It’s 5:30, and I realize in half an hour I’ll be slammed with customers. Before they all get here I need to unclog the toilets, take out the trash, refill the drink machine, and prep the hot dogs, corndogs and pretzels. Before I get a chance, someone orders some fucking nachos. Cook Serve Delicious 2 barely leaves me with time to breathe, and I love it.
If you have ever been even adjacent to a kitchen, Cook Serve Delicious 2 might be too close to life. This sequel to 2013’s Cook Serve Delicious tasks you with working an entire day as a chef in a restaurant. You’re not just taking orders and waiting for timers—you have to pay attention to specific requests and complete each action in the kitchen by typing the right letters on the keyboard. For instance, if a customer wants a hot dog on a pretzel bun with ketchup, mustard, chili, and onions, you have to know each letter that corresponds to those ingredients. At the end of your shift you’ll probably start memorizing them (Z, K, M, H, N, if you’re wondering). As you’re doing this, you’ll also have to handle taking out the trash, washing dishes, setting mouse traps, cleaning the pest light and prepping all your holding stations for rush hour, when you’ll completely bombarded with orders. The goal is to have a perfect service. Good luck.
Cook Serve Delicious 2 comes packed with a lot of new things that weren’t in the original. New foods? You got ‘em, from okonomiyaki to steamed mussels. New mechanics? Well, there’s the new Holding Stations, where you can prep hot foods for rush hour. Want to customize your restaurant? In Cook Serve Delicious 2, you have a choice between working shifts at restaurants with pre-set menus or building up your own restaurant. Each time you finish a shift you’ll earn decorative items that you can use in the restaurant you own. Even with these changes from the original, it maintains the same nerve-wracking, frenetic pace of trying to cook through an entire shift.
Despite how stressed Cook Serve Delicious 2 makes me, I don’t hate it. I actually find it quite exhilarating. What helps is that the food is beautiful. Don’t play this game while you’re hungry. I played a service while I waited for the curry I’d ordered for lunch to come and it was torture. I dove into practice mode for making ramen and that didn’t help at all.
It’s weird to recommend a game that makes me want to scream, but doing well in Cook Serve Delicious 2 feels like such an accomplishment that it washes away all my frustration. Even when I messed up, I felt like I was getting a better appreciation for the labor that goes into being a chef. If it’s anything like this game, running a restaurant is basically a miracle. I may never be a great chef, but I’m glad I got a taste of it (I’m sorry).