“To me, it was a huge honour to be able to help fulfil the family’s wishes. This is about her, not us. There was a lot of good, positive energy in doing this," the man said
It all started when restaurant owner Steve Chu received a request from a customer's son-in-law who explained that his mother-in-law had terminal cancer, and asked if he could share the recipe of her favourite broccoli tempura entree so that he could make it for her at her home in Vermont. Chu, 30, who specializes in Asian fusion cuisine and is the co-owner of two Ekiben locations in Baltimore, decided instantly that he could do better, reported Washing Post.
Chu quickly replied with an alternative suggestion, “Thanks for reaching out. We’d like to meet you in Vermont and make it fresh for you," he wrote. The son-in-law, Brandon Jones, 37, was stunned. “I emailed back, saying, ‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right? It’s a six-hour drive. But Steve responded, ‘No problem. You tell us the date, time and location and we’ll be there,'" he recalled. Jones and his wife, Rina Jones, were preparing to visit her mother, who is in the final stages of lung cancer and has stopped treatment since her December diagnosis. Brandon just knew he had to prepare her favourite dish for her. “She loves that broccoli, and I really wanted her to have it one more time," he said. "She had always told us, ‘When I’m on my death bed, I want to have that broccoli,’ ” recalled Rina Jones, 38. “In fact, when I was packing on Friday to drive up to Vermont, I called my mom to see if she wanted us to bring anything special and she jokingly said, ‘tempura broccoli!’," she added, according to the Washington Post.
Chu told them that he would be happy to make the dish from scratch in Vermont on Saturday afternoon, Rina Jones said she was elated. “It’s just so above and beyond. It’s an incredible act of kindness," she said. The next day, Chu loaded his truck after work with a hot plate and a cooler filled with the ingredients for broccoli tempura and headed for Vermont with his business partner, Ephrem Abebe, and employee Joe Anonuevo. “To me, it was a huge honour to be able to help fulfil the family’s wishes. This is about her, not us. There was a lot of good, positive energy in doing this," Chu said.
Chu and his team pulled into the parking lot of the condo building and texted Rina Jones that they had arrived before they got to work. Once they made the dish, they neatly boxing everything up and knocked on their customer’s front door. “Go ahead and answer,” Rina Jones said she told her mother. “As soon as she opened the door, she recognized the aroma immediately. It smelled amazing," Brandon recalled. The woman also recognized Chu and his co-workers. “My mom kept saying, ‘I don’t understand — you drove all the way up here to cook for me? She was so happy and touched to have that broccoli. She couldn’t believe it," Rina recalled. The recognition was mutual, “We see a lot of people in the restaurant, but she always stood out. She loves the food and always made sure to tell us. She’s an amazing, sweet lady," Chu said, according to the Washington Post.
“My mom cried later about their generosity and so did I. They made so much food that she had it again the next day for lunch. It’s something we’ll never forget — I’ll carry that positive memory with me, always," Rina said. After the story became viral, people started were quick to make their way to Chu's restaurant. Chu however said that he is not looking for accolades. He explained that the request was such a simple one to grant that he couldn’t imagine not doing it. “She’s a lovely lady, who has showered us with love at our restaurant for years. It was a powerful experience, and I’m happy that we could make it happen," he said, according to the Washington Post.