Chapter 28: Is That Really A Mouth?
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
This man had a bit of a belly and a short stature. However, he carried a powerful aura and donned the robes of a chef. He was the honorable master chef, Liao Gu.
“It’s so noisy over here that I can hear it from the kitchen. What’s going on?” Liao Gu inquired, concerned about problems with his dishes.
Upon seeing Liao Gu, Zhang Baili broke out in a cold sweat. The owner of the restaurant saw that Liao Gu was visiting the area during his trip, so he asked for a huge favor from him and invited him to present his culinary skills at their restaurant for a day, hoping to increase its fame. Because the premium vinegar dragonfish was Liao Gu’s signature dish, with only one fish available, Liao Gu would surely know of the situation.
Zhang Baili rushed over to him.
“Master Liao, why have you come up here? It’s just a small matter, I’ll handle it.” Zhang Baili tried to shoo him off, terrified that Liao Gu would hear of his infidelity.
He’d heard that rumors were going around about Liao Gu having a short fuse and despised cases of customers being tricked.
Nonetheless, Zhang Baili’s worst fears came true. Liao Gu walked past him and headed straight for Lin Jin.
While Gu Mengzhong was prepping to leave, he caught sight of Liao Gu and stopped to smile. “It’s refreshing to meet an old friend in a foreign land. I didn’t want to disturb Master Liao, but since he’s up here, I’m going to greet him.”
Having said that, he too approached the scene.
At that moment, a burst of overlapping chatter erupted from the people around, including the customers. Accusations about Lin Jin filled the air, making it seem like he deliberately asked for a fight.
Lin Jin couldn’t care less, but as Zhao Ying and Lu Xiaoyun argued with the people around, their agitation whistled like a boiling kettle. Seeing that Zhao Ying was about to cry angry tears, Lin Jin shook his head. He had been busting his hump to be as humble about this incident as possible, but not only did they refuse to admit to tampering with the order, they were accusing Lin Jin instead.
‘If this can be tolerated, what can’t? Okay, bring it on. Let’s make things bigger.’
Just then, a chubby man came over.
“Sir, I am Liao Gu. I was the one who prepped this premium vinegar dragonfish. May I ask if there’s a problem?” Liao Gu wasn’t aware of the specifics. He only heard that there was a dispute about a premium vinegar dragonfish, so he came to ask out of curiosity. After all, he only brought pride in his dishes.
“It’s Masterchef Liao!”
“I heard he’s the world’s best chef. Even royalty and noblemen have to book him six months in advance just to taste his dishes.”
Hearing comments from the crowd, Lin Jin realized that this person was the marvelous Masterchef everyone was talking about. He saluted politely and elaborated on the incident.
“… And that’s what happened. I wasn’t intentionally trying to cause trouble, but fooling someone with a counterfeit is too much. When I demanded an explanation, I got an accusation from the manager for intending to dine and dash instead. If nobody is willing to explain, I, Lin Jin, would gladly take this to the officials.”
Lin Jin looked serious, emitting a dignified and noble aura, his speech clear and courteous, a polar opposite from who the crowd regarded as uneducated and a useless beast appraiser.
After hearing him out, Liao Gu nodded and then turned to the two plates of premium vinegar dragonfish, frowning.
And who was he?
He was the one and only world-renowned Masterchef -whose specialty was the premium vinegar dragonfish- who could tell a hoax just by looking.
The situation was just as Lin Jin had stated, someone had created a fake dish to trick the customer. Liao Gu lived in restaurants for most of his life, so how could he be so oblivious to let this trick slide past him? He turned to face Zhang Baili.
Aware that he was in deep sh*t, Zhang Baili bit his tongue and blood drained from his face.
Liao Gu asked Lin Jin, “May I know how did you tell?”
“By eating,” Lin Jin answered honestly.
It was true. He did eat the dish, but he spotted the difference because of the Museum, not the taste test.
“The fishes in both plates have similar size and identical smell, but their preparation methods and ingredients are different. If I’d tasted it correctly, this is a salmon carp from Khanh River. The appearance and meat texture of this fish is very similar to a dragonfish so it has been chosen as a counterfeit. I have to admit, this carp dish was very well-prepared, but it’s still not a dragonfish. The vinegar and carp clash with each other. If I’d eaten it with the one-year-old doe from the Mongolian Triangle and the three-year-old yellow chicken filled with sun energy that I’ve ordered, I might grow sluggish after that. Or worse, if I’m unlucky, I might even get sick.”
Lin Jin simply elaborated on the details of his concerns in case someone accused him again of being unreasonable.
Liao Gu was shocked beyond disbelief.
Lin Jin picked up his chopsticks and took a bite of the real premium vinegar dragonfish. After tasting it, he said, “Now this is genuine. Only, it’s a pity that this fish bared eggs in its belly. A dragonfish’s egg is bitter and unsuited for cooking. Chefs would normally dig them out. But in this dish, the fish is still mellow and flavorful. This must be due to the chef’s expert skills for it to taste so delicious.”
By then, everyone around gaped musingly, ‘One bite, and he could tell the age of the ingredients, the gender, and even if it’s pregnant? That’s out of this world. Is that really a mouth? Why can’t we tell anything?’
Liao Gu nodded and then made an abrupt curtsey towards Lin Jin.
The crowd gasped, especially Zhang Baili. He hadn’t had the slightest idea why Masterchef Liao would behave this way toward that brat.
“Uhm, Masterchef Liao, you…” Lin Jin was at a loss for words.
“Allow me to thank you, young man,” said Liao Gu. “If you hadn’t exposed this fraud, my reputation might have been destroyed in the hands of others.”
This shed some light on the situation. The crowd now understood that Lin Jin was right all along in saying that Symphony Restaurant used counterfeit ingredients to trick their customers. He wasn’t here to cause trouble, nor trying to cheat a meal. Immediately, everyone’s blame shifted to Symphony Restaurant.
“Meaning to say, that premium vinegar dragonfish earlier was a fake. Not only it wasn’t prepared by Masterchef Liao, but even the ingredients were replaced. How dare Symphony Restaurant try to cheat its customers.”
“To think I assumed this guy was spouting nonsense. If Masterchef Liao hadn’t been here personally to verify, who wouldn’t believe something like this actually happened? Hmph! I’m not coming here ever again.”
As he witnessed the birth of an angry mob, Zhang Baili’s blood almost completely drained his body, his fingers aquiver. The tables had turned so fast he didn’t have time to react. He wanted to retort and deny, but Masterchef Liao had backed it all up. No one would believe him now.
At the thought of what was going to happen to him, Zhang Baili grew faint. His pupils rolled back into his head and he passed out. Another wave of chaos followed.
Lin Jin beamed with satisfaction of this outcome. He thanked Liao Gu. If it weren’t for him, Lin Jin wouldn’t have cleared his name.
“Young man, it was all because of your extraordinary taste buds. I should be thanking you instead. Had you not exposed this scam, my reputation would have been at stake. I have no other skills other than cooking, but I’m proud of my dishes. I’ve been perfecting them my whole life. I only came here to work for a day because I’m acquainted with Symphony Restaurant’s owner, but who knew that something like this would happen. I have to talk to him about this and will never step foot in this establishment ever again,” Liao Gu spoke with a resolution in mind. He was evidently furious.
Because as a chef, this unquestionably crossed the line.
Zhang Baili who had been pinched awake for a while, the first thing he heard after he awoke was this declaration. He felt another blood rush to his head, a hiccup, and the man fell unconscious once more.
While no one paid Zhang Baili any attention, Liao Gu was very friendly toward Lin Jin. There was even a hint of admiration.
As a master who had poured his life’s backbreaking effort into perfecting the culinary arts, it was rare for Liao Gu to meet someone who could relish dishes to this extent. Hence, he felt an innate fondness for Lin Jin.
“Brother Liao, you look energetic even after so many years.” An amplifying voice sounded over.
It was the master of calligraphy, Gu Mengzhong!