And The Winner Is…

The Grand prize in the Vanilla Bean Giveaway goes to Foodhuntress79 who wrote a wonderful short-story/mini movie – complete with music picks and illustration. [Big round of applause please!!] The picture of the vanilla bean and the knife forming a cross in the original post gave the talented Foodhuntress the sudden inspiration for this gothic saga starring our blogging ‘alter egoes’. What an incredible imagination and outstanding writing skills you have my dear! You have transported me to another dimension and your illustration has left me…speechless (scroll down to see what i mean).

She thought it was a little too ‘bloody’ and not relevant enough to the contest but in the eye of the Zen-man, originality and creativity wins high marks. It’s well-deserved i think. See for yourself and please show her some love. Thank you all for your participation!


By Foodhuntress79

(Overture: “See Who I Am” by Within Temptation)

There stood the castle of the Count Zen on top of the Silver Mountain. People everywhere believed that he hailed from an ancient aristocratic European family. Charming and terribly good looking – and above all, gifted with a great talent, Count Zen was famous for many lovers everywhere.

Then somewhere underground in the werewolves’ lair, was a notable Huntress. She thought the Count Zen was a chauvinistic gentleman with a large ego and she hated him for hunting down her tribe.

The Huntress had another story for Count Zen’s claim to aristocracy. The Big Bossman could feel his final days were almost over, and without a son, he treated his private chef , Zen, who was a mortal, like his own. It all happened on New Year’s Eve, and Big Bossman, under the spell of the champagne bubbles, felt that he has to pass on the vampire bloodline. With his natural, paternal fondness to the young chef, Big Bossman thought that Zen could be his successor. So before the strike of midnight, he bit his chef on the neck and died (as no vampire would).

Zen Chef chased the Foodhuntress with a cleaver for this.

The Huntress was among the werewolves, and Zen Chef, the vampires. The two groups will not mix together like oil and vinegar. But realizing that they had strengths different from the other, and, realizing that – they were both doomed anyway- the two decided to make peace – for culinary advantage.

So one hot dusk when the sun was a blazing red on the horizon, Count Zen called the Huntress.

ZC: I have a banquet tonight, huntress. I want you to do me a favor….
FH: I can’t… I’ve been to a brawl last night with the king’s slayers, I am badly wounded…
ZC: No, huntress, I will be in big trouble if I don’t do this…
FH: If anything happens to me…
ZC: If anything happens to you, I will be responsible…
FH: (Pushy brat)
FH: Hmmm… alright, what’s the favor.
ZC: Here. I want you to get me the precious vanilla pods from the Blog Forest.
FH: W-what? I’ve never been there! It’s dangerous! And with this condition…
ZC: Do it, darling. I’ll meet you at the forest clearing.


ZC was in a half- panic. He had a guest- the Emperor of the far Xian Zhing province from the Orient who heard of the Count’s reputation with food. The Emperor wanted to sample Count Zen’s creations specially with desserts, and, having a sweet tooth himself, sailed half of the world to the Count’s Castle. (He didn’t know, though, that the mysterious Count was a freakin’ vampire). The Emperor was also an internationally- known, infamous food critique. Barbaric and raw, he could behead a chef if that didn’t please him.

Count Zen couldn’t sleep at daytime for this. He went through ancient family cookbooks for recipes for the banquet. He didn’t know what dessert could please the Emperor. He couldn’t find the inspiration to create, either. Then from one of his servants, he heard that there was a legendary Vanilla Orchid in the nocturnal Blog Forest. The forest only appeared in the night time, and at daytime, there was hardly a trace of its existence. The Vanilla was known to tame the fiercest of creatures, one that could transform a dragon into a sheep. Count Zen thought this would be perfect for the Emperor. However, to get the precious pods, one has to undergo severe trials for it was guarded by the Knights of the Cross which was a holy order.

Count Zen knew only one person who could help him with this. He heard of the Food Huntress’s quick mind and art, and, despite her prowess with weapons, she was known to be submissive to orders. She won’t say no, Count Zen thought. And who cares if she dies…

The Huntress wasn’t in a very good mood that night. She was hit by a dagger yesterday at the brawl and was feeling terribly weak. But when she heard of the Count’s orders to go to the Blog Forest, she decided to go, but not to please him. Although she knew that it was dangerous, she was also aware that dying by the swords of the Knights would end her eternal doom, that, unlike other vampires and werewolves, she would die with a soul. On the other hand, going there tonight was not a suicidal thought. Her purpose was to simply get the bloody pods, give them to the count, and go home.

So standing there at the gates of the Blog Forest, she could smell the captivating, delicious scent of vanilla. This is the ultimate feeling, she thought. I could die here. Then slithering quietly, and in quick footsteps, she grabbed a handful of the beans, shoved them in the hunter’s bag, and – tried to – run! While her footwork was her greatest strength, it seemed to fail her this time, for there he was, a most vigilant Knight, who shot her at the leg with a sacred arrow. Still, the huntress ran with the last of her energy, the Knights, trailing a few meters behind.

Then from the dark, cloudy sky, came what seemed to be a winged creature, shadowed over her and swooped her down. It was the Count!

“Bloody hell, I can’t lose the precious pods,” he said under his breath, and disappeared in the night sky with the huntress in his arms.

(Background music: Softly… “Love Song for a Vampire” by Annie Lennox – hahahah)

Safe on the clearing, the Count pulled the arrow away and laid down the dying Huntress. From her mouth trickled some blood and she was just getting paler and colder.

“In the bag…,” she whispered. Then closed her eyes.

“F***k,” muttered Count Zen, panicking, shaking his dying companion. “You can’t die!”

As though vampires could really feel anything, he sat there by her side, crying without tears. At some point, what was important was to let the Huntress live- he didn’t care about the Emperor’s banquet. “I am a bloody, selfish dumb ass. I should’ve done this myself!” Then, in a moment, he held her one more time, “Je t’aime tres fort , ma cherie.” And kissed her on the mouth.

(Music shifts to: “Melt with You” by Modern English)

There goes that feeling. That inspiration for dessert. Sweet taste, a little salty, vanilla essence wafting in your nostrils, your heart closing. The vanilla kiss should be enclosed in a pastry, to give you that thrill of anticipation of what’s to come, what was in store. You break that resistance, and realize that it transforms you, and tames you.

Then, as soon as he thought he was frozen in that delightful trance – whack! – a hard blow crossed Count Zen’s face.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, you blood- sucking necrophile?! Get your hands off me!”

He can’t believe it! “You’re alive!” , he said, laughing, and held his friend back “dammit, you’re alive!”

Her face was surprisingly back with life- as if she just woke up- and the scratches and wounds were- all gone.

“Go back to the kitchen, chef. “
“Yes, I will! I will! If you come with me…. “

(Final music: “Ava Adore” by Smashing Pumpkins)

————— THE Bloody END ———–

Illustration by Food Huntress79. Ball pen and permanent marker on paper.

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  • Sofia

    GOSH! That was outstanding! I am totally moved and was on the edge of my seat the whole time! Love the music interludes. Congrats!

  • AzAzura

    That was amazing , I like it too!congratulations to foodhuntress. xo

  • Tartelette

    Wow..that was just beautiful to read!

  • Big Boys Oven

    we all stand up! clap****clap****clap***** bravo**** encho! encho!

  • Anali

    All hail the Foodhuntress!! That was quite a story! : )

  • waliz

    another good storyteller in the making..move aside zen!

    congratulations foodhuntress…u deserve the trophy and the vanilla beans…:D

  • A Z R A

    well done! well done! you deserve it!!!!! :)

    zen, more contest? 😛

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Bravo, foodhuntress! Genius!

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    Congratulations, foodhuntress!

  • foodhuntress79

    Thank you, Zen Chef’s readers- sofia, azazura, tartelette, big boys, anali, waliz, azra, chicken and waffles, susan, and everybody who dropped by and took time to read- thanks so much.

    Now I feel a little like Bill Watterson to Calvin and Hobbes.

    And of course I would like to thank the very charismatic Zen Chef for his zen- ness….I was a neophyte in the wild blog world and in spite of his Hollywood- star looks, sharp mind and great talent with food, he remains one of the nicest people around. See, instead of chopping my head off with a cleaver for whacking him on the face, he’s sending me vanilla giveaways…The huntress would definitely go to the “Blog Forest” for you, comrade. But a little over three hours of prose and a storybook drawing is only how far I can go for the precious vanilla beans.

    I will put my trophy on a fishbowl at our front door , and winning this event on my culinary CV. Hehe.

    I’ve never seen a blog page so alive with activities. Keep it up, chef.

    Again, thank you very much!

  • Colleen

    Very good.

    The picture was incredible. Good work FH.

    The contest was a very good idea.

  • Zen Chef

    Thank you all for your comments!
    We will do more contests soon…any suggestions? :-)

  • Zen Chef

    Thank you Foodhuntress!!
    You made me blush with your comment :-)

    I think the Zen-man actually enjoyed getting whacked in the face by the huntress. Does that make him a masochist with necrophiliac tendencies?

    No wonder therapists keep quitting on him! haha

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Oh my god, that’s unbelievably awesome,
    And that illustration just stole my heart!

  • Zen Chef

    Cindy! mine too :-)

  • Emiline

    Congrats Foodhuntress!

    I guess I got here a little late.

  • Mansi Desai

    wow, that was one heck of a story!!congrats foodhuntress:)