ICRAB – Chapter 175 (1)
The wrinkles on Cai Mingkun's old face trembled, "What did you say? The judges said I lost?"
"Yes, teacher." The student's voice was low.
"Impossible, it's impossible! You just said that they didn't even taste it yet? How can you say that I lost if they didn't taste it? Could it be that the things I made are not even qualified to be tasted?" Cai Mingkun’s face went dark. This year's judges, had they received red envelopes? In the cooking competition, how could they say he lost without tasting the dishes?
Cai Mingkun's hands were shaking, "Who are the judges this year?" His attitude changed suddenly. When he thought that the judges had awarded him the victory, he was still complacent and took it for granted. But now that he lost, the judges instantly turned into red envelopes.
The students did not dare to distort any facts, and honestly said what he saw. He hesitated, but also told the judge's original words.
"What? A master made a move, and he defeated me with one move?"
"They said that only after he died and couldn't do snack anymore that could I become the number one snack chef again?"
"Does this mean that I can never surpass him!?"
Cai Mingkun became angrier the more he listened, and in the end he couldn't sit still at all. He originally wanted to go to the side for a tea break, but he couldn’t drink anything now.
Cai Mingkun threw his scarf on the cooking table, "Let's go, I have to go and see it myself. What kind of work will defeat me directly. If I can't say why, I will withdraw from this exchange competition!"
At the level of a master, there was actually no need to compete with the juniors for rankings. It was more to establish authority in the exchange meeting and even to help the juniors. As early as five or six years ago, Cai Mingkun was already recognized as the number one snack chef, and his participation in the exchange meeting in recent years had also given face to the Chef Association.
As long as Cai Mingkun’s picture hangs on the wall of a restaurant, their snack dishes would be a hit. He didn’t need to rely on the ranking of winning the competition to attract more diners and recognition from the circle. But today he was really so angry that he wanted to overturn the table and leave.
"Where is that person's work?" When Cai Mingkun went, the judges had moved to the adjacent cold dishes area for evaluation.
Cai Mingkun didn't have the face to chase after the judges, but after hearing from the students that he didn't know which works the judges liked, he wandered around the snack theme judging table.
Cai Mingkun had been immersed in snack making for many years, and his profound attainments were enough to serve as a judge. Many people's works were not perfect, and he could see at a glance the insufficiency and even the defects of the appearance. He turned and frowned.
"This dough is good, just by looking at it you can tell that it is very strong, but the soup base..." Cai Mingkun raised his chopsticks and frowned after smelling the taste, "There is still room for improvement."
"Roasted naan, the skin is golden brown and smells a bit of cumin. It should be an improved version, but compared to this, my peaches..." Cai Mingkun didn't go on, but the students next to him also realized it.
Baked naan and peach bun were obviously not the same style. The former was rustic and the latter was fine and delicate. If it was used as a test, the innovation and implication of the former was obviously slightly weaker, and it was impossible to surpass Cai Mingkun's techniques.
Cai Mingkun turned around, almost able to pick out some faults in the others’ works, so his brows became tighter and tighter. He could find obvious flaws in these works because his level was higher than these chefs. So, was his work considered inferior without tasting because the level of that work was far beyond his own? If such a high-level work really appeared, then he should be able to see it at a glance.
Cai Mingkun already had some guesses in his heart, but when he saw a dinner plate placed in an incubator at the corner, he still took a step back unconsciously, as if he had been punched. This group of snacks was not placed on the table, and was the only one still in the incubator. He didn't know if it was because of the staff's idea of protecting it, it was completely placed in an incubator, which was isolated from the outside air.
However, through the transparent glass, Cai Mingkun can still see a corner of it that was enough to shock his soul! "Four Happiness Dumplings... This is an ancient court recipe. He actually got such an ancient recipe."
Cai Mingkun saw that yellow, purple, pink, and green were brightly intertwined, perfectly laid out in four small dumplings in the south, east, north, and west direction. The shape alone felt impeccable. The meaning such ancient recipes could reproduce even went beyond innovation. But if that's all, he wouldn’t lose his balance until he didn’t even have the strength to resist.
In the incubator, there were things that stand like a mountain in it, so that Cai Mingkun couldn't compete at all. Crab-apple flowers. The long branches hang down, the flower buds were red and bright, like rouge, the petals were pink, and there seem to be butterflies flying from it.
"What a picture of Crab-apple flowers..." Cai Mingkun crashed directly into the display stand, his eyes full of shock. Fortunately, he was supported by his student in time and did not fall.
"Cold dishes have always been said to be elegant, but I didn't expect that I would be able to see them today, and the dough is like paintings!"
Cai Mingkun's outstretched hand only trembled, it seemed to weigh thousands of pounds, but he pointed to the past to explain to the students, "He used syrup to outline the vigorous branches, and then carved out the butterflies flying among the flowers, and this one, a crab-apple flower, golden and pink, overwhelms a branch, blooms and becomes a painting on the plate."
"Exquisitely beautiful, this is a masterpiece, a master's work!" Cai Mingkun's face swept away the previous anger and indignation. At this moment, he was only convinced, and even showed obvious respect.
"Who said snack can't be delicate?"
"Who said that Oriental chefs are extremely weak in plate setting?"
"Who said that a hundred years is enough to become a chef?"
Cai Mingkun shook his hands excitedly and opened the incubator in front of him. "Look, look, we have such exquisite masterpieces in the East, there is no end to learning and endless to cooking!"
Cai Mingkun's wrinkled face turned out to be much younger at this moment, "I lost. Although the peach bun was the food of the fairyland, I lost to this mortal crab-apple. This vivid and complete beauty, I am not as good as him!"
"I lost... I really don't need to taste it, just like this, I lost to this master."
"Liao Wei, help me to ask where this master is now, I want to visit him in person and sincerely apologize to him." Cai Mingkun grabbed his student and hurriedly rushed him to find someone, "If you, If you can't find him, ask the organizing committee."
(TN: If you didn’t realize until now, Cai Mingkun refer to Liu Weiwei as ‘he’ because he thought the chef that beat him is a man.)
The student nodded quickly, but just as he was about to leave, he caught a clear and intoxicating blue color out of the corner of his eyes. "Teacher, there is another work in the incubator!"
Cai Mingkun was stunned for a moment, and immediately smiled bitterly, "Yes, I forgot. You young people have a good memory." He was apparently too shocked until he forgot. But when his student respectfully took out a small plate inside, he even seemed to stop breathing at this moment.
The entire piece presenteda perfect egg-like oval, slanting over the dinner plate. Inside... a whole small world was closed!
"This is, this is the starry sky, blue sky, and the earth?" Cai Mingkun almost grabbed the plate in his student's hand. "This pure blue, gradually changing from light to dark, looks exactly the same as crystal glass, how did he do it?"
If it was said that the Four Happiness Dumplings and Crab-apple Flower Pastry in the front were higher than what Cai Mingkun could reach now, but he could still reach in the future, the last dish completely shattered his cooking concept.
"Teacher, does this also use flour? It's so clear and transparent, it's impossible to use flour, right?"
Cai Mingkun could no longer answer the students' questions. This dish transcended all his knowledge systems. If he were allowed to practice behind closed doors for ten years, he would never have been able to create such a vast work!
He really lost here. Cai Mingkun understood almost instantly. He now knew why the judges didn’t have to taste his dishes to judge the winner. If it was himself, he would never taste anyone else's dishes after the starry sky.
For such a piece of the sky to be able to enter the stomach, then it was an innovation of snack in the past 100 years. It was impossible to be defeated by any other pastry with current existing recipes!
Cai Mingkun stared at the starry sky, unable to return to his senses for a long time.
Meanwhile, Liu Weiwei was still introducing her man to the cooking method of this beautiful work.
"It's actually really easy. I used a needle to poke a small hole in the egg, slowly opened the shell a little, poured out the egg liquid, washed it and dried it."
"Then I put in the four-layer gradation of the interior scene one by one, the dark blue sky layer, the light blue sky layer, the milk as cloud layer in the middle, and the last red bean soil layer. I used pure water to steep butterfly flower tea that can also be used for dyeing, and seasoned each layer with honey. I put them in a pot and mix them well. The mixture was cooked on a low heat until it becomes thick and then poured into the empty egg shells in the order of colors. After all layer done, they were put in a freezer for cooling. After it’s all set, peel off the egg shell on the outside, sprinkle a little edible gold powder on top, and the dish become a sky full of stars.."
(TN: Imagine this but shaped like an egg.)
Liu Weiwei looked at the photos of her work. She was still very satisfied with the cooking results this time. "The point is that it's not too sweet. I'll make it again later for you to try."
Qin Mo didn’t like sweets. Liu Weiwei held Little Meat Bun and happily shared the fun of cooking with him.
Qin Mo also liked to listen to these now. He only thought that any information that came out from his young wife's pink lips was full of cuteness. "Okay. I'll hold Meat Bun, he's getting heavier."
"It's okay, I have muscles now~"
"Yes, it feels good."
This time, Liu Weiwei felt that it was worth it. Not only did Xiao Bai and Xiao Hei make progress, but even her relationship with the Major had reached a new level. And being able to see the level of other chefs in this world was obviously valuable. She enjoyed it.
After the game, Liu Weiwei ate another piece of cheesecake served with Americano to her heart's content. The slightly astringent bitterness was perfect for accompanying sweet dessert without the guilt of adding any calories. By the way, holding Little Meat Bun to exercise her biceps and increase calorie consumption was obviously perfect.
When Liu Weiwei saw that it was almost time for winner announcement, she returned to the hall. And then she found that the judges' table was in chaos. Many people crowded together, not knowing what they were discussing, their faces were red or they were helpless, and they were very excited.
Qin Mo was wearing sunglasses, like a bodyguard, he was guarding Liu Weiwei majestically. Meanwhile she held Little Meat Bun in front of her with a baby carrier.
"Is the result of the first test out yet?" Liu Weiwei asked at random. Coincidentally, the one she asked was also a female chef with beautiful hair but a little thin.
"It's already out, but... I can't squeeze in." The female chef smiled wryly, "I heard that there was a very powerful creation from the snack category and everyone was watching, but now the other can't squeeze in. The staff said they will put the results online later and suggest that we check it out ourselves.”
Liu Weiwei was stunned for a moment, "I see."
"That work defeated Master Cai. I heard that the chef is very young, but I don't know the specifics." The female chef was also quite gossipy.
Liu Weiwei vaguely remembered that her opponent seemed to be surnamed Cai.