Word count: 1897
“You will make an appetiser that will whet appetites, an amazing main dish and a dessert that will make people reminisce over and over.”
And for 12 judges?
What kind of workload is this ah!
“the time allocated to you is 3 whole hours! Every dish will be scored by the judges, and the score you will get will be the average of the scores of the dishes! So, don’t think less of the importance of the appetiser or the dessert! Your appetiser, will set the opening stage of your standard of cooking! And the most important thing for the main dish is the experience! As for the appetiser at the end, it will be the lasting impression that you leave the judges! Any part that is messed up will affect your final score, maybe even putting you at the last rank! So please be cautious, and tread carefully!”
Annalise’s gaze swept past all the contestants, she revealed a secretive smile: “of course…… even though the stipulated time is 3 hours. Everyone should have guessed, that if the judges tasted all 3 dishes of every contestant, the amount of food consumed will be 3 times more than usual. So, the first person to finish preparing all 3 dishes will have their food sent to the judges first. Which is to say, the later you finish making your dishes, the wearier the judges’ taste buds will be. When a person is full, no matter what delicious food they taste, it will be scored a lot lower.”
Suddenly, no matter if it were the contestants or the audience, all their expressions turned nervous.
To make 12 portions of 3 different dishes of appetiser, main dish and dessert is already a very tense situation, on top of that, you need speed……
Lin Ke Song to a breath, and looked towards Jiang Qian Fan’s direction.
His expression was very calm, like the rough cliffs in the winds.
Lin Ke Song’s mind too, gradually calmed. The prompt to finish the competition early is actually the competing committee’s obstacle to every contestant.
She had seen it before in Jiang Qian Fan’s restaurant, that no matter the dish, they all probably went through hours of preparation. Some things, without time and effort, would not let one achieve the original result. A little change in the heat, will make a world of a difference to these judges who had countless experience in the fine dining industry.
Annalise lifted her hand and had a look at her watch: “Now, contestants, you have 40 minutes to visit the food warehouse, to pock all the ingredients you need! No matter if it’s the simplest salt, you must pick carefully. Because once the competition begins, going back to the food warehouse will waste your precious cooking time!”
In Lin Ke Song’s impression, Jiang Qian Fan had no dish that was more of a signature than the quail foie gras. That day in the back kitchen of polarlight, Lin Ke Song saw with her own eyes Jiang Qian Fan and Brody working together to produce the appetiser of jellied peas and shrimp, the main dish of quail foie gras and the final dessert of hawthorn ice cream.
She closed her eyes and listed each and every ingredient in her head.
She knew that she definitely couldn’t get flustered, no matter how tense the situation got, being methodical is the way of Jiang Qian Fan.
40 minutes was still nerve wrecking to the contestants.
When all the contestants rushed to the food warehouse, Lin Ke Song experienced what turmoil and chaos of war was.
A contestant from Mexico toppled a whole row of salad dressing, incurring complains from others.
It was obviously not the first time entering the food warehouse, the layout of the shelves didn’t even change, and there were still people who could not find what they wanted.
Even ShanSha, almost took someone else’s cart.
On the contrary, for Goto Nozomi, he only calmly and even unbothered gathered the things he needed.
And Viktor was very intentionally clear about what he needed, occasionally furrowing his eyebrows, looking at the labels on the sauce bottles. He was very clear that he couldn’t bring a pile of useless things back. Because when the competition starts, sifting through a pile of seasoning for a particular one would waste a lot of time.
Lin Ke Song arrived at the fresh meat section, seriously making sure of the texture of the pork, estimating the amount. Looking for fresh and lively shrimp. Using her finger to press the peas to make sure of their texture and freshness, even putting one in her mouth to confirm its flavour. She found foie gras that had already been cleaned and prepared, and placed an appropriately sized one in her basket, of course, she didn’t forget to prepare a few more. She meticulously discerned the colour of the liver, looking for the appropriate thickness.
At first, she was a little worried that she wouldn’t be able to find hawthorn, but she didn’t think that she’d actually be able to find them in the fruit shelves. She took one and placed it in her mouth, it was very fresh, the sour taste made her cheeks salivate, but there was a sweet aftertaste.
After making sure that all the ingredients were chosen, Lin Ke Song then pushed her cart out.
Following the clink of Annalise on the wine glass, all the contestants started moving like they were all part of a clockwork.
Lin Ke Song cleaned the pork skin and cut them into blocks of pieces, placing them in water, to season, and stew. Because there was a time constraint, she could do a slow cook, and could only use the pressure cooker.
Because there was a time constraint, she could not make stock on the spot, but she clearly remembered what the stock that was used at polarlights tasted like. She carefully performed taste correction on the stock, then adjusted the fire, and placed the quail into the stock to stew.
She started preparing the side dishes, and at the same time kept an eye on the quail in the stock.
The preparation for the hawthorn too, was a whole other process. She needed to carefully dig a hole in the middle of the hawthorn. And the creaminess of the ice cream was a part that needed great skill. Because there was no freezing done before in the freezer, Lin Ke Song could only depend on her experience and feeling to imagine the result after freezing. If the ice cream was diluted, when the hawthorn gets coated in a coat of red sugar, the ice cream will flow out. But if the ice cream was too thick, the judges will feel like they were biting on a piece of rock, and not a dessert that was unforgettable.
She needed to have everything covered, her thoughts clearer than ever before, a little wrong would negate everything.
“Oh…… heavens!” there was already a contestant who had messed up some part, cradling their head thinking about making up for it.
The contestant from Canada even cut their own finger, Annalise had to have a medic confirm if they were fit to continue in the competition.
There were even all sorts of oohs and ahs, slaps and bangs and sounds of something dropping on the floor or flipping over.
Even with all the chaos, Lin Ke Song did not register a single sound.
“she’s really organised, calculating every move and getting through every procedure well organised. It’s like she’s possessed by you.” Mayer said to Jiang Qian Fan from the side.
“En.” Jiang Qian Fan calmly responded.
Mayer laughed: “the contestant who cut themselves made you worried for a bit ba?”
“Worried about what?”
“Worried that they were Lin Ke Song.”
“I have no worries now, she is enjoying this process.”
When an hour of the competition had passed, Lin Ke Song put the ice cream filled hawthorn into the refrigerator for quick freezing.
Now, there were contestants who had finished making the appetiser and were plating.
This made the other contestants feel greatly pressured, there was even someone who dropped an almost done dish onto the floor.
The audience was affected by the tense atmosphere, many people clutching their fists for the contestant they were rooting for.
Uncle Lin too was gritting his teeth, both hands pressing into his thighs, afraid that Lin Ke Song too would make that kind of mistake.
“Don’t worry, Ke Song is very stable.” Song Yi Ran who was beside him patted the back of his hand.
“It feels like…… I’m the one who’s competing……”
And Lin Xiao Xue who was sitting beside Uncle Lin didn’t even dare to breathe.
She’d never thought of watching Lin Ke Song compete in the finals, but the words that Song Yi Ran had spoked to her made her very curious. Just what about the charm her cousin, Lin Ke Song, had, that made so many people support her?
And in this moment, she realised that her mood was actually pulled along by each and every move that Lin Ke Song made.
She could feel the seriousness of Lin Ke Song, even when she used a knife to split the peas, the sophistication and thought and the effort that she’d put in for the past few months.
She was different from most of the flustered contestants, for Lin Ke Song, even the littlest lift of her hand flowed with a kind of calm that embodied serenity.
She had no other excess movements, even the turns her body made were sleek and without lag.
Lin Xiao Xue stretched her neck, her heart was filled with a kind of anticipation. She hoped Lin Ke Song would win, and receive the final honours.
And many of the audience who had previously been enraptured by Viktor, were putting their attention on Lin Ke Song.
This girl seemed ordinary, but could always bring about some surprise. She conquered the difficult obstacle Viktor made for her, and even after going through the loss of the previous round, she was still unruffled.
No matter if it were the action of slicing butter, or the dexterous calm pan frying of the foie gras, Lin Ke Song made people experience an inexplicable elegance.
She stuffed the foie gras into the quail, and lightly pan fried the quail and wrapped it up in tin foil before placing it in the oven.
Then, like she hadn’t given it any thought, she started to formulate a sauce.
But the watching audience understood, that it wasn’t because she hadn’t given it thought, but it was because she had previously given serious deep thought, and she was now totally clear, knowing clearly what she was doing and what she needed to do.
Now, there was already a contestant who had finished making the main dish, and Lin Ke Song had only started making the red sugar that was to coat the hawthorn.
When Lin Ke Song retrieved the jellied shrimp from the fridge, there were already contestants who had risen their hands to indicate that they’d finished cooking the third dish.
At this time, 2 and a half hours of the competition had passed.
“really too impatient.” Mayer shook his head, “this could be a trap that the competition committee had set, to see if there were competitors who could not keep their cool.”