[Chef Head] Chef! - Alternate Season 3

On August 15, 2002 I received a curious email from a Bill Haverberg with his own ideas for what he thinks should have been done with Season 3 of Chef!

Below I present the email with Bill's own story ideas for Season 3.  It's quite good stuff - check it out!

Hi.. We just now on our local PBS station (which always seems to be stuck 10 years in the past...sigh) have had the Chef series air. Too bad there are so few episodes, and that the 3rd season wasn't up to the same quality as the first two. In fact, I was so greatly let down by season 3, that I actually wrote up an episode guide for the season I would have preferred. Perhaps you could add this to your website if you think its worth the effort.

There are a number of story arcs across the episodes, based on the first two seasons. The continuing stories are:

Episode Synopsis

1 A Seat in the Bedroom
Increasing popularity makes Gareth want to expand his restaurant to cash in, but a historic preservation committee blocks his attempt to add on to the Chateau, forcing him to choose between abandoning his plans or leaving his personal quarters there. Meanwhile, he is now so busy Janice persuades Gareth to allow Everton to manage the kitchen for 2 days a week. After this decision they make love.

2 I Hear America Calling
Everton has fully grown into his new role as kitchen manager, allowing Gareth and Janice to take a Holiday trip to New York City, to take in the great restaurants (a "working" vacation). While boarding, he goes on and on about the kitchens he will be able to visit, but is dismissive about Janice's itinery (Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Broadway shows, etc). On the Concorde, however, he gets in a shouting match with a well known but opinionated American restaurant critic, forcing the plane to turn back and leave him behind. While trying to salvage the remainder of their vacation in England, Gareth mulls over the prospect of starting a new cooking show "Cooking with Blackstock".

3 Brussells in White Wine Sauce
A row between european commissioners and the Agriculture and Fisheries department leaves Gareth in a lurch when a favorite food can no longer be imported. After a procession of ministers and departmental secretaries on "fact finding missions" to his restaurant tests his patience, he succeeds in getting the Chataeu excempted under the figleaf of it being a "working historic site" (This echoes back to episode one).

4 Fade to Blackstock
Success of his cooking show and other sidelines have made them wealthy under Janice's wise management, but now there is even less time for them to be together as Gareth is forced to break two separate dinner engagements with his wife. On the cooking show production lags due to Gareth's insistance on perfection, but he ultimately compromises in order to satisfy the time pressures of a television program. Janice announces at the very end that she is pregnant, after having listened to Gareth go on and on about his work day for 2 minutes without being able to interrupt.

5 Command Performance
Gareth spends a long, happy, and blissful weekend away with his wife. When he returns he is surprised when Everton tells him a royal has been having dinner at the Chataeu every week for the past month. Flustered by his not knowing this and alarmed he is losing touch with the kitchen, he spends more time there and picks an argument with Everton over a menu change. He then makes a fool of himself in the dining room when he suspects a diner of being a pavoratti stalking the royal. He ends up on the evening news, harassing a reporter who had come to confirm rumors that Blackstock was being considered for a knighthood.

6 The Rock Opera
A rare moment alone at home where Gareth and Janice warmly tell each other of childhood Christmas experiences is interrupted as a last minute Christmas gathering is arranged at the restaurant for a performing company. Gareth meets his match in a demanding diva who turns the place upside down, and in between shouting matches with the diva and her handlers tensions in the kitchen brings sharp rebukes as Gareth reminds everyone that those engaged in food service should never expect a normal holiday. He quits in disgust and only returns after some long soul searching alone with Janice. The diva comes back to apologize and gives Gareth some sound advice...that her fame prevents her from ever having quiet moments alone, which as an essentially private person is something she greatly prizes, leading her to react in public...but he can still claim his own privacy and his own life. This episode becomes a watershed moment for Gareth.

7 Farewell to the Anglais
Everton takes over the kitchen full time as Sir Gareth and Lady Janice depart to simplify their lives by opening a much smaller restaurant in the country (a "hobby kitchen" as he describes it) with an attached cooking school. Gareth learns to let go as his frozen food line is expanded to selections he does not approve of, and Gareth and Janice rediscover each other through the birth of their son.

Episode plot elements:

Episode 1: Leaving his quarters starts Gareth on the twin paths of commercial success and separation from the kitchen both physically and emotionally (by realizing he cannot control everything). Everton's increasing role allows Gareth to commit to other projects and/or Janice but he must now make a decision on priorities. A third story element starts here which will end with the birth of their child.

Episode 2: With more time Gareth can go on vacation, but by making it a working vacation he sidelines Janice. His temper causes him to lose even this chance at relaxation. Nonetheless the two share some peaceful moments together in an improvised vacation. Meanwhile another professional opportunity tempts him.

Episode 3: A neutral episode, designed to restore some stability after the arc-heavy episodes 1 & 2 where several conflicting themes are introduced. Hints that Gareth may start to emotionally pull away from the kitchen when he sees just how little control he really has in the face of government officials.

Episode 4: The season's low point, punctuated at the end with Janice's pregnancy announcement. Evertons' continued competence and Janices' successful management of Gareth's career gives him more opportunities than ever before, but he only grabs the professional opportunities which feed his workaholic tendencies. His inability to absolutely control the television program and Everton's continued excellence at managing the kitchen without Gareth's direct supervision once again hammer at his controlling tendencies and sense of perfectionism, and professionally at least he is slowly learning to let go. The pregnancy is announced anticlimatically at the end almost as a denoumout, and we see Gareth's shocked expression just before the episode fades to black.

Episode 5: We (and Gareth and Janice) see what the relationship could develop into, making Gareth realize just how important Janice is to him. He quickly returns to old habits in the kitchen, however, when confronted with the unknown and his fear of losing control.

Episode 6: The diva, obviously, is Gareth some years hence if he continues down his workaholic/perfectionist path and the Dickensian "Christmas yet to come" theme plays into this (while the episode has a "Christmas Carol" subtext in Christmas past, present, and yet to come it is not played up to, and instead remains buried slightly below the surface: a thing to be discovered only by the attentive viewer. The only fixed clue is when Gareth brings up a Tiny Tim reference in the middle of his kitchen rant)*.

*bought to you by the SPCVBOPD (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Viewers by Blatently Overused Plot Devices).

Episode 7: It is no accident that this episode occurs in spring, the time of new beginnings, and it ties everything together: Everton's professional career continues to rise as he takes over the Chateau Anglais, and Gareth has gained enough trust to let go and no longer micromanage. He and Janice are awash in wealth from the commercial opportunities, and with his priorities straightened out, he escapes the grind of the kitchen for the slower pace of country life: puttering away in a country kitchen while his celebrity attracts a small but steady stream of guests.

Thanks again for your excellent work on behalf of the show.

Bill Haverberg
Minneapolis, MN