55 CH55: Gathering at the beach

    "I'm on a seafood diet.

    I see food. And I eat it."

    - Anonymous


    A couple of days ago, the Kang Company successfully ended one of their huge projects, collaborating with one of the banking companies in the country. It had been such a successful collaboration that there has already been news of future collaborations, which may bring profit to the company.

    To celebrate the success, the Company had decided to hold a gathering for all their staff. The venue for the place would be at the beach, hence, the gathering will be held on a Sunday.

    Although some of the top managements had arranged to order catering for the event, some of the departments decided to bring their own food as potluck. Some even suggested having a live cook during the event, which was unanimously agreed by everyone in the company.

    Delilah, Aubree and Howard were inside the meeting room on the HR floor. The three of them were about to hold a spontaneous meeting about the gathering. Howard had invited all HR employees to join them. While waiting, the three of them were having a chat, talking about the current events in the company.

    Howard, at that time, was wearing his usual loud clothing. His over-bright pink shirt was as pink as the flamingo with glittering curvy patterns of black and gold going from the front to the back of his shirt. His pants were brown and he had his hair combed to the side, showcasing his usual gold-rimmed glasses.

    Throughout the talk, Delilah and Aubree tried not to cringe visibly. It seems like the days that they had not met with Howard made them vulnerable to his gaudy clothing.

    A couple of minutes later, few of the HR employees had joined in, and that included Fawkes, Shazzy, Ally and Hailey. Fawkes immediately took his seat beside Delilah, poking her on the arm with his pen, which she ignored.

    Soon after, everyone from the HR had entered the meeting, leaving the office empty for now.

    The meeting room was soon filled with laughter and chatter as they happily talked about the gathering. They were excited to give out their own ideas on what to do and what kind of event they can do.

    Howard then began to clap his hand once, trying to get everyone's attention. And soon, everyone fell silent, as they turned to look at him.

    "Good afternoon, everyone. I'm sure that you all have received a memo from the office in regards to the gathering. But before I start on that, I would like you all to give yourself a round of applause for the things that we all have contributed to the project," Howard announced, looking very pleased. He then began to clap, followed by sounds of clappings and cheers from the other people in the room.

    Although not everyone was involved with the project, such as Delilah and Aubree, they too felt like they did their job as they too had helped the others with the project.

    Then the discussion began.

    Some voted to have games such as limbo at the beach and beach volleyball. Some voted to order in a food truck that sells food such as homemade burgers and hot dogs. There were so many suggestions that Aubree had to pull in the whiteboard and started listing out the suggestions on the board.

    Just then, Delilah raised up her hand and said out loud, "I'm going to volunteer myself to cook a dish for the event."

    Everyone turned to her, a question in their mind. What does she mean?

    "Someone did suggest a live cook, right?" she continued, tapping her finger on the table. "So, I will volunteer myself to cook a dish on behalf of the HR department."

    Howard frowned, confused. "Someone did?" he asked.

    Delilah pooh-poohed his confusion away. "Even if someone did not, I will suggest it. Because why not?" she said, shrugging.

    Ally, who had been texting with Isaac throughout the discussion, piped in. "Well, according to Isaac, the Finance department are also doing a small meeting of their own. And they do agree with the live cook. In fact, they also have a volunteer from their department to cook."

    Delilah immediately turned to Ally and gave her a thumbs-up. "Great!"

    Ally beamed with pleasure at the praise Delilah gave her, which surprised the latter since she never thought she would be happy from a single word.

    The meeting went for hours until it was time to go home. Although it was a long and unexpected meeting, everyone came out of the room, feeling satisfied and excited. They really could not wait for the gathering. Howard did mention to them that they should not go overboard since this was just a gathering. Not a big event like their end of the year event. And he had given Delilah a green light to buy things for her live cook and put it on the company's tab.

    At first, Delilah was like, wow, I can put my personal grocery in the tab too?

    Howard only gave her a look and commented, "The company could not afford your grocery bills."

    Delilah just pouted in answer.


    Two weeks later. The day of the big gathering.

    It was Sunday morning where the soft rays of the day brought warmth to the beach. It was not too hot with a little wind in the air that cools. The wind was soft too as the sea pushed towards the beach with a gentle wave.

    The General Affairs department had booked certain areas of the beach. They had to write a letter to the government, more specifically to the Home Affairs. And fortunately for them, it didn't take long to get their approval, as long as they follow certain rules and regulations.

    Other than the employees, there were also other people at the beach; mostly families.

    There were already few of the other employees from the company who had arrived at the beach. Probably to guide the catering to their area.

    Delilah was one of the few who had arrived early. This was because she wanted to get a parking spot that was near to the beach and also, it would give her time to set up her cooking area.

    At that moment, she had just parked her car and put it in a stop. She then went to the boot of her car and pulled a small moving cart from there. She placed it on the ground and turned again to place her large wok and two bags, filled with food ingredients and her cooking utensils on top of the moving cart.

    Once she brought her other personal belongings from the car and placed them on the moving cart, she pushed it towards their designated area.

    At their designated area, she saw that Aubree had already arrived. And what surprised her more was that there was also Firah.

    Pushing her cart near the tables where they had already set up for the live cooking, she put it on a brake and walked over to Firah, who was also walking towards her.

    They met up half-way and gave each other a hi-five. "Hey, it's been awhile!" Delilah exclaimed as she put her hands on her hips, smiling.

    Firah grinned back. "Yeah, Howard texted me the other, asking if I want to join so I was like, why not? So, here I am," she said, spreading her arms wide.

    Delilah laughed. "Well, it's great to see you here. You're staying for the whole event?" she asked while walking back to her moving cart.

    Firah followed behind her and answered, "Probably will since my husband is off playing a soccer game. So, with nothing to do, I'll just stay around."

    "I see. That's great! Then we can chat some more."

    "I heard that you'll be cooking. Need a helper?" Firah asked.

    "Sure, if you're volunteering."

    Firah grinned. "Great. I'll help!"

    Soon after, cars began to drift in the parking lot and more and more of the people from the company had arrived. Some also had set up their cooking area near Delilah's and there were some who had used the BBQ area and began to lit up the fire.

    While everyone was busy with their own duties, Matt had arrived with a couple of people from the top management. Howard was also with them.

    They went straight to the large canopy tent where the buffet table was set up and chairs were arranged for the employees to sit on. There were also a few chairs at the front of the tent, specifically for the top management.

    Once everyone had settled in, Mark began his speech, where he had thanked everyone for their hard work and contribution for the successful project. He talked about the comments and feedback he had received from the baking company and told everyone how he would like to conduct this gathering for a well done job.

    Everyone began to cheer and clapped once Matt was done with his speech. And soon, the feast finally began.

    Delilah was at her cooking area when Matt began his speech. She decided to stay because she has many things to prepare for her dish.

    For her dish, she decided to cook 'Sambal Squid' [1].

    Preheating her large wok on her portable stove, she poured a huge bowl filled of squids into the wok. She then covered the wok and waited for the water to drip out of the squids. Once done, she removed the excess water and placed the squids into an empty bowl. Turning back to the wok, she poured a bit of oil in and a healthy portion of 'sambal sauce' and began to whisk it around. With a light flick of her hand on the handle, she heat the sambal, bursting out a spicy yet sour fragrance from the wok. The fragrance soon spread, bringing people closer to get a whiff of the DEElicious smell.

    Delilah then added the squids into the wok and continued to stir-fry. With the addition of the squids, it was thought that it would bring a fishy smell to the fragrance, but rather, it did not. While the squids were cooking, she turned to Firah, who had helped slice the onions.

    Delilah poured the onions in the wok and mixed them all together nicely. It was then, a more enticing smell erupted from the wok, making nearby people drooling in anticipation. Once the 'sambal squid' was simmering nicely, she covered the wok with a wok cover.

    She left it for a few minutes, waiting for it to cook. So, while waiting, she sneaked in a bite from her fellow 'chef' who was cooking burgers and hotdogs next to her.

    Her fellow 'chef' aka Sam let out a small laugh as he caught Delilah sneakily grabbed two patties from his grill pan. Apparently, Sam was grilling burgers and hotdogs at the cooking area beside her and he was the 'representative' for the live cook on behalf of the Safety department. She then poured some hot sauce and ketchup all over her patties and ate them.

    Just as she was about to take a bite, she noticed Sam smiling at her, from the corner of her eyes.

    She laughed awkwardly, a bit embarrassed that she was caught sneaking two patties. She then pretended to pout and said, "It's just two patties. This won't make me fat, okay?"

    Sam laughed. "Haha, just take it. Take as much as you want. We still have a lot of patties here and also other foods."

    Delilah grinned. "Thanks!"

    InDEEd, this kind of gathering was exactly her cup of tea.


    [1] Squids that are cooked stir-fried in sambal sauce, which is spicy and sour. A delicacy popular in South East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
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