Unlocking my shouty inner chef in Cook, Serve Delicious! 2!!

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NOW PLAYING

In Now Playing articles PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today Emma whips the CSD!2!! kitchen into shape.

Everyone has an inner voice, whether they’d care to admit it or not. Recently, mine has taken on the shouty cadences of a celebrity chef and (much like my outer voice) utters a lot of expletives. I have an inner Gordon Ramsay, and Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is to blame. 

When I first downloaded CSD!2!!, I bounced off it quickly. Compared to the first game, it’s hard, and life is short enough even without games raising my blood pressure. But, thanks to a Netfl ix binge of Hell’s Kitchen, I’m back. Don’t enjoy trashy American pseudo-cooking shows? Here’s the nutshell version: a gaggle of pro chefs of mixed pedigree compete for the dubious honour of a job running a hotel grill in Vegas, endlessly cocking up as Ramsay yells at them and occasionally punches a tray of rubbery scallops. Nobody on the show can ever cook scallops. 

The similarities between game and show are uncanny: they’re both formulaic, involve a lot of culinary ineptitude and are as addictive as heavily salted french fries. “Just one more…” I’ll mutter, square-eyed, hours past my bedtime. After a series or two of Hell’s Kitchen, CSD!2!! becomes remarkably more fun. Like the chefs, I’m on a journey now. Sure, at first I’m fl ailing around like a squid that desperately doesn’t want to become calamari, but at least I’m not the chancer who, for their first signature dish, served up pasta sauce from a can. Instead of berating myself when I accidentally dispatch an undercooked funnel cake in my haste, I simply imagine Ramsay’s rage. “It’s [expletive] RAW in the [expletive] MIDDLE!” Suddenly, failure is funny—and at least he’s not sitting me down with a glass of Sauvignon blanc to literally eat my mistakes like he sometimes does on TV. 

[EXPLETIVE] FISH

After a while, things start to click. As I master the holding stations that store side dishes and precooked elements, I get faster. I panic less, acting less like a headless chicken. That said, I’m not perfect—with Ramsay’s yells ranging from the more minor, “OI! They ordered this omelette with [expletive] BACON!” through to the catastrophic, “Get over here! This isn’t salmon! It’s [expletive] MACKEREL!” Still, I’m slowly working my way towards black jacket status, at which point contestants swap the red or blue trim on their chef’s whites to denote they’re in the final. Okay, there may be (more than) one incident where I set the kitchen on fire, but I blaming the maitre d’ for bringing in too many order tickets at once. 

Then it happens. The glorious bait-and-switch moment where Ramsay doesn’t deliver a verbal hiding. I’ve just done a stint at Slammy’s Good Old Fashioned BBQ, and I think it might have gone well. Could I have managed zero errors? My inner Ramsay raises his voice: “EMMA! This brisket? It’s [expletive] perfect.” I only wish the game featured pan-seared scallops. Then I could really start to show off.