The heartbeat at the tip of the tongue (舌尖上的心跳) Chapter 18

“Genius” and “Devil”

“Mayer, tell her the rules. I do not wish to tell her the same thing twice.”

Jiang Qian Fan methodically slipped off the chef uniform, while walking out the door turned to Lin Ke Song and said: “Clean up the kitchen.”

Lin Ke Song looked at the work area, Jiang Qian Fan had left almost no trace behind, all the traces of egg smears, tomato juice were all left behind by her……

“Can he really not see?” Lin Ke Song looked towards Mayer, seriously doubting.

“He is not totally blind. He can sense light and the movements of people.”

“No wonder…… if he were totally blind, no matter what you said, I would not have believed he couldn’t see. Is he…… still a Michelin chef?”

“Of course. And those food critics’ praises for him now are higher than when he was younger. Probably because of the sight was weakened and leading to the sense of taste becoming keener. Also because of that, for any dish he tastes, his tongue will amplify any flaw exponentially.”

Lin Ke Song suddenly understood the reason why Jiang Qian Fan did not find any of the many snacks that she had brought him to taste good even if she thought they were snacks that she would never get tired of for twenty more years.

But even if her weren’t totally blind, but being able to reach such heights in this field…… he’s also a monster right?

Mayer looked at Lin Ke Song’s expression, smiled: “Ms Lin, the 18 year old Jiang Qian Fan may be a ‘genius’. But for the 28 year old him to be able to be as he is now, is because of a ‘devil’ like determination.”

Mayer told Lin Ke Song about Jiang Qian Fan As he showed her around to help her familiarise herself with the castle like villa.

Jiang Qian Fan made a name for himself when he was 18 years old, being the youngest chef in the food industry to receive a 3 Michelin star rating, not to mention the food industry was mainly dominated by French and Italian cuisine in Europe and America. He was like a dazzling meteor piercing through the horizons. Just as everyone thought that he was going to shine in this field, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and the place where the tumour was located was so risky to operate on, the doctors did not recommend surgery.

But the tumour was pressing on his optic nerve, causing him most of his sight.

Just as everyone was pitying him, and forgetting him, he was practicing day and night in that kitchen. Without his sense of sight, he could only depend on his sense of touch, smell, hearing and countless experiences of failure. 8 years later, when he reappeared in the food industry, his dishes surprised all. A perfect sensory experience without imperfection, he became the object of attraction all the gourmets flocked to.

And now, he was a legend in the food industry worldwide, every new dish that he produced will make many top chefs scramble to imitate, but there has never been a single person who was able to create the same taste as him.

“Little bun, have you ever looked closely at Mr Jiang’s hands?”

Lin Ke Song was embarrassed. Even though she has never come close to Jiang Qian Fan’s hands, but his fingers were were long and elegant, needless to say, while he was cooking, it was like a magic show.

“His hands have been cut by knives countless times. His wrists too have burn marks. What people see is his success and talent, no one has seen the price he has had to pay. So Little Bun, he has never needed anyone’s sympathy, but he deserves everyone’s respect.”

At this moment, Lin Ke Song was a little bit in awe of Jiang Qian Fan that ice block.

“Mr Jiang has never accepted students, but since you are going to learn from him, then I have to make a few rules clear to you. First, without Mr Jiang’s permission, you cannot touch his body.”

I know, he is a clean freak.

“Second, if Mr Jiang did not ask for it, you do not have to do anything for him. Including guiding him around.”

Alright, his sense of pride is still incredibly high……

“Third, Mr Jiang’s sense of hearing is very keen and he enjoys silence, so while you are staying here, surfing the net, listening to music, etc., please put on headphones, please do not make loud noises, even when you are on the phone. Please finish showering before 9 pm……”

“Wait! Mr Mayer…… you talk as if I’m going to stay here?” Lin Ke Song widened her eyes.

This villa is indeed huge, but it’s silently quiet and so clean until it’s too much, this kind of place does not suit her.

“You are not going to stay here? This place is a fair distance from New York, and Mr Jiang rises early, he may want to teach you something at any time, are you sure you are able to make it here on time?”

“……”

She really doesn’t want to stay here. There is no sense of humans here okay!

“Furthermore, since he has decided to teach you, he will treat you as strictly as he treats himself. So, he will not let you waste your time and energy in unnecessary things.”

Lin Ke Song was feeling worse and worse……

“Fourth, no matter what time, as long as you use the kitchen, you have to clear and clean up.”

What what, three points are not enough, that there actually needs to be a fourth one?

“Clean up the kitchen…… just how clean does it have to be?”

“As clean as the first time you set your eyes on it.”

Lin Ke Song was stunned silly, this work area could be used as a mirror, and the floors were so clean you could ice skate on them!

“Are you sure…… I thought that you guys hired a bunch of people to clean that kitchen up!”

“Bunch of people?” Mayer looked at Lin Ke Song with a you-must-be-kidding-me expression, “That kitchen has always been cleaned by Mr Jiang himself. Before he left, he said that he would leave the cleaning to you, meant that he trusted you.”

……this kind of trust was too much. She doesn’t even organise her room that well normally, how is she going to handle such a big kitchen?

“Fifth…..”

“Wait, there’s a fifth?” Lin Ke Song’s scalp was numbing up.

Mayer smiled, “I promise it’s the last point.”

“Alright, say it.”

Mayer’s vision sank down: “Ms Lin, you may not be an avid cook, and your life goal may not be to be a head chef, but trust me, for the time you will be with Mr Jiang, it will be an experience you will continuously look back on. Cherish it.”

I hope to……

No matter how you look at it, Jiang Qian Fan didn’t seem like a nice fella to hang out with ah!

“Do I really have to stay here?” Lin Ke Song had not given up on struggling to the last moment.

“If you wish to be exhausted to death every day, you can don’t stay here.” Mayer’s finger nodded in the air, bursting Lin Ke Song’s beautiful dream, “think about the competition’s prize. As long as you’re not an idiot, there is no problem getting into the top three places.”

Top three?

If she hadn’t remembered wrongly, the third prize was 30 000 USD! She’d have her school fees!

Lin Ke Song’s eyes was filled with hope for a moment.

Stay, then she’ll stay! What’s the big deal!

“That…… I would like to go back and grab some luggage, prepare a little. This should be possible right?”

“Of course you can. I’ll get the driver to send you home, and fetch you back at 8 pm sharp. No problem right?”

“No problem!”

And so, Lin Ke Song sat in a shiny black car with a name that she couldn’t pronounce, and was sent back to her uncle’s restaurant.

When she told her uncle that she had to temporarily move out, and at the same time stay with her mentor, her uncle was very worked up.

That night, Lin’s restaurant was actually closed for business, almost all of Uncle Lin Feng’s acquaintances and all the friends he knew were gathered here.

They actually opened liquor to celebrate. They were all ordinary Chinese restaurants operators or back kitchen staff, and took turns exhibiting their skills, a variety of dishes, from Cantonese to Sichuan to Shandong, it was the first time Lin Ke Song had seen a round table filled with all 8 of the major cuisines present.

“Ke Song! You have to learn properly ah! You must know that even though the Chinese cuisine is well known around the world, but here, is still where the foreigners dominate! Besides the Jiang Co. being the most prominent leaders of our Chinese cuisine, there is really no other formidable figure!”

Jiang Co.? Is it Jiang Qian Fan?

Lin Ke Song could not help perking her ears.

“Yeah ah! Mr Jiang is the only person who can totally defeat those cocky top European chefs! No matter if it were Chinese or Western cuisine, only he is able to make all those harsh food critics praise him like dominoes.”

“Most importantly, Jiang Co. have has always been committed to promoting Chinese food culture abroad. For example that food street that is in construction, it’s Jiang Co. that invested in that project. Mr Jiang even personally went back to china, and tasted different foods from different areas, wanting to bring the best tasting dishes to that food street. Even the mayor of new York is looking forward to it!”

Lin Ke Song was a little surprised, she has never thought that Jian Qian Fan’s reputation was this good among uncle and his friends.

“Ay, wait, Ke Song…… is your mentor by any chance Jiang Qian Fan?” her uncle suddenly asked.

Lin Ke Song was rooted to the ground. Before she joined the competition she had already promised, to not reveal who her mentor was.

“Enough! Old Lin! It’s not like you’ve never watched ‘Gourmet New York’, how can you not know the rules? Wait till the end and you’ll know who Ke Song’s mentor is!”

Good thing he uncle’s friend gave Lin Ke Song a way out.

But not long later, they were congratulating Lin Ke Song together, all they were saying was for Lin Ke Song to cherish this opportunity that they wish to get but will never get.

This time, apart from her uncle’s hopes, Lin Ke Song had to also carry all the other hopes of so many other uncles.

She felt like she was a scholar about to get on her bicycle to take the college entrance exams, and there were countless gazes filled with hope looking at her.

A small glass of white liquor enters her stomach, Lin Ke Song found it so spicy her tears flew out of her eyes, and she coughed so much her lungs felt like they were going to be spat out.

Everyone laughed loudly, and gave up on trying to chug Lin Ke Song with white liquor, and opened a few bottles of beer.

Lin Ke Song thought that she was sober, but the bowl was like a carousel on the table, her surroundings were moving around her.

At 8 at night, Jiang Qian Fan’s driver came to pick Lin Ke Song up. Lin Ke Song sat on the back seat and did not move at all, she only quietly smiled.

No one knew what she was looking at, and in her eyes, everyone was distorted like they were on the magic mirror. Her Uncle patted her shoulder, there was no response, and got her to drink half a cup of water, but she was still quietly laughing.

“Is this girl drunk? Ai…… shouldn’t have let her drunk Erguotou! Liquor then beer, probably made this girl dizzily drunk ah!”

They sincerely asked the driver to let Lin Ke Song sleep for another night, but one call from Mayer made everyone change their minds.

12 thoughts on “The heartbeat at the tip of the tongue (舌尖上的心跳) Chapter 18

    1. While I’m primarily Americanized, I’ve been to a few family gatherings where you’re expected to drink. It’s not so much about getting drunk, but alcohol is a must. I’ve never seen the pressure become too much, but if you refuse to drink you may get a few comments about you don’t know how to enjoy/have fun or maybe even a sentence about your manliness if you are male.

      I think it’s a combination of “going with the flow” of the atmosphere and being a gracious guest by not “shunning” what the host provides for you. There’s also a masculinity component if you’re a guy. Over doing it or drunkeness is frowned upon, but that could depend on the ethnic culture. (I’m not Chinese, but am Asian.)

      Like

    2. I also want to add that honestly, it’s not that different from going to a college dorm or apartment party (in the US), where people expect you to drink to have fun.

      Except, I’ve never actually witnessed anyone get drunk at these Asian celebrations. Can’t say the same for college parties…

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  1. Thanks for the update. I don’t think it will easy initially for LKS to work with JQF. But with her attitude she will be a winner.

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  2. haha all of LKS’s motivation came back upon the mention of USD prized money
    glad JQF still making the best of his life despite the brain tumor

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