Word count: 3171
PK Of The Appetisers
LIn Ke Song too scooped a little spoonful of the sauce she made, and sent it into Jiang Qian Fan’s mouth.
“How is it? How is it?” she widened her eyes at him, her head was like a squirrel waiting for pine nuts to drop.
“En, take care of the veal bacon.” Jiang Qian Fan’s voice was as cold and clear as always, it was just that his lip line was more gentle than usual, letting Lin Ke Song know that at this point of time, he was in a very good mood.
LIn Ke Song neatly sliced the veal bacon into uniform sizes according to the lines on the meat.
Her expression looked focused and calm, not at all inferior to Jessica and Iris.
And Jiang Qian Fan had already begun prepping the turkey breasts at the side.
He chopped the breast meat into cubes, and mixed it with olive oil and other seasonings, and wrapped it up in plastic wrap for use later.
Each of the steps that they did made people puzzled about what was happening, it was like every single step had no connection to each other, but it was all done in an orderly manner.
Time passed, and the pressure came along with it.
There was still half an hour left, and both parties had to be done with all their appetisers.
60 portions of appetisers, with 3 varieties, and the main dish and dessert had to be taken care of too, this to an average chef was “an impossible task”.
But Jessica and Iris had already started plating. Their gestures were to everyone’s liking, allowing the judges on the other side of the glass will be filled with anticipation.
But Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song were still in “Progress”.
Jiang Qian Fan was pouring the sauce for the scallops, even when the time was catching up, his actions were still calm and steady.
Lin Ke Song plated the scallops, and sent them to the dining cart.
Then it was the little veal bacon, she took the veal bacon rolls out of the oven, and seared them on the frying pan with Jiang Qian Fan. Jiang Qian Fan was in charge of the seasoning, and Lin Ke Song was in charge of the heat.
Lin Ke Song only need to say “En” softly, and Jiang Qian Fan knew that she had already flipped the rolls.
Lin Ke Song had 20 plus portions of veal bacon rolls to sear, and Jiang Qian Fan needed to more than 1 kind of ingredient for seasoning.
This situation made the audience very nervous for them. After all, one was blind and the other was a newbie, will they crash under the pressure of time?
But 10 plus seconds passed, and the audience and the judges realised, Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song weren’t in chaos, but were like a duet playing the piano, even though the rhythm was fast, every note was played at the right time, and most importantly, this song was harmoniously happy.
Before plating, Lin Ke Song and Jiang Qian Fan both as usual gave the little veal bacon rolls and even all the side dishes a taste.
When Lin Ke Song cut the veal bacon rolls with a knife and was about to put it into her mouth, Jiang Qian Fan hooked her wrist, “don’t want your tongue anymore.”
“Ah! Oh!” Lin Ke Song blew on the veal bacon roll, and as she was about to send it into her mouth, Jiang Qian Fan stopped her again by giving her a knock on her head.
“Who is the head chef here?”
“You are!” Lin Ke Song hurriedly stuffed the little veal bacon roll into his mouth.
“En.” Jiang Qian Fan nodded.
Lin Ke song then immediately presented the spring roll over.
Jiang Qian Fan was in charge of frying the spring roll, while Lin Ke Song started plating.
Finally at 12 sharp, the appetisers were all ready and were sent to the judges’ dining table.
The plating of every dish was exquisite. Different from “the master’s show”, these dishes looked beautiful, attracting looks from eyes, whetting appetites greatly.
The judges all had expressions of cherishing, arranging their napkins, lifting their knife and forks, starting their tasting very seriously.
At this time, Winston moved to the audience seats. He smiled as he looked at Montgomery: “Dear chef Montgomery, do you too wish to taste these appetisers?”
Montgomery gave Winston a look: “if I said that I do wish so, would you let me eat?”
“Of course.” Winston smiled as he hummed, the staff pushed a cart to Montgomery, “I am very honoured to invite you to be today’s guest reviewer, to give comments of these 3 appetisers.”
Montgomery’s eyes lit up, he thrusted out his big belly, suddenly laughing out loud.
The first dish, was the Chinese spring rolls.
Montgomery first picked up Jessica’s and Iris’ spring rolls, and had a look: “En —— the overall plating looks like that of a high-class French restaurant. Very delicately shaped, only slightly thicker than my finger only. But this small spring roll has 2 problems. The first, the skin is too thin, even though it is easily fried crispy, it is also easily over fried. The second is whether there is sufficient filling.
No one wishes that when they bite down, they will only be able to eat the crispy skin without enough flavour to agitate the taste buds. But as it is now, the first point shouldn’t be a problem. Because the whole spring roll gives off a cheerful bright golden colour, not a single part of it is burnt.”
With that, Montgomery took a bite that produced the sound of a crunch.
He half tilted his head, and gave an expression: “Oh, it’s is too delicious! The freshness of the tender cucumber strips, the smoothness of the mushroom, and the fragrance of the shrimp, make people full of anticipation for the upcoming main dishes and appetisers. 3 kinds of sauces, the flavours of the vanilla cheese sauce, miso chilli sauce and lime liqueur seafood sauce are all really incredible! You must know, that the Chinese spring roll is Jiang Qian Fan’s signature dish, but Jessica and Iris have brought this dish to this point, you are in grave danger, Qian Fan!”
Everyone looked towards the other side of the glass wall.
But it was as if Jiang Qian FAn hadn’t heard anything and was stir frying something, while Lin Ke Song was beside adjusting the seasoning.
“How does the colour look?”
“Should be 80% cooked!”
Montgomery disappointedly shrugged his shoulders: “Forget it, forever never able to let them have a sense of urgency. Let me just try the spring roll he and Lin Ke Song made ba!”
The spring roll Jiang Qian FAn and Lin Ke Song made was normal sized, it didn’t look as exquisite as the one Jessica and Iris made, there was even one sauce only.
Montgomery picked the spring roll up, and held it to his eye to meticulously look at: “egg was put within the skin of the spring roll, so that when it’s fried, it will be this kind of eye-catching gold, even though this can increase the flavour of the skin, it is also a risky move. Once there is too much egg, it will make the skin very soft, and lose its flavour. But from this colour, no matter the heat of the frying or the ratio of the flour to the eggs, it is all very perfect. As expected of Jiang Qian Fan, forever ‘precise’. But, I hope that apart from precision, there will also be some surprises.”
With that, Montgomery took a bite, he started chewing, furrowing his brows as he chewed.
There were a total of 3 spring rolls on the plate, Montgomery dipped into a little sauce, and in front of the eyes of everyone, finished all three rolls.
“Hey, Chef Montgomery, don’t only eat, it’s about time you said something.”
“Alright ba, at times, the so-called ‘legendary’ fragrance, is because it has already been experienced by many people. Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke SOng’s spring roll is this kind of ‘legend’. The filling is fine slices of green bamboo shoots, mushrooms and pork, paired with the rich aroma of stir-fried garlic, the smooth freshness of the mushrooms, the crisp freshness of the green bamboo shoots and pork floss flavours are lifted, all the ratios of are just right. And there is a little vanilla flavour! The tartness and sweetness of this sauce, is controlled well, it is appetising and doesn’t make people feel sick. And there is also a green plum fragrance. Wait a minute, what is this slight numbing fragrance?”
Montgomery closed his eyes to meticulously taste the flavour, and smiled: “Ah, it’s pepper oil! It’s really a pure and rich chinese flavour ah! If we call the skin and filling of the spring roll ‘precision’, then this little but of pepper oil and sour plum sauce flavour is the surprise. Don’t know whose idea it was to put the pepper oil in? Qian Fan’s? Or Ke Song’s?”
Hearing this, Lin Ke Song who was plating the lamb chops smiled.
Winston laughed: “from Ke Song’s expression, the pepper oil should be her idea.”
“At times, us so called ‘great chefs’ are bound by our past experiences, and don’t know how to find a ‘surprise’ anymore.”
“Which is to say…… for the both parties spring roll, you, chef Montgomery favour…… Jiang Qian FAn’s and Lin Ke Song’s one?”
“Yes, even though i don’t know what the audience would think.”
“Alright ba, let us see the voting situation of the 22 judges of the spring roll. There are 9 who chose the 2 quentin chefs, and 13 who chose Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song. which means, for this spring roll dish, Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song are temporarily in the lead!”
Hearing this news, Lin Ke Song exhaled in relief. She was now fighting for the pan-fried striped bass.
But Lilth raised a brow.
Jessica lowered her voice saying: “focus. The spring roll originally wasn’t our sighnature. There’s only a difference of 4 votes. Do you think that a little girl who hasnt even enter this field for a year will be able to do beeter than the italian veal bacon roll and pan fried scallops? That will be real western cuisine!”
“Don’t worry, mother. She may be have little tricks, but based on this point, it will be impossible to be the last one laughing!”
The back kitchen behind the glass wass was as busy and frantic as ever.
“Lilith, do you mind tasting the next appetizers, italian bacon veal roll?” Winston asked Lilith.
Lilith tucked her hair behind her ear, and smiled saying: “with pleasure.”
2 of the dishes were placed in front of her, Lilith lifted her fork and knife.
“The plating from both parties are very exquisite, like a piece of art in the glass window, i really can’t bear to spoil this beautiful feel. But, food only has meaning when it is eaten.” Lilith first cut the bacon veal roll from Jessica and Iris, and tilted her head to have a closer look, “mmh, just one look and you can tell that the texture will be a delicious three-fifth medium rare, the fragrance of the fillings is very aromatic, when the knife cut down, it felt very tender. This makes me anticipate its flavour!”
Lilith put the bacon veal roll into her mouth, and tasted seriously, then said: “soft and balanced flavour, exactly as i anticipated! The aroma of the cheese, and the gin helps to up the flavour! The crispiness of the asparagus and that little heat from jalapeno! It’s like my taste buds were stroked gently then greatly shaken up! This far exceeds my expectations! Oh, Jessica or Iris, you guys are really awesome!”
Hearing her comments, Iris and Jessica raised their hands together.
Jessica said as she was plating the sea bass: “see that, i’ve said it before, no matter if it were french or italian cuisin, they are both our territory. If Jiang Qian Fan had chosen Brody or HanBin, they would be tough competition. But that lass, she can only hope to have tasted black truffle foie gras.”
Iris lifted her gaze to look at the other side.
LIn Ke Song was holding some sauce in her left hand, with a wine in her right hand, going around and behind, to Jiang Qian Fan’s side. She liiked like she wasn’t even a tiny bit affected by the words Lilith had said, it looked like she was in a very good mood.
And Jiang Qian Fan who was making some kind of sauce only had to lift his hand a little and she had already placed the wine bottle into his hand.
Since when did Lin KE Song become so familiar with Jiang Qian Fan’s cooking process?
“Lilith, even though you have given the 2 Quentin chef high praise. You still have to taste the italian bacon veal roll that Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song have made.”
“I know.” Lilith drank a mouth of water, “Now, let me see, what kind of feeling to my tastes will Chef Jiang Qian Fan and his…… student being me?”
When Lilith cut the roll, she let out a gentle sigh.
“What’s the matter? Lilith?” Winston asked.
“…… it felt like my knife was cutting through butter.” Lilith moved the veal roll towards herself, “very beautifully medium rare! As expected of Jiang Qian Fan…… fragrance…… apart from the beef, there is also a fresh and clean flavour.”
Lilith slowly out the roll into her mouth, and closed her eyes to distinguish the flavours: “the control over the pounding and seasoning process is astonishing. Salt, thyme, basil…… and a little awe-inspiring taste, the richness didn’t snatch away the savoury flavour of the veal. Was the veal seasoning done by Chef Jiang Qian Fan?”
Winston shook his head saying: “it was Lin Ke Song.”
“…… it can’t be ba?” Lilith revealed a suspicious expression.
Winston pointed to his eyes and said: “i saw it with my own eyes. Lin Ke Song made the sauce for the veal.”
Lilith’s gaze slid across winston to Lin Ke Song, she was making some kind of rice paste, and it looked easy.
And Jiang Qian Fan who was beside her didn’t give any orders, totally trusting her.
Lilith put the rest of the veal into her mouth, and closed her eyes to continue feeling: “En, this dish didn’t use asparagus but bamboo shoots. Before the bamboo shoots were wrapped, a little stir fried garlic and broth was added, combined with padano cheese, brings out a totally different flavour of veal. And green apple! This is really an amazing idea! Its tartness and crispiness are like crackling stars in my mouth, it is the finishing touch to this dish!”
“So, Lilith, are you praising Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song now?” Winston showed a speechless expression.
“I am praising the work that is full of imagination and enjoyable.” Lilith replied.
“Then which of these 2 dishes will you choose as your preferred?”
Lilith sighed: “it’s better if you kill me ba…… ”
“Haha, then i won’t make it difficult for you anymore. Afterall, we have a real team of judges!” Winston received the count slip from the staff, and cocked his brow, “En…… the opinions of the judges are very similar to Lilith’s.”
Lilith asked: “do you mean that it’s a tie?”
Winston smiled, “we have 21 judges who chose this dish, so how is it possible for it to be a tie?”
“So, one party got a weak advantage?”
“Yes. congratulations to Jessica and Iris, you have received a precious 10 votes!”
Iris’ hand trembled a little, had she heard wrongly?
10 votes? Does that mean that Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song got 11 votes? She and her mother had lost to Jiang Qian Fan and a newbie who hadn’t even entered the industry for a year over the dish of italian bacon veal rolls?
“Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song received 11 votes. This means you already have an advantage of 6 votes. But the competition is not over, there are another appetizers, 3 main dishes and 3 more desserts that are still to come. This advantage can be lost anytime.”
No matter, Lin Ke Song still clenched her fist in encouragement to herself. Because the green apple was a sudden inspiration of hers.
At this moment, she felt something kiss her fist. Jiang Qian Fan’s strands of hair glided across her skin, when she reacted, the other party had already expressionlessly embellish the lamb chops with mint leaves.
“Next plate, Ke Song.”
It was finally time for the third appetizers, pan-fried scallops.
Winston nodded to HanBin: “Chef HanBin, the leader of chinese food is YueJiang Hotel. And YueJiang Hotel is very familiar with the cooking method of all kinds of seafood. I wish to invite you to comment on the pan fried scallops from both parties.”
“No problem. But i am not as humorous as Chef Montgomery, or as good as Lilith at creating an atmosphere.”
“Oh, you only need tell everyone which of the dishes suits your tastes.”
HanBin nodded, and observed the plating of the 2 appetisers: “From the appearance and colour, both parties had good control over the heat for the pan fried scallops, if there are no accidents, the texture of the scallops will definitely be tender and juicy.”
HanBin cut the scallops from Jessica and Iris, after a bite, he nodded saying: “even though the combination garlic broccoli and pineapple sauce was unexpected, it unexpectedly matches with the scallops. There is the tartness and sweetness of the pineapple, whetting my appetite, there is also garlic to lift the deliciousness of the scallops, all combined with the soft taste of coloured clay, as expected of a master’s level.”
“En, i have no doubt about that.” Winston nodded.
HanBin then tasted Lin Ke Song and Jiang Qian Fan’s scallops.
He pursed his lips: “buttered jam combined with mango to make the sauce, this kind of combination has the same surprising effect as the broccoli puree. The flavours have seeped into the scallops very will, there is no need for any extra seasoning. The advantage of the the fruit jam is the it help the scallops taste fresher.”
“So, which do you prefer?”
“I enjoyed the combination of butter jam and mango as a sauce, but from flavours, i prefer the work of Jessica and Iris. there is more of a kick in the flavour.”
“I understand. Let us see the votes of the judges. Ah ha! Iris and Jessica received 10 votes, and Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song received 7 votes! Which means, at this point of the pk competition, Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song are leading with 31 votes, and Jessica and Iris are behind with 29 votes! This makes the competition for the main course even more exciting ah!”