Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 122
Chapter 122: First Time In The Imperial Kitchen
Translator: YTJS_ Editor: Perriemix
Eunuch Gao arrived and declared His Majesty’s decree. Consort Mei was shocked and flustered.
She couldn’t believe that this matter has actually alarmed His Majesty.
“Why are you all asking me for him? Do you think that Li Yao is still here even after he received his reward? Yang Momo, go and take a look.” Consort Mei glanced at Yang Momo meaningfully.
Yang Momo nodded understandingly and disappeared into the back room.
Ye Jiayao still has her mouth covered but she didn’t bother struggling. It would be better for her to save her energy.
“Today, on the account of the Crown Prince, Consort Mei will pardon you temporarily for your impudence. If you dare spout nonsense after you leave, Consort Mei can claim your life anytime,” Yang Momo warns. “Do you understand?”
Ye Jiayao nodded.
Yang Momo gestured for the two Eunuchs to release her.
Ye Jiayao massaged her aching wrists and said, “Please have Consort Mei rest assured that a commoner like me only wants to live life peacefully. If no one offends me, I won’t offend anyone.”
Yang Momo’s jaw almost dropped. This little chef was too savage. She wanted to throw out a few more threats but the thought of His Majesty waiting made her swallow them back in.
“Remember, Consort Mei has already released you a long time ago. You are delayed by the palace maids in Zhao Hua palace hall who ask you for pointers in pastries.”
Ye Jiayao sneered silently. They’ve detained her and now they wanted to help her with their lies? Fat chance.
She nodded dutifully and slipped out of that godforsaken place.
“Yaoyao, are you alright? Are you hurt?” Helian Jing asked with concern when he saw Yaoyao come out.
“No. However, if you guys were a little later…” Ye Jiayao trailed off distastefully. The females in this palace were all turning out to be just rich brats.
Eunuch Gao said, “Head Chef Li, His Majesty personally appointed you today to prepare his lunch. Please follow me to the imperial kitchen!”
Ye Jiayao gaped at him. She was going to what?
I don’t even know what my life is right now.
Helian Jing chimed in encouragingly, “Yaoyao, this is your chance! Go for it!”
Ye Jiayao nodded vigorously. She would pull out all her special skills and pour everything she has into this meal. She would make a meal that His Majesty would not forget.
She squared her shoulders and followed Eunuch Gao to the imperial kitchen.
The moment she stepped foot in the imperial kitchen, Ye Jiayao nearly burst into tears. Oh, my God! This kitchen is so huge! And so many chefs! This is amazing!
Eunuch Gao brought her straight to the innermost row of the building and said, “This is the kitchen where His Majesty’s meals are made.”
An imperial chef immediately bounded over to Eunuch Gao. “Eunuch Gao, what are His Majesty’s orders?”
Eunuch Gao replied, “You can take a rest today, Head Chef Lu. His Majesty has personally appointed Head Chef Li to make his lunch.”
He continued, “This is Head Chef Lu who is personally in charge of His Majesty’s meals. This is Heavenly Residence’s Head Chef Li Yao.”
Lu Yiming looked Li Yao over. So this was the Heavenly Residence’s head chef who was currently the talk of the food and beverage industry of Jin Ling. Everyone was marveling over his chilled drinks, his ice cream mooncakes, his vegetarian longevity noodles, and many other dishes he just invented.
He thought that someone with such culinary skills would be at least over 30 years old, but the person standing in front of him was a mere young chap who was yet to grow a beard. This astonished him greatly.
Lu Yiming was wondering if he could really perform as well as everybody was saying or if he was just overly hyped.
Ye Jiayao asked cautiously,”May I dare ask if you are Lu Yiming, Head Chef Lu?”
“I am,” Lu Yiming replied.
Ye Jiayao was elated. “Head Chef Lu, it is an honor to meet you! You have always been my role model. I am so beyond happy to meet my idol today, I don’t know what to say.”
Ye Jiayao’s excitement was a little exaggerated. She didn’t want for Lu Yiming to think that she was replacing him. She knew how easy jealousy and suspiciousness could ruin a person’s credibility so she wanted Lu Yiming to like her. He was top notch character in Huai Song’s food industry and as he was her senior, she has to humble herself before him. And yes, even bootlick if necessary.
“Idol?” Lu Yiming asked in confusion.
Ye Jiayao wanted to slap herself for her slip up. “It means role model, like a person you respect the most in your heart.”
Lu Yiming chuckled a little, finding this chap weird but cute.
Ye Jiayao was thankful for the practice in acting that Black Wind Ridge gave her. At this point, she could probably praise a lump of shit into a stalk of a flower.
“What are you intending to make today?” Lu Yiming asked.
Although Ye Jiayao has pondered over the dishes she was going to prepare on the way here, she still has to know more about the Emperor’s preferences.
Ye Jiayao looked at Eunuch Gao.
Eunuch Gao smiled and said, “His Majesty said you just have to bring out your specialty dish. The Young Royal Highness Jing did recommend your iron plate mushrooms to His Majesty.”
Ye Jiayao asked quickly, “Is there anything that His Majesty cannot eat? Does he prefer strong flavors or something light?”
Eunuch Gao laughed. “You have to ask Head Chef Lu.”
With Eunuch Gao around, Lu Yiming would naturally tell her everything without leaving anything out.
Ye Jiayao found out that His Majesty liked to drink soup so she decided that she’d make Budda Jumps Over the Wall. This soup smelled and tasted fantastic, a definite pleaser. And since she knew the imperial kitchen has all the ingredients under the sky, she knew that she’d be able to make this.
Ye Jiayao picked her ingredients carefully and started.
Lu Yiming pointed at a few chefs in the kitchen and said, “If you need help, feel free to order them around.”
Ye Jiayao smiled gratefully. “I just need some help to wash these vegetables clean.”
She actually really didn’t need anyone’s help. In Heavenly Residence, she has to make more than ten tables of dishes all by herself so this wasn’t really any trouble. However, she was making a royal meal for the Emperor today, she has to be extra conscientious.
First, she has to handle the various ingredients needed for Buddha Jumps Over the Wall. There were 18 different ingredients necessary for this dish, and the culinary skills were more complicated than usual. It also required a high attention to the control of the fire.
She intended to save this dish for when she opens her own restaurant, but for this special opportunity, she’d let the Emperor be the first to enjoy it.
Lu Yiming was still skeptical of Li Yao’s skills. He doesn’t know how could such a young chef be worthy to cook the Emperor’s lunch.
Ye Jiayao washed the sand off the shark’s fins before stacking them neatly on top of a bamboo grate. She added some Shao Xing yellow wine, spring onion, and ginger into boiling water before putting the shark’s fins into the boiling water to cook. After removing their fishy smell, she scooped them up and placed some lard on top of the shark’s fins. She drizzled a bit of Shao Xing yellow wine before putting them in a steaming tray to steam over a large fire.
Immediately after that, she sliced the fish lips into equal sizes and also put them in the boiling water to remove the fishy smell.
After that, she moved on to the rest; abalones, chicken, duck, pig trotters, pork belly, goat elbows, beef tendons, duck gizzards, fish maws, sea cucumbers, scallops, calipash, pigeon eggs, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms.
Lu Yiming watched Li Yao cook, growing more and more confused. He didn’t know what dish he was making. It all seemed complicated and out of order.
While the ingredients for Buddha Jumps Over the Wall were steaming, Ye Jiayao moved on to the preparation of the other dishes.
She sliced an X on the shiitake mushrooms, minced the streaky pork, and made a meat patty with starch and other seasonings. This would be pasted on the bottom of the shiitake mushrooms, which would be pan-fried.
The eggplant was cut into sections, dug out, filled in with seasoned ground meat, and placed in the steaming tray.
The heads, shell, and tendons of the prawns were removed, leaving only the tail of the prawn. Another plate of shrimps was grounded into a paste and placed beside the ground meat for further use.
Potatoes were cut into strips, then fried until golden-brown in hot oil. The cowpea and eggplant were cut into the same length and were also deep fried.
After all of these were done, she picked up a radish and started carving. Following some knife shaves, digs, and spirals, realistic flowers of different forms started to come together.
Lastly, Ye Jiayao picked up a huge carrot and began to carve a flying dragon.
Everyone in the imperial kitchen was stunned into absolute silence. They were all riveted to the carving knife and the carrot in Li Yao’s hands.
They weren’t impressed with her thorough and methodical process earlier as everyone in the imperial kitchen could do that. It wasn’t until she started to produce lifelike radish flowers and carrot dragons that they started to notice her. They were all amazed by the exquisite carving skills.
Lu Yiming’s dubious expression turned grave. Although some chefs knew how to carve, their patterns were simple and easy to replicate. Complicated patterns like Li Yao’s was a first for him and it astonished him. Li Yao’s estimation of the shape, the control, the preciseness… it all spoke of his excellent skills.
While Lu Yiming admired Li Yao’s excellence, he was worried. Why was this young chap here?
Eunuch Gao was extremely astounded by the flying dragon that was slowly taking shape. Who is this young chef?
After carving two flying dragons, she made a quick carving of a cloud and set the two dragons on it with bamboo sticks. Finally, she scooped up a luster ball made of radish and embedded it between the two dragons’ mouth, forming the image of two dragons playing with a pearl.
Ye Jiayao then proceeded to slice cucumbers, tomato strips, and other supplementary ingredients before plating up.
The ingredients in the steaming tray were almost done. Ye Jiayao prepared them in order and placed them into a vat that had Shao Xing wine. She added the chicken and duck soup before finally sealing the vat with a lotus leaf, cupping a bowl over it, and putting the vat over firewood to simmer over a small fire.
Lu Yiming finally understood the various ingredients Li Yao had prepared beforehand. They were all for one dish! He could not help but be flabbergasted. He has never seen such complicated cooking method before. It looked like a pot of mixed stew, but every ingredient was prepared very meticulously.
The urgency and pressure he was feeling earlier began to rise.
He felt as though he was about to be replaced.