Baltimore Chefs Drive 6 Hours to Make Woman's Last Meal


Inspiration | By Sabrina Crosby | March 20, 2021

Food isn’t just a bunch of crud we put in our stomachs so we don’t die. Food is a lifestyle. People based their entire personalities around what they eat and where they eat it. These people are known as foodies, and as long as good food is in front of them, they’re happy.

What is your favorite food? Is it something home cooked, or is it something from a restaurant? We all have our favorite dish, so in that way, we’re all foodies. That brings us to the very important question of, what would you eat for your last meal? Have you ever thought about something so dark?

Hopefully most people won’t have to worry about choosing their last meal on death row, but one day or another, death will come for all of us. If you knew it was coming, would you be able to pick your favorite meal? That’s what was able to happen for one dying woman who was able to eat her favorite meal before she passed.

It All Started with Asking for a Recipe

Brandon Jones is a 37 year old man from Maryland who had a long shot of an idea one day that he was actually able to pull off. His mother-in-law was suffering from lung cancer and was on her way out after stopping treatment. One of her favorite dishes was the tempura broccoli from a restaurant called Ekiben in Baltimore. Brandon Jones thought he could make his mother-in-law the recipe, so he emailed Steve Chu, one of the owners, to see if he would share it.

It’s a little risky asking a restaurant for their recipe. Restaurateurs might not be eager to share their secrets, but what happened was even more surprising. Steve Chu, an asian fusion chef, declined to share the recipe, and instead offered to meet up with Brandon Jones and his wife, Rina, to make it fresh.

The Ekiben Owners Agree to Drive Six Hours to Serve Their Dish

Brandon Jones couldn’t believe Steve Chu’s response. Jones told the Washington Post, “I emailed back, saying, ‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?’ It’s a six-hour drive.” Steve Chu doubled down, responding, “no problem. You tell us the date, time, and location and we’ll be there. Brandon Jones’ mother-in-law had been visiting Ekiben for years, always ordering the same dish: the tempura broccoli with red onion, rice vinegar, and herbs.

Her daughter, Rina, told the Washington Post: “She had always told us, ‘When I’m on my deathbed, I want to have that broccoli. 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!'" Just a week later, Ekiben owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe drove six hours to make good on their offer.

Being a Loyal Customer Pays Off

Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe set up their truck outside of Rina’s mom’s house and cooked straight out of the bed, fighting against the freezing conditions to get the heat levels right. They finished a tish of tofu nuggets with spicy peanut sauce, as well as the tempura broccoli, then they rang the doorbell. According to Rina, her mom couldn’t even comprehend. “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.”

You might be wondering what made Chu and his team want to do this. That’s because they remember her! Chu said, “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.”

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