Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 56
Chapter 56: Furious
Translator: YTJS_ Editor: Perriemix
The next day, as soon as Ye Jiayao stepped inside Heavenly Residence, Deng Haichuan pulled her aside.
“Brother Xiang was furious last night, you better watch out,” he warned her.
Ye Jiayao smiled upon hearing this and asked, “How was he furious?”
Deng Haichuan looked at brother Yao, confused as to how he was still smiling.
“I did as you told me to. After drinking, I told everyone that it was a treat by brother Xiang. He looked so mad so I told him that you gave back his reward plus another two taels. Brother Xiang did not say anything for a long time and then he just suddenly smashed a vat of wine! He got right in my face, I thought he was going to beat me up! I was lucky he didn’t, otherwise, I’d be going to work black and blue today,” Deng Haichuan said, his lingering trepidation evident. This time, he has offended brother Xiang by standing by Li Yao. From now on, he would have to stay near the new chef in case brother Xiang tried something.
Ye Jiayao imagined Zhong Xiang’s furious expression, and could not help but laugh. Indeed, she was out to tease Zhong Xiang. She wanted to punish him for mocking her with Liu Qisheng yesterday.
She patted Deng Haichuan’s shoulder comfortingly. “It’s okay. I forked out the money while everyone thought he was just being generous enough to treat them. The worst that he could do was pay me back!”
Ye Jiayao guessed right, as not long after, Zhong Xiang came over to her, his foul mood obvious to everyone. He smacked four and a half taels on the table in front of her and said hatefully, “Here’s your money. I will treat everyone if I want to, there is no need for you to be hypocritical.”
Ye Jiayao purposely acted as if she was the wronged one. “Brother Xiang, I think you are mistaken. We all work together and we all work hard, it is only right that everyone shares the reward. You refuse to accept your share so I thought I would just top up a little and treat everyone to drinks. The majority of the amount was really coming from you, so naturally, you are the one treating. If I have done anything wrong, I’m sorry. I am new to here and I don’t know the rules, so please, don’t hold it against me.”
Ye Jiayao’s words won the consent of the majority. For a long time now, the kitchen had been dominated by Master Chef Niu. The other workers were always treated as if they were beneath him as he scolded and belittled them. Chef Li Yao was a blessing for them. He empathized with their sufferings and credited them for their work. They thought that what Li Yao did was merely an effort to endear brother Xiang to them. Brother Xiang was just a tad too narrow-minded to realize it.
Cui Dongpeng stood up and said, “That’s right, Brother Xiang. Brother Yao only wants everyone to have a good time. He means no harm.”
Zhong Xiang turned to them, biting his tongue. Are you happy now? Are you happy seeing me get played by this newbie? Why do you believe him so easily? I’ve been with you for years!
There was a saying that goes, ‘there is no need to be afraid of a god-like opponent, but instead, be afraid of a pig-like teammate’. Unfortunately for Zhong Xiang, his pig-like teammate has chosen this moment to appear.
Liu Qisheng pointed at the crowd angrily. “You people, are you really this blinded by this new guy? How does Brother Xiang usually treat you all? When did Brother Xiang not stand up and take the brunt for you when Head Chef Niu gets angry? Now that you receive a few taels from someone, all of a sudden, you found a new hero?”
“Liu Qisheng, how can you say something like this? I think the situation has ended up like that because you are stirring up shit.” Wang Mingde, who was usually silent, jumped out.
“That’s right! So what if brother Yao has shared his rewards with us? What made him my friend was his words of encouragement and praise. The money is only secondary,” Cui Dongpeng defended.
Everyone agreed, and suddenly, Liu Qisheng became the target of everyone’s frustrations and was verbally attacked from all sides.
Zhong Xiang’s face showed absolute defeat. He felt as though everyone was abandoning him, choosing to stand on Li Yao’s side.
Ye Jiayao stepped in between the fight to resolve it. “Everyone, stop it. This is all my fault, it is because I lack consideration.”
“Brother Yao, you are not at fault,” Wang Mingde disagreed.
Deng Haichuan scowled and hurriedly said, “It is all my fault. I am to blame. Brother Yao didn’t want me to say anything, yet I had a drop too much, and I couldn’t think straight. Brother Xiang, brother Yao, this is all my fault, I apologize.”
Ye Jiayao stole a glance at Deng Haichuan, surprised at his quick wit.
Public opinions all sided Ye Jiayao while Liu Qisheng has been drowned in criticism. Zhong Xiang was now isolated with no one in his corner. He turned to walk out, discouraged.
Ye Jiayao said, “Everyone, go back to work. I will talk to brother Xiang.”
Zhong Xiang was sat on the grindstone in the courtyard, sulking. Ye Jiayao walked over, sitting beside him.
“Brother Xiang, I know what you think of me. ‘What right does this chap have to be on equal footing with me? Is it because of her relationship with Li Erniang, or because he is good-looking?'” Ye Jiayao said in Zhong Xiang’s voice.
Zhong Xiang rolled his eyes, unamused.
Ye Jiayao continued, “You have strived for years to get to where you are today, and yet here I am, so young and surpassing you. It’s not fair to you.” Ye Jiayao let out a bitter laugh. “News flash, there is nothing fair in this world.”
“I say this without modesty – in this kitchen, no one has studied culinary for a longer time than I have. I am born in a family of chefs. My father was carrying me to the kitchen to learn before I could even speak. Before I even learned how to use a chopstick, I was already wielding a spatula. At six, I was cooking for my whole family standing on a stool. When everyone was playing with mud and catapults, I was playing with knives. Although skills and talent are important, without hard work, you won’t go far. You might think otherwise, but I definitely did not put in lesser work than any of you.”
Listening to her story, Zhong Xiang gradually calmed down. No wonder this chap is so good! He’s from a family of chefs!
“Knowing Li Erniang is purely coincidental. I came to Jin Ling and stayed at her motel. She found out that I am a chef looking for a job, and since you guys have an opening, she brought me here to apply. Brother Xiang, I admit that in terms of skills, you might not be worse than me. You have to know, though, that cooking is not a rigid process of strictly sticking to the recipe. Cooking is like completing a unique work of art, incorporating the feelings of the cook to give it its unique flavour. A lot of people do not understand this that’s why they don’t progress to anything more than a chef.”
“With regards to this, I am better than you, Brother Xiang, you have to admit,” Ye Jiayao said in a matter-of-fact way, looking straight at Zhong Xiang confidently.
Zhong Xiang wanted to say something but hesitated. This was the first time he has heard such a novel idea, and after mulling it over, he realized that it was logical. He treated every dish as a mission to be completed. Being a chef was only a way to earn a living, he has never thought of it as something so profound.
“Perhaps you feel that by sharing my reward, I am boasting and trying to win everyone over. I assure you, I don’t have any intentions of boasting. I personally know the sufferings of a chef, especially those at the very bottom, because I experienced it as well. I shared my reward purely in the hopes of appropriately reciprocating everyone for their hard work.”
“As for winning everyone over, I admit, it was part of my reason. However, I wasn’t trying to form cliques. It is not easy for everyone to work together, so I just wanted to get everyone in high spirits to work more harmoniously together. Also, I’m new. I don’t want you to just see me as someone ‘higher’ than you guys. I wanted for you to see me as a part of the team.”
Zhong Xiang couldn’t find the words to refute her explanation.
“From the moment I felt your hostility, I asked around the brothers privately as to what kind of person you are. The answer I got was surprisingly unanimous; they say you are a good person. Let me ask you, brother Xiang, if you were the one in that situation who has received the tips, would you share it with everyone?”
Zhong Xiang thought about it and was a bit ashamed knowing that there was a big chance that he would not be able to do it.
Ye Jiayao smiled. “I heard that you do pastry well. With my ideas and your skills, perhaps pastry will become Heavenly Residence’s yet another signature dish. As long as we work together with sincerity, I think Shopkeeper Li would not need to hire a head chef. This is my chance as well as yours. Whether we pit ourselves against each other, or work together, is up to you, brother Xiang.”
Zhong Xiang was a little moved. Li Yao has spoken to him so frankly and sincerely that he opened his mind, making him see the error of his ways. For a moment, he felt hope stir in his heart.
Can he really be trusted?
With her work done, Ye Jiayao took out the four and a half taels that he returned to her and placed it on the grindstone. “If you choose to go against me all the way, then you can smack this right in front of me again. If you think that I am not that bad and is worthy of being your friend, then accept this money.”
Ye Jiayao looked at him one last time before returning to the kitchen. When she turned around, she saw more than 10 heads sticking out of the kitchen door. When they saw her turn around, all of them scattered away, acting as if nothing happened.
These people. Were they afraid that she would exchange blows with Zhong Xiang? Ye Jiayao shook her head in amused disbelief.
She has never been the type of person to give in and suffer in silence. If people were nice to her, then she would reciprocate. If they didn’t want anything to do with her, then she shall send them on their way. Simple.
However, she trusted Zhong Xiang to make the right decision. If their fight gets ugly, it should already be clear to Zhong Xiang who Shopkeeper Li will choose to keep.
Everyone was busy in the kitchen yet all of them were not working with a peace of mind, constantly looking out towards the door. They were wondering why brother Xiang hasn’t returned yet.
“Brother Yao, why do you think brother Xiang has not returned? Should I go…” Deng Haichuan chose to stand by Li Yao but he still wished that both brother Yao and brother Xiang coexist peacefully.
“No need. Let him think it through,” Ye Jiayao said plainly.
Only when Zhong Xiang has sorted it out by himself could this issue be settled.
After another cup of tea, Zhong Xiang returned.
Everyone fixed their eyes on Zhong Xiang’s figure, tracking his movement as he walked across the kitchen. Zhong Xiang took his apron and tied it on before turning to his chopping board and started chopping.
Everyone silently heaved a sigh of relief. The kitchen was finally at peace.
The corner of Ye Jiayao’s mouth turned up into a smile. She expected that she and Zhong Xiang wouldn’t have any more problems like this in the future. From what everyone said, and what she observed, Zhong Xiang seemed like a very tolerant man. She knew that his patience was what caused him to explode. After all, suppressed emotions never did any good for anyone.
“Brother Yao, Brother Yao, Young Prince Jing is here again to see you.” Little Lu ran excitedly to the kitchen.
Ye Jiayao frowned. Didn’t she tell him yesterday not to come so frequently? It was not even lunchtime yet!
“I am busy, let him wait.” Ye Jiayao said.
Everyone gasped, finding brother Yao so imposing that he dared to give the prince the cold shoulder.