Bistro Morelli and the Tiger Chefs
My story takes place in Bellagio, a ritzy tourist destination on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, in 1880. This is the home of Bistro Morelli, a successful Italian restaurant run by ‘Papa’ Morelli, a jolly, aging chef and popular town figure. Morelli’s business is put in jeopardy as a popular franchise, Tigre Ristorante, opens across the street from him! Soon Morelli notices his clientele dwindling, and hatches a desperate plan to keep his business afloat.
Morelli has heard tales of an elusive herd of talking goats that live up high in the Alps, rumored to have magical goats milk that makes the finest cheese in all of Europe. Every chef who has attempted to milk the goats has met a terrible fate, but Morelli is in dire straights and will do anything to keep his ancient family business afloat, and magic cheese might just do the trick. He enlists the aid of his most loyal customer, Benito Cambio, a persnickety young bibliophile and curmudgeon, to help him find the herd of magic goats.
On their search for the goats, Morelli and Cambio have to evade the agents of the Tigre Ristorante franchise, all of whom are bengal tigers intent on retrieving the magical goat milk or devouring the goats in order to stop Morelli and Cambio! Mama Mia!
After reaching the magic goat herd, Morelli and Cambio strike a deal with the crafty animals, allowing regular shipments of magic goat milk in exchange for a constant supply of Sherry wine from Bistro Morelli’s private wine cellar and Benito Cambio’s complete Encyclopedia Britannica.
Alfredo Morelli: Age 57. A jolly and outgoing Italian chef, Morelli is renown for his pasta and risotto dishes. He is the owner and chef at Bistro Morelli, a business his family has run for over 100 years. He has a can-do attitude and a daring entrepreneurial sense. Morelli is also a lover of Spanish wine, and has a massive collection of Sherry under his restaurant.
Benito Cambio: Age 28. Cambio is a prominent scholar and author who writes extensively on Art History and dabbles in food criticism on the side. He eats at Bistro Morelli every day for dinner, and is extremely fussy and particular in his dining habits. Benito is a book lover, and has an extensive library in his house. His prize possession is his Encyclopedia Britannica. Benito is a social shut out and has a renown temper and knack for griping. His town nickname is Il Lamentano (The complainer).
Paolo Tigre: The evil tiger chef who threatens Morelli’s business with his new restaurant, Tigre Ristorante. Paolo Tigre is a cunning and brutal businessman and predator. He has a passion for the violin and plays regularly.
Tiger Waiters: Paolo’s minions. They serve food to his restaurant’s patrons and do his evil bidding on the side. The are as vicious as they are polite and organized.