The Female Supporting Role Shows Out - Chapter 35
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
As the Emperor had special feelings for Yan Langqing, she naturally looked more pleasing to his eye than the others. But even so, there was no way he could bring himself to say that the dumplings made by Yan Langqing were better than those made by Lin Dan. The result of the competition was decided, and he knew that there was nothing he could do but to honor his taste buds.
Thinking of this, he put down his chopsticks and said slowly, “Lin Dan, you won.”
As soon as the Emperor announced, a crisp sound rang in the private room. It was Yan Langqing who threw her chopsticks on the ground. Everyone looked at her and saw that her eyes were red, her face was pale and her limbs were shaking as if she had suffered a great shock. Her father, Yan Shouye, glared at Lin Dan. He was unable to accept the outcome and was filled with resentment.
Lin Dan bowed and remained humble. She said, “In that case, I ask that Imperial Chef Yan fulfill the agreement of this competition and return the golden knife and the recipes.”
Yan Langqing seemed to have difficulty opening her mouth to speak, but Yan Shouye exclaimed angrily, “No, those things belong to my father and the Yan family. Who gives you the right to own it?”
“Your father gave it to my father before he passed on, and those things belong to my father now. Back then, you got it from me with your own culinary skills, what’s wrong with getting it back with my own skills now?”
Yan Shouye still wanted to keep arguing, but the Emperor frowned and showed his displeasure. Yan Langqing immediately pressed her father’s shoulders and said in a hoarse voice, “I‘ve brought everything and will be giving them to you.” Initially, she brought it just to show her generosity but did not expect to lose to Lin Dan. Since the people entering the city had already decided her loss and the Emperor had also announced it officially, she reckoned that there was nothing she could do even if she did not want to concede defeat.
Lin Dan put the golden knife aside and raised her eyebrows when she flipped through the Yan family’s recipes. The recipe book was split into two parts by Yan Langqing, the second half of the book that was written by Lin Baotian was returned to Lin Dan. The first part should only have 60 pages, but it seemed to be thicker than before. It was apparent that Yan Langqing had been putting lots of effort over the years and had developed many new dishes, adding new vitality to Yan’s recipes.
However, Lin Dan started to frown as she took a closer look at the recipe book before sneering at what she discovered. She tore off one of the pages and handed it to a chef who came to watch the competition and said, ” I remember this braised deer tendon was developed by you, Chef Liu. Here, I’m returning this to you. This stewed soft-shelled turtle is yours, Chef Fang, I’m giving it back to you…” She tore off one after another, recipes and returned them to the original creators one by one.
These chefs looked at Yan Langqing and at the Emperor, unsure whether it was appropriate for them to accept the recipes.
The Emperor was puzzled and wondered what tricks Lin Dan was trying to pull, but Prince Cheng sneered, “Your Majesty, I’m afraid there’s something you don’t know. Your imperial chef is pretty obnoxious, she knew that she was unable to create dishes to please you and took away recipes of other chefs. She did not allow people to sell those dishes again, as she claimed that it would be a sign of disrespect to share the same food as the Emperor. If that’s the case, I’d suggest that you make a list of foods for all the subjects to avoid, so that we wouldn’t be committing a grave mistake!”
Prince Gong spread his hands and pretended to panic, “If so, wouldn’t we starve to death? We can’t eat meat if the Emperor does, can we not even drink water if the Emperor does, too?”
Prince Cheng hurriedly consoled him and said, “Don’t worry, you can always eat at the Yan’s restaurant. Although food that is enjoyed by his majesty is not allowed to be sold elsewhere, it’s available in their restaurant. People respect the power of the Emperor, but I’m afraid the Emperor has no power over this family since they all have the support of Imperial Chef Yan!”
The two princes echoed one another and exposed all the methods used by the Yan family to strike at their competitions, and even made them seem to be disrespectful of the Emperor. Yan Shouye started trembling and his face was as white as a sheet. Yan Langqing looked at her father in disbelief, and shouted sternly, “Father, what is going on?” She kneeled down immediately and apologized to the Emperor, “Your majesty, I have never said anything like this and I’m also not aware of what happened. Please, I seek your forgiveness!”[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]
The Emperor looked down at her with a pair of cold eyes that were once warm and tender. Yan Langqing looked at him and her heart was racing. She stayed in the palace for a long time and did not return home very often. But she had never expected that her family would be so obnoxious in her absence. She merely wanted to learn more dishes, and sincerely wanted to support the chefs that were working outside the palace, but it seemed like it had done more harm than good instead. It was no wonder the chefs who came today looked at her with a stiff expression. They seemed as though they were afraid to speak but were also showing looks of disdain.
But at this moment, she could not care how the others see her anymore, she was only worried that the Emperor would be unhappy with her. Young Marquis Tang started to hate her ten years ago. Now, she had lost the golden knife, the recipes, the reputation, and the hearts of the people, and she could no longer afford to lose the Emperor’s favor. Without the Emperor, Yan Langqing would be nobody after what had happened.
Yan Shouye was so scared that he did not dare to utter another word. He could only kowtow like his daughter did. He had never thought the day would come when he showed off his daughter’s achievements and oppressed his competitors.
Lin Dan removed all the dishes that were taken away by the Yan family and placed them aside so that they could be returned to the original owner.
The Emperor glanced at her and said with a frown, “Rise, all of you. Let’s not pursue this matter anymore since their restaurant has already been closed anyway. Owners of these recipes may claim them and may do anything they want with them in the future. I am the Emperor and the ruler of my people; anyone can enjoy the food I eat.”
The Emperor actually let the Yan family off and made a speech that made the doings of the Yan family seem insignificant. Prince Cheng and Prince Gong were dissatisfied, but they did not continue speaking.
Lin Dan was still tearing out the recipes when her calm expression changed after looking at one of the recipes. She said, “If I remember correctly, this Fortune Meat is Imperial Chef Yan’s signature dish? It’s because of this dish that his majesty fancied your cooking skills and summoned you into the palace, isn’t it?”
Yan Langqing who had just displayed a relieved expression suddenly began to tense up again.
Lin Dan glanced at her and said with a hint of mockery, “But did you know that this is not the authentic way to make the Fortune Meat? Imperial Chef Yan, you once said that you would never use my father’s recipes, but why did you use my father’s recipe to secure your future? You’re really two-faced and deceitful…”
Yan Langqing’s lips had been trembling all this while. She seemed as though she wanted to refute, but could not utter any word because she was too nervous. Yan Shouye shouted confidently, “Lin Dan, that’s nonsense! This dish was obviously created by my daughter, Langqing, and I was the one who witnessed the process with my own eyes!”
Lin Dan closed the recipe book and said steadily, “Is that so? Did you develop it yourself, or did you hear it from my father’s apprentice? If I remember correctly, my father’s two apprentices are now working as chefs in the Yan’s restaurant.”
“Y-You have no proof and you’re wronging the innocent!” Yan Shouye was so angry that he was about to vomit blood, but the person in question, Yan Langqing, remained silent with a pale face.
Lin Dan opened the door and said, “You shall decide whether I’ve wronged the innocent after I’ve made the real Fortune Meat.” She walked straight to the kitchen.
The Emperor took a long hard look at Yan Langqing before following up unhurriedly. The others would not want to miss the fun and joined in as well. The competition was full of twists and turns that it was exciting for everyone. No one had thought that Manager Lin, who was bound to lose, would win even when the Emperor was biased. No one had also expected that the seemingly kind and gentle Imperial Chef Yan was actually a scheming woman who would resort to extreme measures to achieve what she wanted.
As Lin Dan was a distinguished guest that the Emperor had invited, the restaurant did not dare to disobey when she wanted to use the kitchen. They immediately vacated the most spacious stove and prepared ingredients for her. She took a piece of tofu, cut it into two-inch cubes, and carved the beautiful word of “Fortune” on one side of the tofu. Then, she put it in the fragrant and milky broth and simmered it before taking it out about half an hour later. She took a wok, added some marinade, and constantly added seasonings to make the marinade thicker before forming a thin layer of sauce. She continued to cook the tofu after adding it into the sauce, but the sauce was only absorbed into the top layer of the skin.
Prince Cheng reminded her, “I think your sauce is not enough and the tofu cubes have not been completely marinated in the sauce. It wouldn’t be tasty enough.”
Lin Dan replied with a smile, “This is the taste I’m going for, your highness.” Thirty minutes later, she picked out the tofu pieces one by one and placed them neatly in a bowl. Everyone took a closer look and saw that the tofu cubes had absorbed some sauce but were mostly in a milky white color. It had a very strange appearance.
Lin Dan added the tofu cubes in a hot oil pan again and fried the side that was absorbed with the sauce. The fragrance filled the air as a fried layer formed on one side of the tofu, while the other side was still white and tender as it was kept away from the oil. After finishing this process, Lin Dan put the tofu cubes into the bone broth and simmered it, before simmering it again in the braised soup broth. Finally, it was placed in the steamer before making a thick sauce by frying some minced fish, chicken, and pork. She poured the sauce on the steamed tofu cubes before sprinkling it with some ginger and chives to enhance the flavor.
The tofu cubes that had been repeatedly boiled in the pork broth and braised soup broth had fully absorbed the essence of various soups, turning it into a dish that contained a rich flavor. As the surface layer was soaked in sauce before being deep-fried, it had the appearance of the pigskin. Without taking a closer look, one would have thought it was a braised pork instead of tofu.
The Emperor was the one who took the first piece and tasted it. His eyes lit up immediately. The tofu did not only have the appearance of braised pork but also tasted like one. It did not taste oily at all and had the richness, softness, and mellowness of the meat.
Lin Dan explained slowly, “My mother loves to eat meat, but she is afraid of putting on weight. This was why my father came up with a dish for her so that she could enjoy the taste of meat without worrying about her weight. This was how the Fortune Meat came about. It has absorbed the strengths and removed the weaknesses of meat dishes. It is neither fat nor greasy, but soft and glutinous, and melts in the mouth. My father taught me and two of his apprentices how to make this dish, but it was never recorded in the Yan family’s recipes. Besides, it was not named as ‘Fortune Meat’ back then but ‘Word of Fortune’, as it was complicated to create the wording. But only when the word ‘Fortune’ is created can the tofu be made into a delicious dish. Imperial Chef Yan, I suppose you got the recipe from my father’s two apprentices, but as you are unable to produce the meat flavor, you have been using pork instead, am I right? This is merely an ordinary vegetarian dish that is made in a meaty flavor, yet you’ve claimed that the ‘Fortune Meat’ that was specially made for the Emperor to celebrate his birthday? Imperial Chef Yan, you’re pretty ingenious when it comes to winning the Emperor’s favor, you wouldn’t have lost to me today if you had used it in your culinary skills instead.”
“Without a rich experience and assiduous research, ordinary people would find it difficult to recreate the dish even if they have the recipe. But for you, you did not even seem to know how to handle food ingredients properly, how to control the heat, how to adjust the right amount of condiments. If the food ingredients are not well-prepared and the heat is not controlled well, it would completely change the taste of this dish.” Lin Dan added.
It was just as Lin Dan said, Yan Langqing was unable to recreate the meaty flavor in the tofu when she got the recipe, which was why she used meat to make the dish instead. It was not that she did not want to invent her own dishes, but she was at the most helpless moment in her life when she was driven out by the Marquis that year. She took the easier way out as she yearned to make her name and gain a foothold in the capital, and she was hungry to gain that recognition.
Seeing the Emperor’s scrutinizing and questioning eyes, Yan Langqing could barely hold her head up high anymore. She knew that she had a complete defeat and had lost all her reputation.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]