Two Baltimore restaurant owners went above and beyond to fulfill the request of a dying cancer patient.
Brandon Jones, 37, emailed Asian fusion restaurant Ekiben on Thursday for the recipe of its tempura broccoli dish. His mother-in-law had grown fond of it, according to the Washington Post.
The 72-year-old, who has reached the final stages of lung cancer, reportedly visits Ekiben whenever she goes to Baltimore.
During every visit, she only orders tempura broccoli, a dish topped with fresh herbs, red onion and rice vinegar.
Jones’ mother-in-law declared that if she could eat any dish on her deathbed, it would be the tempura 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!'” Jones’ wife Rina shared.
Jones planned on preparing the dish for his mother-in-law at her home in Vermont. He reached out to Ekiben co-owner Steve Chu, but instead of sharing the recipe for tempura broccoli, Chu offered to cook the dish in person.
‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?’” Jones replied in disbelief. “It’s a six-hour drive.”
“No problem. You tell us the date, time and location and we’ll be there,” Chu said.
Ekiben co-owner Ephrem Abebe and employee Joe Añonuevo joined Chu on Saturday. Working through the cold, the team crafted a mini kitchen in the back of their pickup truck. Once Abebe, Añonuevo and Chu were done cooking, they surprised Jones’ mother-in-law with tempura broccoli and tofu nuggets topped with spicy peanut sauce and roasted garlic.
Chu recognized Jones’ mother-in-law right away: “She loves the food and always made sure to tell us. She’s an amazing, sweet lady.”
Despite the sores in her mouth due to her condition, she was still able to eat her favorite dish, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Rina said the gesture made her and her mother cry afterward.
“They made so much food that she had it again the next day for lunch,” she said. “It’s something we’ll never forget — I’ll carry that positive memory with me, always.”