The food critic:

Peering down from his thick rimmed glasses, his deep grey eyes surveyed the details of the dessert platter, the presentation was fine but something about the crème brulee seemed little out of place. Wiping his fine hands on his apron, he took another bite of the dessert, this time though it took him to promised heights of pleasure, the caramel crackled under gentle pressure, giving way to bursts of sweetness. His eyes closed in delight and his lips broke out into a satisfied smile, “this is what dessert should taste like”, he exclaimed “heaven in a cup”. This was Madhu’s first bakery and he was trembling in nervous anticipation about the unanticipated arrival of Ankit, a famous food critic. He was known to just drop into new stores and survey their sweet and savoury snacks.

Today was Madhu’s turn, Ankit said he happened to be in the neighbourhood and wanted to see Madhu’s bakery and its trappings. Madhu was ecstatic and got everyone to scurry up and get ship shape ready. He fired up the cylinders as Ankit carefully surveyed his kitchen. His kitchen was maintained well, the sparkling stainless-steel racks, the whisks, bowls etc were neatly placed. Small placards around the kitchen had strict quality guidelines. Ankit was impressed, this was just how a bakery should be, dedicated to cleanliness and quality. Ankit was known to make rather demanding requests, this time though he decided to stick to traditional sweets, a crème brulee accompanied by a cup of black coffee and a slice of freshly baked banana bread. Bananas were being mashed with no mercy, the rest of the ingredients made their way into the bowl, the chef though had a secret ingredient that made the humble looking banana bread into an award-winning dessert.

Ankit was seated at the table by the window, the tables were beautifully made covered with chequered blue cloth and on the table stood alone vase with a single rose. Salt and pepper shakers along with three tins of jam and marmalade were accompaniments to the vase. Ankit sat with twiddling thumbs, surveying the crowd and the attenders with a hawk like eye. He was curious to know if the bakery was running efficiently. Today was a particularly lackadaisical day, there was a thin stream of customers who occupied tables at random. They were mostly college kids who dropped by to discuss projects or simply to spend time with someone they adore. While Ankit was busy observing the scene around him, he was brought back to attention with the sharp aroma of the banana bread and piping hot black coffee. Without further ado, Ankit took a piece of the banana bread and was struck by the same delight that he encountered with the crème brulee. It was delightful and light. Ankit and Madhu exchanged happy glances, followed by a hug, Madhu was declared a winner, his bakery goods were indeed a delight. Ankit gave a friendly jab to Madhu, noticing how nervous he was. Madhu now more relaxed a smile of satisfaction lit up his eager face. They clicked a selfie together, the photo made its way to Ankit’s Instagram page .Ankit had a certain pride of being able to recreate recipes, he had bought the banana bread several times, yet every time he thought he had recreated the recipe he always felt it fell short of an ingredient!.

"Creativity takes courage"_ Henri Matisse