Chapter 70 – The Way of Cooking

 

“Brother Ye, here are the vegetable you’ve ordered.”

Outside the Little Rain Family Diner, Qin Feng was straddling on the three wheeled bike, a neat pile of fresh vegetables on the cart behind him. Ye Chui had since completely handed over the mutton stall operation to him. When he heard that Ye Chui had started his own diner, he immediately volunteered to deliver their groceries everyday.

Ye Chui nodded approvingly as he looked over the vegetables. He then moved the lot into the diner’s kitchen together with Qin Feng. While they were busy moving the ingredients to the kitchen, Ye Chui took the opportunity to ask after the mutton stall. Qin Feng was happy to inform that while traffic had dropped quite a bit after the regulars realized that Ye Chui was no longer in charge of the stalls, business had been picking up recently. Though it was not as busy as before, it was still the most popular stall in the night market. He managed to sell all his stocks every single night. When Ye Chui heard this, he was also happy for this friend.

With summer approaching, it looked like barbecue would be on everyone’s mind.

Once Qin Feng left, Ye Chui returned to the diner to do some minor cleaning. Though it was a routine he had established in his past life, Ye Chui felt a bit awkward doing it this time. With Wang Shiyu and An Jing gone to school, this elder sister Han Yuyan was seated on a stool in her exquisitely tailored business lady’s uniform while sipping tea elegantly — Ye Chui wondered if this cool elder sister actually knew how to do her job…

Ye Chui took out his phone for a look. Who knows what time Tian Xiaodu would actually arrive, he was just pondering over this matter when a plump face peeked in from the entrance, looking left, then right suspiciously. Well, well, if it isn’t Tian Xiaodu?

Ye Chui felt a large sweatdrop gathering on his temples as he called out, “Xiaodu just come in, ah. Just what are you afraid of?”

“Oh, little brother, the renovation on this place looks quite good.” Tian Xiaodu finally came in after being caught by Ye Chui, however, his eyes never stopped darting about — this was the result of the trauma he had suffered under the hands of that little witch, he was really afraid of her.

“Since this diner is targeted at ordinary students, I’m afraid that this place is probably to low class for you.” Ye Chui said with a smile.

“No problem, no problem,” Tian Xiaodu shook his head hurriedly, just then he noticed Han Yuyan sitting at the table with her tea. The impression Elder Han’s granddaughter had on him was pretty strong. Stunned, he stammered, “Y-you.. why are you here?”

“How can I not be here?” Han Yuyan had her cold sister look on, kept especially for strangers. She elegantly placed her teacup on the table and proudly declared, “I have been accepted as a apprentice for this diner. Master Tian, please take care of me from now on…”

“Please take care…” Tian Xiaodu automatically answered, he gave Ye Chui an incredulous look, “Just what is a diner’s apprentice?”

“It’s actually a high end waitress.” Ye Chui whispered back.

“Oh…”

Tian Xiaodu paused, then nodded. However, he could not remain calm, a stupefied expression on his face. To think that Elder Han’s precious granddaughter was here to be their wait staff?

This was even more amazing than having a five star chef working at a small diner, ba?

“Sit down first, I wanted you come over two days earlier to let you two get to know each other, but to think that you couldn’t come. Anyway, this is the menu I proposed, please have a look.” Ye Chui handed over a beautifully printed menu to Tian Xiaodu.

Tian Xiaodu still had majority of his attention of Han Yuyan who was sitting across the table from him. He still haven’t recover from the shock, where would he find enough scattered brain cells to look at the menu?

Even so, when his eyes finally registered the words on the menu, he suffered another shock.

“Little bro, are you sure you haven’t written wrongly? How… Shaoxing Drunken Chicken, Dong An Chicken, Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms, Big Plate Chicken… you’re putting all these on the menu? But, the prices… it seemed quite inexpensive…”

One can’t blame Tian Xiaodu for being surprised, quite a few of these dishes were famous for… hospitalizing Elder Han. Granted, the elder had literally eaten himself sick, but Ye Fei had charged $120,000 for that La Zi Ji recipe, so there was no way that these recipes could cost less than that. However, this was still a family diner. For a family diner to serve this kinds of dishes… wasn’t it a tad extravagant?

With a famous five star chef in the kitchen, a precious third generation rich maiden as their wait staff, topping that off with a super extraordinary menu, it’s entirely possible that there was no restaurant more extravagant than theirs.

“Hehe, naturally we will use home cooking method for a home style diner. The result won’t be as luxurious as the one we served to Elder Han.” Ye Chui laughed as he explained. Small and large restaurants may serve the same type of dishes, but there will be a large gap in terms of the quality of ingredients, amount acquired and more importantly, the skill of chefs will be different. Naturally, Ye Chui will be serving simplified versions of the precious dishes here in this Little Rain Family Restaurant.

Of course, the dishes will still be perfectly delicious.

After Ye Chui’s explanation, Tian Xiaodu still have some doubt in his eyes, “Little brother, it’s not that I mind making family style food, but… these are originally high class dishes, it won’t be easy to just simplify it.”

“Xiaodu, this is where you are wrong.” Ye Chui said with a smile. “There’s an ancient saying, ‘The Way of Cooking, The Way of Least Distraction’, have you ever heard of this, Xiaodu?”

“The Way of Cooking, The Way of Least Distraction’?” Tian Xiaodu nodded, “I’ve heard of it, the idea that cooking with less seasoning and spices would bring out the true flavour of ingredients. However, I feel that this ideal is too unlikely a dream. Could anything good be created using this technique?”

“A true expert would definitely be able to do it.” Ye Chui said with confidence. Naturally, he wasn’t as thick face as to say that he could achieve this result. He only said, “To achieve true ‘Least Distraction’ would require high level skills, we can think of it as one of the ways in which we could push our skills a chefs. Since we can only create simplified meals for a family diner, it will allow us to polish our skills as chefs to make these simple dishes as delicious as possible. In other words, this place is the best platform for you to increase your ability.”

Tian Xiaodu nodded seriously as he pondered upon these words. “The Way of Cooking, The Way of Least Distraction, I still can’t quite understand it, but I’m willing to try it out.”

“You’ll definitely reap the benefit of this technique.” Ye Chui promised with a smile.

When it came to food, people often evaluate it based on sights and smells. However, true gourmands have additional category of meaning and conception behind the presented dish. Meaning and conception are delivered by chefs by means carefully chosen ingredients, style of cooking as well as presentation. As for concept, ‘The Way of Least Distraction’ is one of the way in which cooking could be used to display the best features of a particular ingredient. If one could master the Way of Least Distraction, one could create ultimate deliciousness with any kind of ingredients.

Tian Xiaodu’s cooking skills were undeniable, his ability to maximize sight and smells of food could be considered at peak level. On the other hand, his understanding of meaning and conception was still lacking. However, these latter concepts were the most difficult to understand, let alone execute. Ye Chui wanted to take Xiaodu in and train him on these two concepts.

Tian Xiaodu continued to look through the menu. The menu was divided into three basic categories: hot dishes, cold dishes, and soups. All in all, there were about 30 types of dishes on offer. Tian Xiaodu had no problem recognising the vegetarian dishes. As for the non-vegetarian dishes, aside from the four chicken dishes, there were also things like Red Braised Pork[1], Twice Cooked Pork[2], Spiced Beef in Soy Sauce[3], Meat and Green Pepper Stir Fry[4] et cetera as well as other standard family style stir fries. These were all simple non-vegetarian dishes that most people would be able to cook after some fumbling guesses. As for the cold dishes, the Hong Chicken with Shredded Cucumber that moved Elder Han to tears was not on offer — since the restaurant was a ‘family style’ diner, such a sophisticated dish would look out of place.

Tian Xiaodu felt very moved after looking through the menu for this restaurant. Looks like his job here won’t be simple, ah.

As Ye Chui was bringing Tian Xiaodu around to familiarize him with the kitchen, about 10 am, the first guest for Little Rain arrived at their door.

Their first customer was a middle aged worker, who looked like he was out on a business related matter when the restaurant caught his eye. He came into Little Rain, looking left and right, before finally sitting down. In any regular restaurant, the wait staff would have come over to warmly welcome the customer with tea and a menu — It looked like this middle aged customer was just waiting for the staff to take his order.

However, Ye Chui eyed Han Yuyan who was still calmly sitting down. This elder sister merely gave the customer a single glance, before returning to her own tea…

Ye Chui felt sweat popping up on his forehead, “Big Rain, what are you doing, go take care of the customer, ah!”

Han Yuyan was stunned for a moment, before getting up with a slight, ‘oh’. This elder sister with her super elite custom made outfit strolled over to the customer like a model on a runway. She stopped in front of the middle aged office worker, “What do you want to eat?”

Middle aged worker, “… …”

“I’m asking you, what do you want to eat?” Han Yuyan was getting impatient.

“Ahem,” the middle aged man gave a little cough. “Young lady, you should at least get me the menu, ah.”

A normal wait staff would have started apologizing by now, however, do you really think that Han Yuyan was the type to apologize? This elder sister’s brows twitched, “If you want the menu why didn’t you say so at once, do you really intend to eat here?”

Middle aged worker, “… …”

Seeing how their first customer was about to just throw up his hands and leave, Ye Chui quickly ran out of the kitchen with a head covered in sweat. Clearly it was a mistake to put Han Yuyan as part of the wait staff, she’s obviously terrible at this.

 

 

[1] Red Braised Pork

[2] Twice Cooked Pork

[3] Spiced Beef in Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Pickled Beef

[4] Meat and Green Pepper Stir Fry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXppgYj-Z88

 

 

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