Chapter 2 – A Dream and a Goal

 

Translated by Prosperousfood dot com

Edited by Gumihou

Re-Host at kitchennovel dot com

 

Hey, brother, all I did was offer my honest opinion on food, sure my language was a little strong, and my tongue a little too sharp, and okay, I admit that there were a few restaurant that closed because of me… but, how could you specially create a [System] and bully me into becoming a chef!!

When he thought about being controlled by some specially designed [System] to force him to cook, Mike felt like crumbling to pieces. It’s one thing to be able to cook normally, but this thing was talking about making him into an actual first generation god level chef!

Master Chef[1]? Are you kidding? Mike wanted to scream at someone.

“Daddy dearest, are you in pain somewhere?” Amy reached out to touch Mike’s face. Privately, she was a little worried about her father. She had the strangest feeling that her father seemed a little different, though she couldn’t quite point out what the difference was.  

When he felt the warm hands on his face, consciousness returned to Mike. He did his best to pull himself together and mastered a smile. He searched his memories for a bit, then reached into his shirt and took out the last two copper coins in his possession and place them in Amy’s hand. “Amy, why don’t you go and buy two Sweet Crispy Biscuits, ba. We’ll have that for dinner tonight.”

“Really! Amy really likes Sweet Crispy Biscuits!” a bright smile lit up Amy’s face, her little hand clutching the two copper coins happily. She climb up the bed to peck a kiss on Mike’s cheek, before leaping off the bed to put on her shoes and rushed out the door.

Mike looked on as Amy disappeared down the door, an indescribable pain in his chest. The coveted Sweet Crispy Biscuits was a cheap dry cracker made from coarsely grounded cornmeal. However, in these past two years Michael Alex barely managed to scrape a living doing odd jobs for the local guild. The Sweet Crispy Biscuits was something that Michael could only buy for Amy during special occasions.

Fortunately, Amy was an obedient and sensible little girl, though she really like them, she never tried to persuade Michael to buy the biscuits for her.

However, now that he was alone, just where have that idiotic [System] thing disappeared to?

Mike pushed himself off the bed with both hands, stuffed his feet into some straw shoes, and limp shuffle his way towards a shabby looking copper mirror, curious to know what he looked looked like now.

Due to lack of nutrition and proper sunlight, the skin on this body looked sallow and unhealthy. But, he could still tell that this person’s appearance was about 70 to 80 percent similar to his own. Only, he now had long brown hair curled up towards the back of his head, a ragged beard complete with scruffy sideburns which made him looked like an unkempt tramp.

What a waste of a good foundation, Mike couldn’t help his automatic acid tongue curses. This face was only good for scaring small children. How could this man bear to look so scruffy with such a cute loli running around in the same house?

However, after going through that traumatic event three years ago, Michael Alex was as close as giving up on life as he had ever gotten. If it weren’t for Amy, he would have just let himself die that night, if only to preserve the honour of his past achievements.

The little kid have suffered much following you, I shall gladly accept this responsibility and give her a better life in your place, ba! Mike clenched his fist resolutely, only, his grip felt oddly weak and pathetic.

The previously broken arm and leg felt weak, to the point that he found it difficult to make a proper fist. This kind of weakness really made Mike felt like a cripple.

The house they live in now could only be described as ‘Four Bare Walls for a Home’[2], there was only one bed with one small blanket on it, most likely for Amy’s use.

What god level chef or master chef, he had already spent the last two copper coins in his possession. He had no idea what they’re going to eat tomorrow. It looked like he would have to see what this [System] thing could do to help them get out of this trouble.

“The first task has been decided by the [System]: The host will need to provide a location for the creation of a restaurant. The [System] will also design the restaurant according to a specification chosen by the host. The host will have three days to complete this mission, completion of this task will gain rewards, failure will will incur punishment.” The gender neutral voice of the [System] suddenly piped up.

A restaurant? Mike was a little stunned, however, shock soon melt away to glee. He suddenly felt that this [System] thing was actually quite dependable.

Although the previous person in this body was a bit miserable, that guy still had his reliable points. Not long after arriving in Sin City, the first thing he did was bought a small two storey building. Though it was a little worn out, and located in the far corner of Aden Square, he still had an entire two storey building to his name.

Furthermore, although the location was a little remote, the first floor could still be let out for shopkeepers. In fact, there were some merchants who had approached Michael Alex to rent the place out, but for some reason that stubborn idiot turned them all away. Otherwise, the father child duo wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where they could barely spare a copper coin to buy Sweet Crispy Biscuits.

Mike slowly descended to the ground floor, supporting himself against the wall. The wooden floorboards creak with every step, some parts of the staircase was also visibly damaged. This was clearly a very dangerous place to live in.

After much wheezing and gasping, Mike finally managed to make it downstairs. He sighed, the condition of this body was just too terrible. For someone who used to tear orcs to pieces with his bare hands, to be reduced to panting and wheezing after just going downstairs was just too terrible. Mike finally had some inkling why this guy would be tempted to give up on life, it would take a great deal of courage to actually live on. If this was his true life, he wasn’t sure that he would actually have the courage to live on like this.

“[System], once I’ve completed the mission, do you have any rewards that improves the body condition?” Mike mentally sent the question to the mysterious being in his head. He flexed his hand into a fist as he waited for an answer.

“Not right now.” [System] answered coldly.

Not right now, so could this be a hint that there will be such rewards in the future? Mike’s eyes brightened a little, this gave him a bit more motivation continue living in this kind of body. He had no idea how long he could endure going through life being dragged down by this kind of body, but if the [System] could restore his body, even if he could not reach the level of a power knight, he would be happy to be able to live and move like a normal person.

In his past life, whether it’s money, women, or power… all were at the tips of his fingers. Things that people could not achieve after a lifetime of work were his the moment he was born. After 30 years of living this way, he finally started thinking about his existence on earth, wondering just what he wanted in life and found that he had no goals, no dreams.

At that time, dining on good food and commenting on them was the only thing that interested him most. Though he nitpick a little over details, and had a habit of using acidic languages, it was these two points that gained him instant popularity. Though he gained some pleasure reading the comments over his reviews, even that kind of satisfaction soon felt hollow.

However, things were different now. He had a daughter now, and had to start life from the lowest rung of the social ladder. Whether it’s to recover his own health or give this cute daughter a better life, and somehow learning to open a proper restaurant at the same time; these were all thing that required a lot of effort and hard work.

Goals and dreams suddenly loomed clear before him, and Mike felt his heart raced faster at the thought of them.

Visions of noblemen stamping their feet impatiently as they waited in line, elves abandoning the shackles of their dignity to dine with the masses, dragons seated around a large hotpot, demons eating cute dumplings… Mike’s brain burped up this grand picture in his mind, which felt silly, and fun and interesting all at once.

The ground floor of the building was actually quite large, if they could knock down the pillars in the middle and take away that half section of wall, he would have a space of over 80 meters square. On the floor were some scattered pieces of wooden planks and a soot covered kitchen.

To rather let this kind of space sit idle and refusing to rent it out, if death finds you, you can’t blame the heavens, ah… Mike shook his head, on the other hand, he was able to enjoy the benefits of his predecessor’s hard work and foresight to purchase this bit of space. Thus, he easily completed the first task given to him by the [System]. He mentally said, “Please use this space to create a restaurant.”

“The [System] has determined that this property belongs to the host and is geographically in line with what a restaurant should be like. The first task is now complete. Would the host please choose the restaurant design.”

Following the [System’s] comment, Mike suddenly found himself looking at a 3D image in front of him. Various interior design features scrolled past his eyes, classical Chinese decor, country style, western style and much more… as long as it existed, it was paraded in front of Mike, to the point that he felt his eyes started to grow blurry.

“Since I’m sent here on the curses of those chefs that I’ve reviewed, I’d probably have to learn the same dishes they make. So, I guess I should pick an interior decoration that fits a Chinese restaurant since I reviewed those the most. On the other hand, I did visit quite a few western style restaurants too, as well as other celebrity chef restaurants with one of a kind dishes. Goodness knows whether those dishes would appear in the future.” Mike decided not to rush his decision.

After thinking about it for a while, Mike thought that he should not fix the style of his restaurant’s interior. What if he fixed his restaurant with a Chinese style décor and ended up serving steaks with knife and forks? If the he in the past wondered into a restaurant like this, the vitriol would start even before the meal arrive and the shop would be lashed to bankruptcy by his razor sharp tongue.

Therefore, the interior should be comfortable, something that could accommodate lots of customers would be the best. A vision of his shop filled to bursting with seated customers flashed through his mind.

This one!

Mike was looking at a restaurant design done in the classical European style. The colour scheme for this style was an understated brown trimmed with delicate patterns. The lamps hanging from the ceiling gave off a European fantasy world feeling, while the furniture were made of wood and extremely simple looking. The tables were simple wooden squares, with matching wooden chairs without any armrests. There was also a bar counter where solo customer could sit alone and order their meals. The room could accommodate a total of 16 square tables, just a glance and one could tell that this room could sit quite a lot of people.

The bar table overlooked the half open kitchen, where a transparent glass separates the kitchen area from the dining room. The glass window allowed the chef to look out and check on the dining room situation, but the height of the counter meant that seated customers would not be able to spy on whatever the chef was doing.

The simple design gave off a vibe that seemed compatible with any type of cuisine and atmosphere. Customers who wish to sit and chat would not feel awkward or intimidated by any fancy airs.

“Perfect!” Mike nodded in satisfaction. He was about to confirm the design when he hesitated, and asked, “[System], does the renovation include the second floor of the building?”

 

[1] 厨神 – God level chef or ‘Master chef’, seriously, when I Googled 厨神 Gordon Ramsey’s face popped up. If the novel haven’t specified that the [System’s] voice is gender neutral, I’m going to hear all their remarks in Gordon Ramsey’s voice.

[2] Four Bare Walls for a Home – Really sad home, poor, unable to afford much beyond the walls.

 

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Rehosted and edited by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

 

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