute!
- I know.
Hey, how was the opening?
- It was... something to
remember, that's for sure.
Now, what have you
got for me this week?
- Oh, tomatoes.
You can't beat 'em.
It's the juiciest
time of the year.
- I see.
- And who's this?
- Nice to meet ya.
- You too.
- New sous chef.
For a day, anyway.
Gotta see how Ali
can slice and dice.
- I can slice and dice 'em,
and I can also ice 'em.
What does that even mean?
I don't know, sorry.
- [Scoffs]
- Here you go.
They're lovely.
- Right?
- Mm!
You're right, my friend,
these are magnificent.
You got at least 80 back there?
- Sure do!
- Great!
Now, can I get a delivery
tomorrow morning?
- Absolutely. 10:00 a.m.?
- Sounds good.
- You got it.
- Nice to meet you.
Good luck.
- If you wanna know what a city loves,
you gotta go to the farmer's market.
- Well, what's your
impression of Chicago so far?
- I used to live
here a long time ago.
It's definitely different now.
How so?
- Ah, you know,
everything's evolving.
But the people here,
they love authenticity,
which I respect.
And also, don't mess with
anything they already know.
Huh, I guess I learned
that the hard way.
- Well, maybe people need to be
a little more open to change.
Yeah, I agree.
You hungry?
- Always.
- Come on.
I love this place.
You have to get the
fully loaded dog.
- There's nothin' better than a
Chicago dog with all the fixings.
Can we get two?
Thank you.
You can keep the change.
Lemme know what you think.
So good.
- See. I get why that
critic was so hard on me.
I mean, I'm not the only
Puerto Rican joint in town.
You know, Chicago is one of the best
Puerto Rican food hubs in the country.
That's why I came back.
- Not only that, Chicago's one
of the best cities in the world.
I mean, the food scene here
has always been competitive.
- Well, have you ever
been to San Juan?
I can't say that I have.
- So then, the jury
still has to be out.
[Chuckles] But, I
mean, you're right,
you know, the food
competition here is fierce.
And if I wanna be the
best chef out there,
I have to be judged
accordingly. It's only fair.
- Well, maybe you should've been
judged on the whole picture.
- Yeah, but jibaritos
are what Chicagoans know.
It makes sense to be
just judged on that.
- Well, I think if you keep
cookin' from the heart,
people can't help
but fall in love.
- I guess we'll just
have to wait and see.
[Chuckles] We've got one
more stop after this.
- Thank you very much,
and here's your change.
Have a good one!
Hey, you!
- Hey, Sophia. Uh,
this is Alison.
- Hi, nice to meet you.
- Hey, Sophia.
- Oh, you make me
miss the kitchen.
- Well, I guess the
kitchen misses you.
[Chuckles] But the
stand, it looks amazing.
- And we just added
two more farmers.
So, what are you making today?
- I was thinking about opening with a
beautiful pineapple salad for the sofrito.
- Oh, well then, you've
come to the right place.
- You mind if I taste a few?
- Go for it.
Everything smells amazing.
- Thank you.
- What's your favourite?
I would go with the mint.
It looks so good.
- Now what would you recommend
for a pineapple salad?
Why don't you ask your friend?
- [Chuckles]
- My sous chef?
- Well, it's nice to have
another woman in the role.
Watch out for John
when he has a knife.
- Well, hopefully
she's not the last,
but all you women leave me
for your own endeavours.
- Well, you're just
too good at your job,
and in return, that
makes us even better.
- I'm not planning
on going anywhere.
Okay. So, which one?
We got the mint,
basil, and the parsley.
- Well, the mint feels too
obvious with pineapple.
I've had that combo before.
Yeah, me too.
Let's try the parsley.
- The parsley is great.
- Mm-hmm.
I don't think that will work.
- Now, that basil is
particularly good.
I mean, the notes are just
right, it's not overwhelming.
- Is that a pepper finish?
- Yes, it is!
That's exactly what
I was going for.
I actually grew this one myself.
Well done.
Well, great.
Basil it is, then.
We'll take that one.
Yeah. Thanks, Sophia.
[Light music]
Looks like you're
enjoying yourself.
- Yeah. Everything
here looks so good.
Especially the
herbs are so fresh.
- I know. Let's check
out the parsley, here.
- How does it smell?
- Oh.
- Sorry!
- No, I'm sorry. Yeah, you can go, it's fine.
Oh, that's really nice.
- Yeah.
- That'd be so good with some flank steak.
- Yeah, I think I'll ask
Jeff for a few of these.
- Yeah.
- How're the onions?
I think there's some
better ones over there.
- Wanna follow me here?
- Yeah.
[Birds chirping]
All right, moment of truth.
[Cutting board thumps]
[Knife clangs] Show
me whatcha got.
Oh! Oh!
- What was that last
spot you said you worked?
This is my first spot.
[Annoyed chuckle]
- You gotta be kidding me.
- I'm a fast learner.
Sweetly Salted was right.
I mean, this place is gonna sink
if we can't master the basics.
How can we master the basics with
a sous chef who can't even dice?
- Look... why don't
you demonstrate?
- You came in here claiming
that you were a sous chef.
I'm not here to teach beginners.
That's fair.
Why don't you hire
one of the sous chefs
that's lined up
outside your door?
All right, look.
First off, your
non-dominant hand,
tuck in your fingers. No one's
bleeding out in my kitchen.
Does that happen a lot?
- Not here, but kitchens
injuries happen all the time.
Which is why I can't
believe I let you in here.
Either can I.
I'm committed to this.
- Your non-dominant hand
controls the size of the slice.
All right, you move
faster for thin slices.
Slower for thick slices.
Now, your knife hand,
you move it continuously
in the same direction.
It's all in the wrist.
As long as the blade
is sharp, you're good.
- Wanna try?
- Yeah.
- Um...
- You can't show the kitchen fear.
Just... just follow
your instincts. Here.
[Soft music]
Okay, yeah. Now, it's musical.
You gotta find the beat.
All right.
Okay now, keep going,
let's see if you got it.
Now turn it over.
- Yeah.
- There you go.
Is it like...
- Okay, yeah, slow.
- Right.
- Slowly yeah, just so
you can get through that.
Down. Just like that.
Here, like that.
Who's the mal carne?
Who you calling mal carne?
Every newbie gets that title.
It's just kitchen speak.
- May I remind you that we're
all indeed still gentlemen?
- And ladies.
- And... and ladies.
- Personally, only
reason I work for you
is 'cause I just
love to be myself.
- Okay.
- Charming.
- All right, let's change it
up for a few moments, shall we?
- Yes, chef. What's
the plan for tonight?
- The plan is sofrito. We got
a lot of tomatoes to be diced.
Gimme the knife.
You have to go now.
What do you mean?
Chef's still hard as nails.
- I'm sorry, is
this your kitchen?
- Experience beats
wit, and I promise you,
we've got both.
- Look, there's a place for
everyone in the kitchen,
but not if you're not ready.
- Well, I came here to
learn, so let me show you.
You're not ready. Okay?
You're just gonna be
daytime help for now.
- But...
- Please!
Chef's rules. It's the only
way the kitchen can function.
I'll see you tomorrow.
[Soft music]
[Dance music plays on phone]
I wanna do it all
before I hit the wall
[Seb]: It's musical.
So when the sunrise
and the night falls
I believe many fly
but few are called
So when the sunrise
and the night falls
I believe many fly
but few are called
[Seb]: You have
to find the beat.
I believe many fly
but few are called
I wanna do it all
before I hit the wall
And only God knows when
the summer rain falls
But I know where I've been
and I know what I've got
I'm just trying to find a
place where the rain is hot
But I know where I've been
and I know what I've got
I'm just trying to find a
place where the rain is hot
It's kind of cold when
the night falls still
But when the sun
starts to shine
You find the way
you feel change
Something different
straight maxin'
On the wild west coast
the peaks are so relaxing
[Alison]: When I first
started writing about a food,
it was all I could think about.
But the first time
I got to offer
renowned chef Seb
Reynaldo my opinion,
I had to think hard to
remember when I first noticed
when I could identify
different tastes.
As a food writer,
I know a certain taste
can move heaven and earth.
The answer should literally
be on the tip of my tongue.
But Seb will do that to you.
Catch you off-guard, make
you question yourself,
and surprise you, all at once.
He wants to make himself better,
and in the mere
presence of his company,
you, in turn, will want
to rise to the occasion.
So when the sunrise
and the night falls
I believe many fly
but few are called
So when the sunrise
and the night falls
I believe many fly
but few are called
I wanna do it all
before I hit the wall
Only God knows when
the summer rain falls
- You're up early. What's
the latest experiment?
That's it?
So much chopping.
Because I... wasn't ready.
For what?
- Turns out, for
a lot of things.
All right, Alison.
I hope you feel ready soon.
[Door clicks open]
[Door clunks closed]
[Soft music]
[Door clicks open and closed]
- Hey, Ali. You're not
due in for a while.
- I've got big plantain
dreams and basic skills.
Seb said if I wanted to
start a food waste program,
I'd have to do it
on my own time.
Well, I got news for ya...
When you work in the restaurant biz,
all your time becomes restaurant time.
So I hear!
You're here bright
and early too?
- Yeah, it's because
I'm still not sure
how to pull us outta
this downswing.
Dinner service was
slow as mud yesterday.
- Well, I'm sorry that
you had to start here
when Seb's not at his best.
- Well, he's doing a pretty
good job of hiding it.
Why don't you guys
do a two-for-one,
or a cocktail special,
or happy hour?
- Yeah, Seb would hate all that.
He thinks discounts
cheapen the concept.
I agree, we at least
need a happy hour.
- Chicagoans love a deal.
- Who doesn't?
Chicagoans also love a cronut!
Oh... ply me with cronuts.
[Chuckles] Thank you.
[Jazz music]
[Woman vocalizing]
[Think Twice by
The Ponderosas]
- Ooh... someone's
been practising.
Yeah, well... I needed it.
- I'm impressed. It's
only been 24 hours.
Time is money, right?
- You put in the food
donation system already?
- Told you I was
committed to this.
Can I show you one more thing?
How much did you
spend on all this?
Don't worry about it.
- I never met a sous chef who
isn't worried about money.
- You can pay me back when the place
gets a little more off the ground.
No, no, I'll pay you tonight.
I'm not one for unsettled debts.
I'm also not great
at saying thank you.
But... seriously, thank you.
- I'm just glad I could
find a way to help.
[Soft music]
All right um...
Hey, you have the
energy to stay?
I'd love to!
- Well, just know,
if you get in my way,
it's not my fault
if you get hurt.
Copy that.
[Upbeat jazz music plays]
Ooh, nice choice, chef.
- All right, John, tonight
you'll be on meat prep.
Tony, you'll be on the
sides. And tonight,
Ali will be joining us on
the pineapple salad prep.
- Still can't believe
you caved, man.
All right.
- Careful, mal carne, or
I'll put you on dish duty.
- Ali has earned her
spot here tonight.
As a trial.
But she deserves
to have no jury.
Is that understood, John?
- Yes, chef. I'll do
your dishes anytime.
- Welcome to the
symphony of chaos.
Just expect the unexpected.
You'll do just fine.
- It's not a bad night. We've
got a guaranteed 20 covers.
Could be better.
- Look, I mean, sometimes if
you just build it, they'll come.
- Or the kitchen staff
continues to eat like kings.
- One man's fortune can be
another man's pain, John.
Ain't that the truth.
They'll come, chef.
I believe that.
- And if they don't come,
we'll just keep building.
- Can't keep building with
a negative balance sheet.
Okay, let's get to work.
[Alison]: That
night, I got burned,
literally and figuratively.
My feet hurt so badly,
I felt like I had
run a marathon.
But the chef kept us on track.
He was the captain of the ship,
righting his mates
when we were wrong,
steering us in the
right direction,
ensuring our work
was presentable,
and that food was
delivered right on time.
[Upbeat music continues]
A steady stream of
classic records,
everything from jazz to
The Kinks got us through.
So did the adrenaline
of my first service.
Things never did pick-up
beyond our guaranteed 20-top.
Something I felt
personally responsible for.
The reason why, you will
soon know, dear reader.
Nevertheless, I was hooked.
I'm a kitchen addict,
and I might just be a
better person for it.
[Music ends]
[Crickets chirping]
[Alison's phone ringing]
Hey, slugger.
Hey, I miss you, champ.
Uh, it's batting cage
night. Where are you?
Ugh, I can't believe I forgot.
- You've just never
missed it. Ever.
I wanted to make sure you're
still alive over there.
- I know. It's just between
the kitchen and the book,
I have no idea what day it is.
It's cage day, baby!
Are you still gonna
be able to make it?
It's not as much fun without
having someone cheer you on.
I want to. I'm just...
totally beat.
- Okay. Uh, when
are you free next?
Friday... morning... early.
- I can do that!
- Okay.
That's how you do it, slugger!
- [Laughs]
- Yeah, buddy!
Now I feel extra bad.
I messed up.
At least you're
making new friends.
- You gotta give props
when props are due.
And I forgive you,
since you admit that
you're wrong. [Laughs]
- I'll bring the
snacks to the field.
- It's the least
that you could do.
- Hey, what's the
office hot gossip?
- Honestly, that it
sucks without you.
- There's gotta
be more than that.
- Hmm... nobody brings
good snacks anymore.
And Bob keeps asking
when you're stopping by.
Direct quote from
him, "I'm so alone."
Oh, Bob!
All right, well, I'll
see you on Friday.
Bright and early.
Looking forward to it!
Keep hittin' those
home runs, baby.
- It's a lot of fouls
right now, but...
hopefully I can
help get us there.
The restaurant.
It's the least I can do.
I mean, after what I did.
- As long as you are keeping
track of your own runs.
- [Chuckles]
- Please. I'm always keeping score.
Me too. I'll see you Friday.
Or I'm calling foul.
- I wouldn't miss
it for the world.
Okay, bye.
[Upbeat Latin music]
- You remember what
Ma used to say?
- "Definition of love
is cookin' with it."
- You think our
customers know that?
Know what?
- That we love 'em.
Every time we serve 'em.
- Ah, maybe not
yet, but they will.
Just wanna make her proud.
You have.
How do you know?
You brought us this far.
I didn't see these on
the inventory list.
Blame the supply chain crisis.
- We ordered these
for the opening
but they never came in time.
- So, plantain buns were
the plan the whole time?
- Of course! I mean, that's
how a jibarito is served.
Yeah. Learned the hard way.
Never depend on essential ingredients
to show up when you need 'em.
- That's chef's life. Always
be prepared to improvise.
- How're we gonna improvise
our way outta 200 plantains?
- Well, people will
still want jibaritos.
Let's cook some up, test it out, see if
it's ready to be put back on the menu.
- I'm never gonna turn
down your cooking.
- Do you want some
help with prep?
- Nah. This time, I need some
time alone with my kitchen.
Both of you buff
away. [Chuckles]
[Soft music]
- I just feel like I failed him twice.
- What do you mean?
- I should've been able to find
plantains somewhere in the city,
or at least gotten
them here quicker.
- I think he knows how
hard you're trying.
- There really is no trying in
restaurant work. It's do or die.
- That's a little
extreme, don't you think?
No, it's reality.
But the good news is, restaurant
people never hold grudges.
- Not even against their
worst enemies? [Door thumps]
- Now, if these jibaritos taste
anything like our mother's recipe,
they're gonna put
us back on the map!
- All right. Lemme
know what you think.
All right.
Mm! They're so good, brother!
- Yeah?
- Mm! - Really tasty. But...
But what?
I just...
I feel like there's
something missing.
See, I knew it.
- To this day, I
don't know why our mom
- never wrote down the recipe.
- I remember.
Yeah. That's it!
Our mom did used
to add cinnamon.
What do you mean
by, "you remember"?
I had some amazing ones,
a long time ago,
and I think that's what
was in them. Cinnamon.
- I thought our family was
the only ones who did that.
- Never had 'em like
that anywhere else.
Hey, I... I'll be right back.
Cool. And cilantro.
- To cut through the cinnamon.
- Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah? How about
two-for-one margaritas
if they order the jibaritos?
- Love that. And what
about a brunch special
with mimosas or
mojitos on Sundays?
- He's gonna hate that, but
I love that too. That...
- [Laughs]
- All right. How's that?
Here goes!
- Mm!
- Yeah?
- Mm-hmm.
- Now that...
That is perfection.
- I mean, we'll never
have enough customers
to get through all
these plantains but...
I think I can help with that.
Well, I'm all ears.
It's just gotta be something
else, other than food donations.
Yeah, ain't that the truth.
Of course. Just um...
trust me on this.
[Knife clacking]
[Light music]
[Phone ringing]
[Alison's phone ringing]
Olivia, hi!
- Love the first
pages, Miss Salty!
- Thank you.
- But some thoughts.
- Okay, shoot!
- Well, right now, the book is all about Seb.
I mean, your written
interactions with him, they're...
they're magical, they're
jumping off the page,
but I was also planning
on selling you.
- I don't know, Olivia. Um...
am I really that great a sale?
People don't know who I am.
- No. No matter what, we
need more of your voice.
The female perspective.
This industry is already
so male-dominated.
That's why everybody was
so excited about you.
What does the unmasked Sweetly
Salted truly wanna say?
It's hideous.
Excuse me?
Oh... sorry, no, I...
need a new outfit
for the book launch
and everything's just the same.
But not you! You are different!
I hope so.
- But we need to know
precisely who you are.
What is your perspective?
Right. Well, um...
I'm still trying
to figure that out.
- Look, Miss Sweetly, this offer
can't last forever,
so I'm gonna need you
to find your voice
sooner rather than later.
We get a precise
book budget each year
and I want you on
this year's roster.
Me too.
- Well, I'm glad we're
on the same page.
But if we're gonna make
a publishing schedule
and keep you in
this year's budget,
then we've only got about
a week left to make waves.
- Wow. Uh... I didn't realize
the deadline was quite so tight.
- Well, you're a news writer.
I figured you could handle it.
I can! I... I will.
- Good. Um, there's
also one more thing.
I know part of the pitch
was to keep you undercover,
but legal says that we
need clearance from Seb.
- He just needs to sign
a little release form.
I'll send it over
to you. And then...
ooh, bingo bongo,
we are in business.
Uh, bingo bongo.
Yeah! That's right.
Okay, talk soon,
and keep writing.
[Phone chimes and buzzes]
[Exhales deeply]
[Birds chirping]
- I can't believe I'm
awake before the sun's up.
[Motor rumbling]
- [Grunts]
- I'm almost getting used to it.
I never thought
I'd say this but...
I'd get up for the kitchen
as long as it asked.
- You and draft picks
are the only things
that make me rise and shine.
- Well, the kitchen
never sleeps.
- Hey, are we good?
I know I've been
kinda hard to reach lately.
You missed... cage night.
You haven't really texted much.
It's kinda hard to believe you're
still gonna be part of the team,
and there's a whole mess of softball
players who are counting on you.
I get it.
You're the one that told
me to swing for the fences.
Turns out swinging for the
fences is time consuming
and full of really
big deadlines.
- [Scoffs]
- If I had known that I'd be losing you as a friend,
maybe I wouldn't have been
such a good cheerleader.
Losing me as a friend?
You couldn't get rid
of me if you tried.
- We haven't really talked
much in the past few weeks
and I feel like I know
what's going on in your life,
I just don't really know
what's going on in mine.
You're right. I'm sorry.
Do you wanna talk about it now?
I dropped all of
these hints to Teddy
about grill night and he did
not pick up on a single one.
We've just been having
trouble communicating,
but we talked about
it, so it's all good.
- So, are you
gonna have one now?
Yeah! Yeah, this weekend.
Well... I'm rooting for Teddy
to grill like he's
never grilled before.
So... what's new
on the Seb front?
- Well, I need Seb
to sign a contract
so I can keep my book deal,
but I only have a week to do it.
Turns out I can't write the
story about going undercover
in Seb's kitchen
without Seb's approval.
Shoot, champ. That's a lot.
I mean, not to add to
the playoff pressure,
but are you coming
back to the paper?
- Ugh, I haven't even
thought about that.
Well, Lexi asked about you.
You should reach out.
- Well, at least I know that if
things go sideways at the office,
I can always make an honest
living in the kitchen.
- I do have to say, hard
work does look good on you.
- [Laughs]
- Thank you.
- So, how are you
gonna break it to him?
- [Exhales]
- I have no idea.
- Well, you just gotta...
keep your eye on the ball.
Easier said than done.
- So, are you
comin' to my party?
Of course, I'm coming!
Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
[Bat clangs on ball]
- We wouldn't be
eating this cost
if you told the shipper we
don't owe for late produce.
- It's bigger than
too many plantains.
We've been running in
the red for months now.
- You were supposed to always
have my back on this, okay?
You know that I'm better
with food than with money.
- I know that, but isn't it
better that you hear this from me
than from someone
else? [Sniggers]
All the onions.
[woman]: To slice a plantain,
go ahead and open it up,
like you would with a banana.
We're going to remove
it from its peel.
I'm going to go ahead and
slice this for frying.
I'm just going to make long
slices through the plantain.
You can make your slices as
thick or thin as you would like.
[Knife chopping]
I am gonna find your magic.
[No Exit by Noxinixon]
[woman]: And that is how
you slice a plantain.
- I like Ali, but we still
need a real sous chef.
- Look, I hate starting
over and meeting new people.
- Seb, you know she's
slowing us down.
- Yeah, but she'll
figure it out.
She's already come this far.
- Are you sure you're not
just enjoying the company?
She... she's all right.
- Ah, come on, I see
the way you smile
when you think about her. I
think she's more than all right.
- Okay.
- Just make sure you keep thinking
of the bottom line, all right?
Hey... promise.
- Oh!
- Hey!
Welcome to grill night.
- Thank you. It's
good to be here.
- Are you eating your peelings, or
is that a banana in your pocket?
- [Laughs]
- These are actually plantains.
- Oh! What are you
gonna do with them?
- A dessert that
I've been practising.
- I'm seriously so blown away
by your new cooking skills.
Thank you.
Honestly? Me too.
[Wine burbling]
Do you wanna see my
new skills in action?
Always. [Laughs]
- So, the plantain...
- Mm-hmm.
- it's harder to
peel than a banana,
so it helps if you score it.
[Knife scraping gently]
Then you peel it.
Easier said than done.
And then, the chopping.
And Sebastian taught me that
it's best to chop to the beat.
Thank you.
So, don't keep me in suspense.
Did Seb sign the contract?
Uh... I haven't told him yet.
- Ali! If you wanna
go from bench to ace,
- you have gotta tell him!
- There just...
hasn't been a good
time to tell him.
- You can't put your own
goals on hold for this guy.
- Don't self-sabotage.
- I'm not self-sabotaging.
Enough talk about biz tonight.
Can you help me
bring this out there?
Yeah, of course!
By the way, who's
coming tonight?
Oh, I don't know.
Some guys Teddy
knows through work.
All right!
Seb. Hi.
- Looks like tonight's
gonna be all right.
- Seb... Sebastian, I should
have put that together!
- Thank you.
- How do you all know each other?
These are Teddy's clients.
- New clients get the full
dinner party treatment.
- Something smells
amazing, by the way.
Hey, dinner's almost ready.
[Intriguing music]
Cool, cool, cool, cool!
Oh, here!
[Exhales sharply]
- Oh, all right if I
uh, play some tunes?
Let's get this party started!
Let's go.
So, what do we have here?
Hey, look at this.
- Okay, under no
circumstances whatsoever
can either of you
mention Sweetly Salted.
But it's your job.
- Yes, Teddy, it is,
uh... it's a long story.
How can I summarize?
Okay, basically my
job is now tenuous
and I'm currently working
undercover at Seb's restaurant
- so that I can write a book.
- Oh!
Why'd you not tell me this?
I can barely keep up myself!
- I hate keeping secrets from
clients. I'm a terrible liar!
Teddy, please!
- Just uh, pretend you have
access to the Cubs' playbook,
and you wouldn't
show the other team.
- I guess.
- And if you keep your mouth shut,
we'll let you in
on girls' gossip.
I do love girls' gossip.
And I love my grill master.
The grill master's back, baby!
- [Laughs]
- You guys are so weird.
Okay, Teddy, remember.
- Tonight, I'm just
one of the girls.
[Door opens and closes]
- So, what if I were to
print out the contract,
just for you to have? Tonight's
as good a night as any!
- I've had it printed for
days, it's just a matter of me
finding the courage to tell him.
- I do have to say, after
seeing you two in the same room,
there's something there.
It's-it's like the perfect
pitcher-catcher duo
- made in heaven.
- No, Jules, we are just co-workers.
And I'm a dishonest one at that.
- You are one of the most
earnest people that I know.
And you cannot deny
that chemistry.
[Easy jazz music plays]
Is he gonna hate me?
I mean, he's definitely
gonna hate me,
but for how long?
Forever? [Chuckles]
- He could never
hate you forever.
You're too charming.
[Oven timer beeps]
Ooh, my pigs are done.
So, let's just let these cool,
and then let's do this.
Let's do this!
[Luis and Jules
chatting indistinctly]
So, a night off.
That's kinda rare, huh?
- Yeah, weekends are super rare.
But we have big
business with Teddy,
so we couldn't say no.
Tony's the lead when I'm gone.
Oh. I bet he loves that.
- He lives for it.
- Cheers?
- Cheers!
This is kinda weird, right?
Seeing each other not at work?
I don't think it is.
- Uh... I... I didn't mean it
was weird, I just, I was...
I mean...
you look good not
in your chef's coat.
- Oh.
- You look... normal.
Thank you. Thanks...
I think.
I meant it as a compliment.
[Embarrassed chuckle] Can
I get you anything else?
- What's goin' on
with you tonight, Ali?
You seem a little different.
- Am I? Wh-what? No!
- At work, I mean, you usually have
a little bit of an edge, but...
tonight you're
being actually nice.
- Yeah. It's kinda
what I'm known for.
Okay! Food's ready.
- Ooh!
- Nice.
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
[Upbeat jazz music]
- I invited you to have
a little bit of fun, too.
You don't have to work this thing all night.
- I am having fun.
Jules, I feel like
I'm losing myself.
I've spent my whole life
honing this voice as a critic,
but now that I'm making food,
as well as eating
it, it's like...
I need to learn how to write
about it all over again.
- That sounds kinda
cool, actually.
Except Olivia called me out.
I still don't even
know what I wanna say.
Although, when I write
about Seb, the words flow.
- Hmm... well, I wonder
why that could be.
- Need help?
- Uh, yeah!
I'm just gonna... go ahead.
All right.
You brought some plantains over.
- Yeah, I'm working
on something new.
- I hope that's okay?
- Yeah, of course.
I mean, how are we gonna get through
all those plantains without some help?
Here, make yourself useful.
- I was so focused
on the jibaritos,
I never even thought
about dessert.
an extra scoop here, right?
[Chuckles softly]
It looks like you
had a good teacher.
- I did.
- Yeah? - I learned from the best.
Okay. Okay.
- One more.
- Yeah, a few here.
- Okay!
- Wow, I'm impressed.
Ground cinnamon, yes.
Easy there, tiger.
Ah, you learn quickly.
- Perfect. Ooh! Will
you do the honours?
I'd love to. Okay.
It's great!
Wait... is that...
Amaro and salt?
- Yeah, it is.
- Yeah.
You are a genius.
- Well, you're the
one who made it.
[Chuckles sweetly]
Look, uh... Ali, I'm sorry.
What are you sorry for?
- I should've trusted
you from the beginning.
- No, you were right
not to trust me.
- No, I wasn't. I mean, your
instincts have always been there,
and you've proven yourself,
time and time again.
Thank you.
I think I'm the one who
should be apologizing.
- Hold that thought. Let me serve
these before they melt on us.
You're a chef, not a server.
Well, you're not a comedian.
[Crickets chirping]
- I don't think
you're lost at all.
You don't?
You just let someone find out.
The uh... the bathroom?
- Uh, that way.
- That way.
- You should write about
how you went to work
for your mortal enemy, and
while you were working together,
you two fell madly in love.
I can't write about that.
Why? Because it's true?
Yes... it might be.
I know it's scary, Ali,
but I think it's the
best story of all.
- So, what? I'm
supposed to write about
how I fell for a chef
that I bold-faced lied to,
so that I could
get close to him,
just so that I
could write a book?
If I tell him the truth
about Sweetly Salted,
the story's over
before it even began.
- Seb says there's
a place for everyone
in the kitchen if
they've earned it,
but I haven't.
If the kitchen is
a pure experience,
then I'm the definition of evil.
- I knew you were never
really a sous chef.
- Seb, I'm so sorry.
- But... I didn't know
you were a liar, too.
You're fired. Obviously.
- Look, I can
explain everything.
- No, no, no, I've heard enough.
Thanks for a great evening.
[Alison's phone buzzes]
[Soft music]
Hey, Gavin.
[Indistinct chatter]
- Hey, Bob!
- Hey!
Brought some plantain bread.
Oh, wow!
Did you know that I used
to hate coming here?
No, I didn't know that.
- People can be cruel
gossips in this office.
Thanks. Never really my thing.
It's probably why I write obits.
In death you only
say the good things.
In life, you say the
good and the bad.
- Well, I've definitely
written a lot of bad.
Sometimes more than I should.
- But that's why I
always liked you.
You leave everything
on the page.
There's something
admirable about that.
- When you leave everything on
the page, people can get hurt.
- Jules told me you found something
you really loved while you were away.
Yeah. I think I did.
Happy for you.
- Just hope I didn't
also lose it forever.
Ali! I wanna know everything!
I don't know where to start.
- Well, people have been begging
for the column to come back.
- Really?
- Yeah, I'm not surprised.
You know, it was always popular.
- I guess everything
does come full circle.
And readers are fickle.
And I always thought
they'd come back
if you just laid
low for a while.
I can't stand the anticipation.
What are your pitches for
your triumphant return?
- [Laughs]
- Okay, I'm just gonna jump right in.
What do you think of an
Isla Dulce re-review?
- Hmm. Well, have we ever reviewed
the same restaurant twice?
- No, but I don't think
a Chicago Today columnist
has ever received as
much hate mail as I did.
I've also spent a ton of time
getting to know the place.
Pretty intimately, actually.
Hmm. I'm intrigued.
So, what are your thoughts now?
- It might just be the
best restaurant in Chicago.
- [Laughs]
- Juicy!
Okay, you know what?
Let's do it.
You've got the
green light from me.
- Thank you.
- Yeah. And Ali...
welcome back.
Oh, you sweet baby angel.
- I had to do something to
mark your first day back.
Out of the
ballpark. Thank you.
- Look, I'm really
glad that you're here,
but I'm also worried about you.
How are you holdin' up?
I really miss him.
- I know. Have you
cracked your angle yet?
No, not yet.
Think I just gotta free write.
It's not easy to say I'm sorry
without spelling
out "I'm sorry".
And it doesn't feel appropriate
for my first column back,
although that's exactly
what I need to say.
But it also doesn't
feel like enough.
- I feel you. You can
call me if you need me.
I will never sleep
thanks to this pie sugar.
- [Laughs]
- Thanks, pal.
My pleasure.
- Bye!
- Bye.
- Good night, Ali.
- Night.
[Alison]: Seb Reynaldo
is known as a hard-nosed,
shoot from the hip chef.
But he's a perfectionist
at his core.
Reynaldo is more feminine
than he'd ever acknowledge,
although after training several
female sous chefs successfully,
I know he'd take it
as a great compliment.
Influenced by his mother's kitchen,
he's a tough love kind of teacher.
He won't let you in
until he trusts you.
Then, and only then, will
he teach you his secrets.
And how lucky you are to
be one of his trusted few.
[The Keeper by Whitney Pea]
To get to see his
kitchen in action
is to experience a perfect
dance of order and chaos,
debauchery and
manners, hot and cold,
sweet and salty.
Reynaldo knows that the kitchen is
a sanctuary from out of this world.
What happens inside is unique to
those in the process of creation.
He knows it's a
place for everyone,
but only if you earn that place.
Because of his desire to make each night
in his kitchen better than the last,
Reynaldo is constantly
reinventing the classics.
His latest menu item is the
"Plantains Foster Fire."
It will bring back
memories of childhood,
but this frozen treat
is for adults only.
Laced not just with rum,
but also a touch of Amaro.
The kick of the foster will
cut straight to your heart,
while satisfying the most
discriminating of taste buds.
Grab your life jackets and plunge back
into the waters at the Isla Dulce,
because like any good oasis,
it's full of surprises.
[Assembly line rumbling]
[Soft music]
[Alison]: Thanks for teaching
me when to set things on fire.
I'm so sorry I never
told you it was me.
But sometimes I wonder if
it was always you, too?
Love, Sweetly Salted.
[Soft Latin music]
[Inaudible chatter]
[Alison's phone ringing]
[Phone ringing]
Hi, Olivia.
Tell me you have good news.
We haven't spoken.
- Oh! We all read
your column today,
and the whole team was chomping
at the bit to make you a star!
- Uh, there's nothing
else I can do.
- Please don't let this
man ruin your life.
- I wouldn't trade our time
together for the world.
Not even for a book deal.
- You're breaking
my heart, Alison.
Call me when you have the goods.
That's better.
[Intriguing music]
[Street traffic whooshing]
[Upbeat music]
- How does it feel to be back
in Chicago Today's spotlight?
- It really was such
a good column, Ali.
Thank you.
- I guess sometimes you do just
have to leave it all on the page.
- If someone wrote
that about me,
I wouldn't even
remember anything
that was ever said about me before
that day. [Cork pops loudly]
- Woo!
- That's a little
much, don't you think?
- I mean it! It was so
unbelievably romantic.
- It was our heaviest site
traffic day since the scandal.
- That's what you get when you
have a heavy hitter like Ali.
Well, the cat's outta the bag.
Here's to Sweetly Salted
and her genuine food
poetry of a column.
- Cheers!
- Cheers!
Thank you. This is so nice.
Dinner on me?
Where're we goin'?
- Hmm... to Isla
Dulce, of course!
At 8:00... tonight?
If it's okay with Ali.
Yeah, of course.
- Time to round
out the bases, kid!
This is your home run day.
[Upbeat Latin music]
It feels amazing in here.
- Hey! We didn't know if
we'd ever see you again.
I... owe you an apology.
- My brother's not the easiest,
and honestly, neither am I.
But your column was just so...
I mean, look at this place!
I mean, I didn't even
know how to... come here.
Honestly, it's really
good to see you, Ali.
Or should I call
you Miss Sweetly?
- Forever and
always, call me Ali.
What a night!
- Oh yeah, that's
every night lately.
Um, do you... guys
have a reservation?
Afraid not.
Uh, definitely our mistake.
- Don't worry about it. I
think I got a place for ya.
- I will sit anywhere if it means I get
to taste another Plantains Foster Fire.
- [Giggles]
- Come on! -
Did you know that ice
cream could get set ablaze?
I did actually.
- Honestly, still
news to me. Hmm.
[Indistinct chatter]
[Indistinct chatter]
I'll get it.
We are very excited
to have you here.
- Is Seb here tonight?
- Uh, not yet.
We're all working longer days.
But uh...
he might be by a
little bit later.
Good evening, ladies.
Cocktails on the
house from Luis.
- Delicious!
- Ooh!
- Would you like to
hear the specials
or does our
reputation precede us?
- Oh, you're looking
at the inventor
of the Plantain Foster Fire,
so I think she knows
what she wants.
Well, that was a team effort.
But we will start
with the jibaritos.
- Mm! My mouth has
been watering all day.
I'll be right back.
- You gotta tell us, what
makes the jibarito so special?
- Well, if I told you that,
I would have to kill you.
Compliments of the chef.
Oh! What's this?
So romantic!
Oh, my, Ali, if you don't hurry up
and open up the envelope, I will!
Is that the jibarito tip?
The original.
Welcome to Isla Dulce.
It's a pleasure to have such
lovely company this evening.
- No, the pleasure's ours.
- Oh, we can't wait for this experience.
- I knew you'd want
the Foster Fire,
but I'd never be so presumptuous as
to cook one for the master, so...
would you like to do the honors?
I'd love to.
Let's see it.
There's no salt.
I got your back.
Seb, um...
I'm sorry. About everything.
I'm not too salty about it.
- I think a part of me
always knew it was you.
Me too. Welcome home, Ali.
Another envelope.
That's your contract.
Now you can't come back home
until you finish your book.
Kitchen is for the biggest
dreamers out there.
Thank you.
- You helped make
my dreams a reality.
The least I could do is
help you do the same.
[Romantic music]
That was... sweet.