Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
“As Master Chef Restaurant is the challenged restaurant, and as Head Chef Yuan was the one who had finished cooking first, we shall start the grading from the seafood alliance first,” said the host.
“That’s not bad. We can see how good the 28 restaurants actually are,” muttered someone.
While waiting for the result, the place became somewhat noisy. But Chef Li did not hear any of the noise. He could only hear the sound of his own heartbeats.
This was the first dish, also the start of his victory over Yuan Zhou if he was to eventually obtain the victory.
“I wonder how many points I’ll get,” Chef Li was nervous, as if his confidence from earlier had vanished. He stared at the judges as he waited.
“Judges, please raise your signboards and show the points you are giving this dish,” said the host.
That’s right. The points would be announced by raising boards. In order to give a visual impact during grading, two signboards had been provided to each of the judges.
Since Zhou Shijie and Zhang Yan had one additional point they could give each, they each had three signboards instead, one for one point, one for two points, and one for three points.
Naturally, Bai Xiaoxiao and Wang Xiang only had two signboards, one for one point and one for two points.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. The judges quickly raised their signboards with no hesitation.
Almost at the same time, the four raised their signboards. The makeup of each signboard was actually a long handle with a round board on top while the points were clearly written on the board.
“Alright, we can all see that all four judges have raised their signboards. All four have given the same points as well,” said the host.
“Judge Bai is giving the Hot and Numbing Mantis Shrimp one point. To the side, Judge Wang is giving one point as well. Even Chairman Zhou and Chairman Zhang are giving the dish one point as well. Looks like the judges are all very strict,” concluded the host.
When Chef Li heard that, he could feel the veins on his forehead stretched taut. That was truly quite a low number of points. Just as Chef Li was wondering why were Bai Xiaoxiao and Wang Xiang not giving him the maximum points, the host spoke.
“The red side, representative of the seafood alliance, Chef Li’s mantis shrimp obtains a total of four points. With the maximum being 10 points, this isn’t exactly high, but it is understandable since the judges are all very strict,” said the host comfortingly.
“True, that’s probably because Chairman Zhou and Chairman Zhang are very strict,” thought Chef Li who was slightly relieved.
“After all, the two are known for being strict. It is already good for them to give me one point each,” Chef Li comforted himself.
“Judge Bai, please share your thoughts on this dish,” said the host.
“Ok,” Bai Xiaoxiao felt somewhat awkward when he saw Chef Li’s fervent gaze on him. He coughed slightly before he spoke.
“For this dish, regardless of the flavor allocation or heat control, there are no problems whatsoever.” As usual, Bai Xiaoxiao started with praise.
The host did not interrupt. He waited for Bai Xiaoxiao to continue.
“However, Chef Li has forgotten that the essence of seafood is seafood, all the other condiments are only supporting characters. With the shell removed, the pleasure one can derive from personally removing the shell is gone,” said Bai Xiaoxiao seriously.
“Impossible!” This was Chef Li’s first reaction when he heard the comment.
“Doing unnecessary things, akin to drawing legs on a snake, an incomplete dish,” said Zhang Yan before the host could even ask him.
“Haha, looks like our judges are indeed very strict,” said the host, trying to laugh it off.
“Next, let us move on to the Bell Pepper Prawn,” said the host.
When the host saw that the mood was somewhat oppressive, he walked towards Yuan Zhou, evidently trying to ask for Yuan Zhou’s opinion.
“Are you feeling nervous, Head Chef Yuan? After all, the judges seem very strict this time,” asked the host before passing the microphone to Yuan Zhou.
Yuan Zhou glanced at the microphone and the crowd around before answering in a clear voice, “No.”
“Haha, looks like Head Chef Yuan is very confident about his cooking skills,” said the host with a smile.
“Confidence toward one’s own cooking skills is something a chef should have,” said Yuan Zhou seriously with a nod.
“Haha, good. Now then, let us see how many points the judges are going to give this dish,” said the host as he gestured at the judges.
“Damn it, I won’t ever accept jobs related to cooking matches in the future. It’s too scary,” thought the host.
It was indeed very scary. Earlier, he was trying to start a topic of conversation with Yuan Zhou, but somehow, Yuan Zhou managed to end the conversation when it had barely started.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Again, the signboards were raised uniformly and quickly. The only difference with the first time was that the signboards were raised even faster and with less hesitation this time.
“Judge Bai is giving two points. This is the maximum number of points,” the host started with Bai Xiaoxiao, commenting on the fact that Bai Xiaoxiao was giving this dish full marks.
But before long, the host no longer felt like saying anything, as all the other judges were giving full marks as well.
“So it turns out Judge Wang is giving two points as well, while Chairman Zhou and Chairman Zhang are giving three points each, the maximum they both can give. Looks like Head Chef Yuan’s reputation is indeed not in vain, obtaining the maximum number of points for the first dish,” praised the host with a smile.
“To conclude, Head Chef Yuan’s first dish, Bell Pepper Prawn, has obtained a total of 10 points,” said the host.
“Full marks? How is that possible?” Chef Li couldn’t help but exclaim in shock.
“Yeah, full marks? How is that possible?” Ao Pi was in disbelief as well.
The people from the seafood alliance started discussing among themselves, even the reporters in attendance started discussing among themselves as well.
Even with everyone engaging in their own discussions, that was nothing for the host compared to what he felt earlier.
A moment earlier, he had been claiming that the judges were very strict yet he had his face slapped immediately after since someone managed to obtain full marks from these “strict” judges.
“How stupid I must have been to accept this job. What in the world is that? I finally experienced what instant face-slapping feels like,” thought the host. Of course, he still maintained a professional smile on his face.
“Don’t worry, everyone. We are only at the first dish,” said the host as he placated the crowd.
“Yes, it’s only the first dish. There are six more dishes. Only the final points matter,” Ao Pi comforted himself.
Chef Li took a deep breath but he did not say anything. He wanted badly to question the judges, yet for the sake of the following dishes, he held himself back.
“Chairman Zhou, what are your thoughts on this dish that has obtained full marks?” asked the host.
This time, with great foresight, the host decided to steal a glance at Yuan Zhou. When he found that Yuan Zhou still had his emotionless deadpan face on, he decided to talk with Zhou Shijie instead.
One could say that this was a very flexible host.
“That dish is an authentic seafood dish, containing the “sea” factor of seafood loved by everyone, also containing the trademark spiciness of Sichuan Cuisine. The two were perfectly combined, resulting in a perfect dish,” praised Zhou Shijie, worthy of being a “Yuan bragger” as he directly used the term perfect on Yuan Zhou’s dish.
“Simply put, it is a flawless dish, hence the full marks,” concluded Zhang Yan.
“No, no, no, there is a fault. The portion is too small,” said Bai Xiaoxiao and Wang Xiang almost at the same time.