Word count: 2186
Coconut and Milk Candy
The audience who were watching the screen swallowed their saliva subconsciously.
Chief editor Winston of the judging panel closed his eyes, sending the sheep loin wrapped in asparagus into his mouth. His frown which had originally appeared because of the terrible food he had previously sampled, now slowly relaxed and smoothed out.
“This is truly a pleasure. The outside of the sheep loin is very crisp, but still quite fresh inside. The amount of rosemary and oregano used is also very clever. Asparagus is the crowning touch; it neither steals the aroma of the sliced sheep loin, and is instead very refreshing and adds to the overall taste. This has indeed been matched together perfectly.”
Winston gave a mark of 9.5. From this, it could be seen how satisfied he was with Viktor’s dish. As for David, the Food Association’s Chairman, had already finished the plate of sheep loin with asparagus in less than a minute. Scooping up the sauce at the bottom with a spoon, he said, “En, the sage has been used to get rid of the fishy smell of the sheep, and the vanilla brings a smoky sweetness to the sauce. There are also a small number of cloves, to break up the odour of the sheep loin. The use of the spices is ingenious, but the most important part is the appropriate dosage.”
David also gave 9.5.
This dish was given to 12 judges, and they could all barely find any flaws in it.
Viktor, who had fallen behind in the previous round, now passed the 9.4 mark and once again returned to the throne.
This undoubtedly gave Lin Ke Song a lot of pressure.
Her cuisine had not yet been tasted by the judges. However, with the genius Viktor before her, Lin Ke Song’s score would be more or less affected.
Lin Ke Song released a breath, then looked into the audience at Jiang Qian Fan.
His expression had not changed in the least, as if Viktor’s success did not affect him.
On the screen, her dishes were shown being placed in front of the judges.
Winston’s fingers moved slightly across the edge of the plate, as if he was carefully appreciating Lin Ke Song’s cuisine. He laughed, “This is only one of the dishes I have seen throughout this competition, but it is the most cleverly handled.”
He bowed his head slightly, then fanning his fingers, sniffed the food. “Hm…this is chicken liver. Before, many of the contestants chose to cover the odour of offal, but this dish allows me to smell the delicious aroma of chicken liver. The liver has been chopped and stir fried with mushrooms, then placed onto the bread. This method is based on the practice of fried foie gras, but at the same time, has been improved with innovation.”
For Winston to affirm the idea behind her cooking, Lin Ke Song felt slightly relieved.
Winston used a knife to gently slice the chicken liver into pieces, then nodded in satisfaction. “The chicken liver has been chopped, but it has been cooked carefully in the heat so it hasn’t been overdone and turned white. The smell of the liver is also very fresh. The originally fishy smell of the chicken liver has now been changed into a coveted fragrance.”
Winston lifted up a slice of the baked bread.
Everyone waited, wanting to see if mixing chicken liver with fried mushrooms was really delicious.
Winston slightly raised his chin, then nibbles slowly while chewing.
“The chicken liver was first marinated in rice wine and turmeric, along with thyme and basil. The fishy smell has been solved, and the fragrance is now more fresh. After carefully frying with butter, the scent of the gravy was successfully locked in. The frying is quite perfect. This contestant has thought quite carefully about adding the sauce to the chopped chicken liver and stir frying it with mushrooms. Therefore, the liver is not completely mature yet. The mushroom are fried first, then the chicken is added at the most suitable time. That’s why the chicken liver on this plate is tender and the mushrooms are very fresh. With such delicate control of the temperature, I find it hard to believe that this was not cooked by a professional chef.”
Winston praised the dish with everyone was curious about unreservedly.
Only after Winston had eaten the whole slice of bread did he sigh, “Unfortunately, this dish has a fatal mistake.”
Mistake? What mistake?
Lin Ke Song’s heart tightened, what did she do wrong? Obviously she had been so cautious about each step that she couldn’t be more careful!
“If the perfect saltiness is rated at ten, then the dish is a twelve. The rest of the dish has been prepared so carefully, so I don’t know if the taste of the contestant is not in the optimum state today, or whether they didn’t have to taste it themselves. It really is a pity…no, it must be said that it truly is a pity. If the level of salinity could be controlled, then it could be said that this dish would have completely exceeded the level of the sheep slice with asparagus just then.”
Lin Ke Song was at a loss. Exactly how did this happen? Ah, she had tasted the sauce of the chicken liver and mushroom dish herself! The salt was just right!
Her taste had always been quite accurate in line with normal standards, so how could it suddenly be so salty…
At that moment, everything suddenly became clear.
Because she had drank that extra salty water, her sensitivity to salt had been reduced.
The other eleven judges gave a high rating to the details of the dish, and even thought that it could be placed in a star restaurant as a signature appetizer. However, the imbalance of the salinity had become its biggest failure.
The chef of Yue Jiang, Han Bin, even held his forehead as if he completely didn’t understand, “Such an excellent grasp of detail, how could there be a mistake in the salinity?”
The dish had become the most disappointing once for the judges.
In the end, Lin Ke Song only received 8 points.
This caused her ranking to once again drop to second place, with Viktor placing ahead at first with a 0.9 point difference.
This 0.9 points could not be underestimated, as it was two completely different grades.
If she wanted to chase up, then Viktor would have to lose in the next round for that to happen. Otherwise, even if Lin Ke Song received a perfect 10 points, she would not be able to catch up to him as long as Viktor managed to maintain an average of 9 points.
Lin Ke Song closed her eyes, knowing that she had failed and had to bear it.
Viktor’s face regained a sunny smile, and the audience rose to applaud him.
She didn’t envy him, neither did she need the recognition of the whole world. It was only that this was the first time she had failed in front of Jiang Qian Fan.
She wanted to shut herself in, so that no one would see her while she cheered herself up quietly.
At the end of the competition, the contestants returned to the lounge to retrieve their bags and other belongings.
Shan Sha clung to Lin Ke Song and said in an envious tone, Ke Song, you’re really amazing! All the judges liked your cooking method!”
“But I made a mistake. Shan Sha, congratulations to you too. You scored high in the round.”
“Ah, but the top three are you, Goto and Viktor.” Shan Sha glanced at the happy Viktor then whispered, “Is it the salt water that caused the problem with your perception of taste? Just like it people eat chocolate first, they will no taste the sweetness of food.”
Lin Ke Song knew that was the problem, but didn’t know what had replaced her mineral water.
“It must be Viktor! He lost the last round to you, so he must’ve been upset!”
A Mexican contestant couldn’t help but speak after hearing the conversation between Shan Sha and Lin Ke Song. “Who else would do it other than him? Isn’t he always being catered for?”
Another Canadian contestant couldn’t help but say, “I’m not interested in what others say, but I think you should be careful about Viktor. After all, the last round is the final.”
Viktor had obviously heard everyone’s argument as he walked towards the door with his backpack. He raised his head, beared it for two seconds, then finally turned to face Lin Ke Song and said, “It’s true that I dislike you, but my skills are better than yours so I don’t need to borrow such methods to beat you.”
When he finished speaking, Viktor left.
Although everyone still thought Viktor was suspicious, Lin Ke Song had always thought that Viktor was just a very proud and arrogant man. If he wanted to beat her, Lin Ke Song didn’t believe that using the salt water was something a child like him could think up.
“Viktor has never walked near your seat.”
Goto threw this sentence from where he passed next to Lin Ke Song before leaving.
Lin Ke Song’s nerves seemed to be shocked for a second. That’s right, there was no problem when she first drank from the bottle of water. However, when she came back from the bathroom, the ordinary mineral water had changed to salt water. No matter how she thought about it, that had to be have been done by someone near her.
Lin Ke Song walked out of the lounge, and saw Jiang Qian Fan holding his cane. He seemed to have waited a long time for her.
Only when she had arrived with a lowered head in front of him, did he open his mouth and speak, “Although I wanted to wait for you in the car, I still wished to be together with you more.”
His hand stretched in her direction, grasping in the air. Lin Ke Song didn’t move, wanting very much to just pull him over.
She had thought that she would avoid him because of failure, but she realised that what she wanted the most was his presence by her side.
Jiang Qian Fan took a candy from his pocket and said, “For you to eat.”
“What is this?”
“My favourite candy when I was a child.”
“Are you comforting me?” Lin Ke Song laughed and opened the wrapping paper, placing the candy into her mouth.
The feeling of sweetness caused her to momentarily forget her disappointment.
“If you want to take it as comforting you, that’s also fine. I just think that there’s another taste on your tongue.”
Jiang Qian Fan’s voice was very smooth, but gave an impression of understanding everything.
“Why…why do you want there to be another taste on my tongue?” Did he know? How did her know?
“You don’t have a cold, and you said that you only ate ordinary white porridge with a few side dishes this morning. Your voice also doesn’t have any problems. If the dish you made had a mistake regarding the control of heat, then that would be normal. After all, you started studying cooking not long ago, so your level is not stable. However, all of the twelves judges said that it was too salty. That means it had to be your sense of taste that was the problem. So I thought, it was either you drank something too hot or you ate things that were too salty and hurt your taste buds.”
Jiang Qian Fan’s footsteps were unhurried. His words didn’t carry any meaning of blaming Lin Ke Song, but neither did he place the blame of her defeat completely on her loss of taste.
Everything in front of Jiang Qian Fan’s eyes was considered.
“I drank really salty mineral water.”
“Since it’s salty, it’s not mineral water.”
“Someone changed my mineral water into salt water when I went to the bathroom. Although everyone said that it was Viktor, but I don’t think it’s him. If anything…I doubt Shan Sha who has always shown goodwill to me. She was the one next to my seat when I wasn’t there, but I don’t want to doubt others……”
“Being suspicious of others is originally something negative. Since it’s like this, just let this pass. After all, the next round is the finals. Your interaction with her will end there in anyway. As it is now, itt’s better to focus your attention on your tongue.”
“Did you taste anything sweet?”
“Ah, of course!”
“There’s also a hint of vanilla.”
Lin Ke Song didn’t know why her mood suddenly relaxed. It was as if the door which had always been closed had finally opened.
“Yes, the most important reason why I gave you this candy is because the sweetness can cheer people up. I want you to be happy.”
Lin Ke Song’s lips lifted up.
Actually, what else could make me more happy then having you by my side?
Hope eveyone had a wonderful Lunar New Year ~