Hearing what Ruan Tang said, Qi Zhuo’s face showed ridicule. Right now, he hated Ruan Tang to his very bones and he retorted, “Oh! A jokester! You think a four star ranking is something you can get just because you want it?”
However, none of the people on the scene acknowledged him. Gu Le Ji furrowed his brows and looked at Ruan Tang, seeming to seriously consider the feasibility of this matter.
Although he held Ruan Tang in high regard, when all was said and done, Ruan Tang was only venturing from his thatched hut for the first time. If subjected to too much, he might break. He was worried this impulsive action brought about by a momentary surge in spirit might have a negative affect on the development of this promising youngster. Gu Le Ji advised, “My boy, attaining the four-star rank is not as easy as you imagine. You’ll need to cook with 20 ingredients and make as many as ten dishes. And even before that, you would need to pass the two-star and three-star rank first. I understand that you’ve suffered some grievance, however, the future is long. There’s no need for you to cling onto this anger now.”
“Please don’t worry,” Ruan Tang smiled. “Since I’ve dared to say it, then I can definitely do it.”
Seeing his determined attitude, Gu Le Ji didn’t try to dissuade him further. “Very well, it’s not yet 12 o’clock. There’s still time to do the two-star rank assessment.” He made up his mind. Even if Ruan Tang fails the assessment, he was certain he could properly protect this youngster. He would pay close attention to him so that he wouldn’t suffer any rumors or slander.
The Chefs’ Association’s assessment was very considerate. Towards capable chefs, they would do everything to make things convenient for them. Although the assessment was scheduled once every month, if a chef who had passed through the one-star rank assessment wanted to continue on to the next level, provided there is enough time, he could do so.
“But…” Gu Le Ji frowned at Qi Zhuo and the two others, “They have been stripped of their qualifications as examiners. I’m afraid that until substitute examiners can be found, you will have to wait until you can take the next exam.”
“Marshal He, May I inconvenience you to escort Ruan Tang to the venue for the two-star rank assessment?” There were still a lot of candidates waiting for their assessment. President Gu absolutely couldn’t leave like this. But because he was worried about Ruan Tang, he had no choice by to seek help from He Yun Chen.
In this way, Ruan Tang found out that the handsome man decked in military attire was a marshal of the empire.
Sensing Ruan Tang’s eyes on him, He Yun Chen’s body stiffened and his lips pursed, making him look even more cold and serious, “Of course.”
After Gu Le Ji saw Ruan Tang leave with He Yun Chen, he turned back to Qi Zhuo and the others. “What are you all still doing here? Get going!”
Qi Zhuo’s face went pale and the stared fiercely back. Blue veins burst across his forehead. He took a deep breath and reluctantly pushed down his rage. With his arms swinging angrily, he left with large strides. His two lackeys, with a bow to Gu Le Ji, also left with him.
“Qi…uh…President, where will we go now?” standing on the road outside the branch office, Guo Lin, feeling upset, looking towards Qi Zhuo.
“Where can we go?! Back to the headquarters!”
Guo Lin was dazed, “Huh? We’ll go back…and do what?”
“Hmph, we’ll go and watch the assessment! I’m going to see if that brat can actually pass the two-star assessment!” Qi Zhuo gnashed his teeth. In any case, he was currently suspended from his post, and the videos have yet to be officially uploaded. As long as that Ruan Tang doesn’t pass the assessment, with his identity as a four-star chef, the Chefs’ Association would never be able to simply replace him!”
The two-star rank assessment required the use of no less than ten ingredients. He did not believe at all that this brat not even old enough to have facial hair can do it. He’s definitely in for a good show. He wanted to see the look on that conceited and mouthy brat’s face when he fails!
On board the suspended car, the exceptionally decent and solemn-looking He Yun Chen, was sneaking a glance at Ruan Tang.
Ruan Tang was leaning against the side of the suspended car, resting. His side profile was particularly beautiful, like an adorable little fox’s. It’s just that his cheeks had hollowed out and his chin had become too pointy. There was simply no meat on his bones. His eyes couldn’t help but stray to Ruan Tang’s head of hair. Sure enough, it was just as he imagined — a light chestnut color of fluffy and soft-looking hair. It made people want to rub his head.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Lf Tec Jtfc’r olcufgalqr reymbcrmlberis ralggfv jcv tf erfv tlr batfg tjcv ab obgmlyis qgfrr vbkc jujlcra la.
Verqfcvfv mjgr kfgf nfgs ojra jcv atfs jgglnf ja atflg vfralcjalbc lc rtbga bgvfg. Qtfc atfs ijcvfv, Lf Tec Jtfc fzafcvfv tlr tjcv jcv ilutais ajqqfv Eejc Kjcu’r rtbeivfg.
Eejc Kjcu bqfcfv tlr fsfr jcv jrxfv lc tlr mifjg jcv wfibvlber nblmf, “Qf’gf tfgf?”
He Yun Chen was immediately struck by a pair of pretty peach blossom eyes and replied woodenly, “En.” The tip of his ears turned red.
He took the lead to step down from the car and he then extended his hand to Ruan Tang, helping him down from the car. When that pair of hands was put into the palm of his own, it was simply like grasping a piece of glutinous rice cake. After Ruan Tang got down, He Yun Chen quickly retracted his hand and proceeded onwards. At this moment, his heart was throbbing abnormally. He took a deep breath and brought to mind the Imperial Hospital’s communications number. When he went back he’d have a few doctors take a look at it.
This was very problematic.
The two people, one in front and the other behind walked towards the entrance of the branch office. He Yun Chen forcibly brought his wildly beating heart under control. Thankfully, his cold face had always shown very little expression and looked as serious and solemn as always. In the eyes of other people he was still the ever brilliant and mighty marshal of the empire.
“Thank you. There are a lot of people inside. If that isn’t too convenient for you, I can manage by myself from here” Ruan Tang tactfully told the other.
The person beside him had a truly strong aura. Ever since he got down from the suspended car, he had attracted the attention of quite a number of people. This kind of attention wasn’t what he wanted.
“En,” He Yun Chen easily agreed, nodding his head. He turned around and walked away. It seemed as though he didn’t want to deal with things further. As Ruan Tang saw him leave, he sighed in relief and walked into the exam room.
He Yun Chen waited until he could no longer see Ruan Tang’s silhouette, before emerging from the corner. He opened his light brain to send a message to President Gu and then stealthily proceeded towards the back door.
Ruan Tang used his light brain to register his information into the smart scanner. He then waited for his turn in the waiting area.
The latecomer Ruan Tang attracted a lot of attention from the other candidates. It was obvious to them that for someone to come this late meant that this was a candidate who had passed the one-rank exam and was proceeding to take the next one.
Ruan Tang patiently waited, seemingly oblivious to the eyes that were sizing him up.
There were a lot less candidates for the two-rank assessment than the one-rank assessment and Ruan Tang did not have to wait long before it was his turn.
The kitchen was pretty much the same as the prior assessment’s. Since he already had some experience, he was even more composed than before. Immediately upon entering he drew his ingredients.
The ingredients he had drawn out were shrimp, flour, corn, peas, onions, carrots, fish, potatoes, tenderloin and eggs.
Ruan Tang quickly did his mental planning. Shrimp, flour and eggs could be used to make Prawn Fritters. The corn, peas, carrots, onions and fish could be made into sautéed fish with assorted vegetables. As for the potatoes and tenderloin, they could be made into stir fried shredded beef and potatoes.
The smart robot quickly brought Ruan Tang’s ingredients. Making these three dishes wasn’t difficult, it was just that the shrimp and fish needed to be rid of their fishiness beforehand. In order to save time, Ruan Tang took out the shrimp and quickly cut off the head, peeled the skin and took out the digestive track. He then tossed it together with salt and the ginger-scallion juice before setting it aside.
He then started on the fish. Since he only needed the meat from the fish belly, though it was overly simplified and crude, he directly cut off the fish head and tail. He cut open the fish belly and took out all the internal organs and removed the fish bone, preserving the two quintessential pieces of fish. After he thoroughly washed it clean, he marinated it with the same salt and ginger-scallion juice and let it rest.
Afterwards, he put flour, eggs, a bit of cooking oil and ground pepper into a bowl and vigorously stirred together the mixture. He dipped the shrimps one by one, letting the batter coat the entire shrimp.
The carefully coated shrimps were deep fried in hot oil. With practiced movement, he used his chopsticks to occasionally turn them over. He waited until the turned a beautiful golden yellow color before fishing them out.
There were only five pieces of shrimp and he stacked them up into two layers to the left side of the plate. Since he hadn’t any green, leafy vegetables, he instead took out a carrot and cut them up into three pieces. With a small and thin, sharp knife began to carve the carrot. After a few deft cuts, three carrot flowers with layers of petals emerged.
He displayed these flowers next to the shrimp fritters and drizzled a bit of soy sauce over the fritters. It was a very simple, balanced plate.
With the shrimp fritters done, he began to prepare the assorted vegetables. The corn was threshed, the onions and carrots were cubed and the peas were shelled.
At this time, he estimated that the fish was done preparing. So, he took the fish and cut it up into small segments. In a bowl, he combined two spoonfuls of salt, some light soy sauce, starch and a bit of water. Using his hand, he lightly massaged the mixture into the fish, allowing the fish to better absorb the flavor.
Fish cooked very quickly. After putting it into the pot to deep fry, he waited just until it changed color slightly before scooping them out.
Taking some of the oil used to fry the fish, he sautéed the onions over high heat and waited until a fragrant aroma began to spread out before adding in the carrots, peas and corn kernels. The sautéed them all together.
Lastly, he added back the fried fish and seasoned it with salt, light soy sauce and a small spoonful of sugar. He also put in some starch slurry and brought down the heat to continue sautéing. All kinds of ingredients combined in this pan. The sweet fragrance quickly filled the entire exam room. If this were the live broadcast room, at this point there would have been viewers who could no longer control themselves.
Soon after, this brightly colored, exotic smelling assorted stir fry with fish was soon done.
All that was left was the very convenient shredded meat and potatoes. A few minutes would be enough. Potatoes was an ingredient that made a great accompaniment. Whether sautéed, stewed, fried or even mashed, they simply tasted great.
Ruan Tang speedily peel away the skin of the potato and started to julienne. He cut them up very quickly but the potatoes were cut evenly and very thinly.
He cut up the pork tenderloin into thin slices, adding in salt and the ginger-scallion juice. He also added pepper to taste before stir frying the meat until it began to slightly change color.
He then included the julienned potatoes to the stir-fry. He tipped in some dark soy sauce to add color to the dish. And after just a few minutes, it was done.
When Ruan Tang declared he was done, it was only fifty-minutes since he started. He hadn’t even taken an hour.
The examiners staying in the upper floor, were all stunned by Ruan Tang’s amazing speed. The only they could say was that he was truly worthy of being a seedling highly regarded by President Gu.
When Ruan Tang appeared with the smart robot, the examiners were all hooked by the alluring aroma.
The examiners for the two-star rank assessment were older gentlemen who were already graying at the temples. They all looked stern and difficult to approach, but right now all their eyes were glued to those three dishes, completely unmoving.
“Ge Lao…” One examiner, who looked relatively younger, lightly prompted the other, forcing the other to return to his senses.
“Ahem” the head examiner Ge Lao, lightly coughed, concealing his momentary loss of self-control. In a sufficiently serious voice said, “These three dishes look very good, but what about the taste?”
“Please have a taste. You will know as soon as you try it.” Ruan Tang smiled as he said.
Ge Lao solemnly nodded his head, maintaining a very proper expression. But the way he speedily used his chopsticks to nab a bite of the food betrayed his impatience.
He first had a piece of the shrimp fritter. The outer skin that been fried until it was deliciously crispy. The outer skin had the faint sweetness of the eggs while inside, the shrimp meat was springy and flexible. It was crispy on the outside and tender in the inside. The texture was absolutely perfect. In two to three bites it was gone. He would have gone for another one if the younger examiner hadn’t pulled him back.
Ge Lao secretly glared at him and slightly pursed his lips before moving on to the second dish.
“It is best to use a spoon when eating the sautéed fish with assorted vegetables.” Ruan Tang gave a timely reminder.
“Alright.” Ge Lao nodded seriously and replaced his chopsticks with a spoon. Then, without being the least bit polite, took a big heaping spoonful.
“Oh…” with just one mouthful, Ge Lao’s eyes went round. The assorted vegetables were sweet, fresh and crispy. It had a rich and varied texture, while the fish was smooth and tender. Blended together with a salty, delicious thick sauce, the flavor was incomparably splendid. It stimulated people’s appetites.
With great reluctance, he swallowed down his mouthful and hurriedly turned to the third dish.
The method of cooking the potatoes was grasped very well, and it wasn’t at all like the others’ which were soft and mushy. Instead, it had a bit of crunch, and a sweetness amidst the salty taste. With each bite, crunching sounds could be heard. It was quite wonderful. The meat slices were also out of the ordinary. It wasn’t at all tough and dry, it was suitably soft and chewy. It also held a lot of salty juices. The potatoes and the meat were the perfect match.
“Good, good, good.” Ge Lao couldn’t help but to repeat it thrice. When he looked back to Ruan Tang, there was a seeming spark in his eyes.
Seeing Ge Lao give such a high evaluation, the other two were also anxious to have a taste of the dishes.
The two people kept eating and nodding their heads, “So delicious! Delicious!”
Theirs reactions were even more exaggerated than Ge Lao’s and their chopsticks wouldn’t stop moving. It seemed as though they’ve completely forgotten that they were examiners. When the food was all gone, they even asked, “Why is there only so little…”
“Act your age!” Ge Lao glared at them and when he saw the empty plates couldn’t help but slam his palm against the table. Seeing Ruan Tang at the side, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, he covered his mouth and cleared his throat. “Excellent craftsmanship. I believe you can advance in rank.”
The two others beside him also looked face to face and declared, “Promoted!”
Prawn Fritters: Link
Shredded Beef and Julienned Potatoes: Link