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03 April 2011 @ 12:21 pm
The Chairman's Speech [#038]  
Title: The Chairman's Speech [#038]
Fandom: Iron Chef (Japan), general
Characters: Takeshi Kaga, hints of different Iron Chefs and challengers
Prompt: 038. It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
Word Count: 678
Rating: PG [for a few words here and there]
Summary: The final day of Kitchen Stadium. Kaga reflects on his achievements.
Author's Notes: Sequel to The End is Near. Probably not the speech that is said before the winner of the final battle.

This is it. I never thought I’d be standing here, on this dais, looking back and forth between my Iron Chef of French cuisine and the challenger for the last time. It’s strange, because it just doesn’t feel like it’s my last time doing this. I’ve been doing this almost every week since 1993; but here I am, standing up here with my fancier attire on – the attire that I’ve worn for many special battles – and I’m about to announce who won the final battle in Kitchen Stadium history.

“You guys are like my family,” I say, trying not to cry, and I feel a tear trying to escape and run down my cheek. “For a little over seven years now, I’ve run Kitchen Stadium, hoping to taste exquisite dishes from chefs who have busted their ass all of their lives. I picked people who would step up to the plate and give me dishes that would be called nothing less than good. I think I have succeeded in doing so, and I thank all of you. Challengers, Iron Chefs… I want to thank you. From the bottom of my heart.”

I know I’m going to cry soon enough. This is not only emotionally crippling me, but it’s starting to be physical as well. I can feel myself getting short of breath, trying not to sob in front of all of these strangers, challengers, and my seven Iron Chefs (on my left, I can see Sakai looking at me; he’s starting to cry as well).

“Once again, I’d like to thank everyone on Fuji Television for showing the country of Japan pretty much everything about the art of cuisine. We’ve been through it all. I don’t know if we could have kept this going past 1999…” And it was right there that I began to snivel. This, I thought, was it. I had to keep going though. The tears were coming. “I’m sorry for crying on national television. I didn’t think this was going to happen…”

That came to a chorus of chuckles. Some people even applauded my courage and fortitude for doing something like this. Maybe this was a sign that – yes, even though they were behind my idea of closing Kitchen Stadium, they were still going to support me in my future endeavors.

I sniffled again, and decided to speak up again once the applause died down.

“From the first year I began this quest, I had picked only the best. Yes, the format was kind of… I don’t know… Strange for a program of this caliber back then, but once 1993 was behind us, this snowball effect came around. 1993 was the mountain to our molehill. Many of us thought that this show wasn’t going to stay strong. But it was everyone who pitched in and it was everyone who had faith, for God’s sake, who kept this show running.”

More applause. My God, was this speech taking forever? I didn’t care. I was going to go until Fuji fucking told me to stop. The producers were going to have to yank me off of the fucking stage to get me to name the winner.

“You guys raised this show up from the grave and you kept this show running. Guys, again. I love you, you’re awesome, and you’re the best damn chefs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my life. Kitchen Stadium, if opened again, will probably never be the same.”

My whole speech received a standing ovation for its efforts. The Iron Chefs stood up first, followed by Fukui-san and Hattori-san, then Ohta-san and the judges, followed by the influx of challengers that attended and every Tom, Dick, and Harry who paid to see the finale live. I smiled and nearly wanted to cry again.

I heard the producers in my ear, screaming at me that I was supposedly “taking too long” and asking for me to just name the winner of the final battle.

I cleared my throat, and once the audience settled down, I spoke up.

“And now, the verdict…”