The Cooking Competition (2)
“Now then, the first match ended with the Empire’s victory! The next match will be the meat-related dish!”
The audience became more and more hyped up alongside Lana’s commentary.
Since the Empire took the first match, the spectators from the Empire’s side were really excited.
Given our international exchange student status, we were seen as the away team.
“Well then, commentator Marthe-san, what do you think of the meat-related dish that’s coming up?”
“It’s the main course of the meal, huh. This one is really important. You could even raise the stakes for this match and make it worth two points.”
“You’re absolutely right, but if we did that, it’ll make things too messy!”
“Well, it can’t be helped then.”
I personally would’ve been grateful if it was like that, but it wasn’t going to happen.
In any case, we could not afford to lose this match.
“Lene, Alea, I’m counting on you.”
“Leave it to us, Rei-chan.”
“I’ll do my best, Rei-okaasama.”
The two of them looked quite strong as they nodded to me from where they stood in the kitchen.
“Lene-oneesama, Alea, fight onー!”
Mei was all fired up and cheering for us from the stands.
For Mei, who loved Alea a lot, she was paying extra close attention to her.
“Wouldn’t it be better if ye just gave up already?”
The head chef tried to provoke the two.
He had a lot of persuasion power, but Lene and Alea spent a lot of time around Claire-sama, who was even more provocative.
Something like that wasn’t going to have any effect on them.
“Keep laughing while you still can.”
“We won’t lose.”
Both Lene and Alea dished it back to him.
These two really were quite reliable.
But Mei, that booing is in bad taste, so stop it.
“Without further ado, let’s get started with the main dish! On your marks, get set…… go!”
At Lana’s call, the members from both the Empire’s side and Bauer’s team began cooking.
“Oh my, there’s a mighty cute little chef on the Bauer team, isn’t there?”
“According to the files we have on hand, it seems that Alea is only six years old. But despite being that young, she seems to be good at cooking.”
“Let’s see what she’s got.”
I was the one who told my team members that they could choose whatever they wanted to do, but I was a little anxious about whether or not Alea was actually able to take on the job.
However, as far as I could see, there was nothing to worry about.
She was excellent at supporting Lene, who was the main chef out of the two.
As her teacher, I felt incredibly proud.
“Oi, ye over there.”
“Are you talking about me?”
“That’s right, I’m talkin’ to ye! Even though yer team over there is already filled with nothin’ but brats, yer an actual child! Are ye guys stupid or something!”
The head chef, who was staring at Alea, seemed to be filled with indignation.
Hmph, they’re the ones that are being stupid.
“Even though I’m a child, back at home, I’m considered one of the cooks for my family. For you to look down on me so much, I’m guessing you’ve had some bad experiences in the past, am I right?”
The head chef was trembling all over.
That’s good, Alea.
Keep it coming.
“Let’s take a look at how both parties are doing! We’ll start with the Empire’s side……. Ohー? It seems like they’re preparing some kind of really long skewer.”
“Yeah, I can kind of see where this is going. The head chef is most likely planning to make a certain something.”
“A certain something, you say?”
“Yep. It’s something that’s recently gained popularity among the citizens in the Empire.”
When I looked over, the head chef was alternating between skewering thinly sliced beef and beef tallow.
He was getting them ready to stick them into a large cooking furnace.
I could also tell what he was doing.
That was probably the meat-related dish that the head chef was planning to serve.
“On the other hand, what’s the Bauer team up to?”
“Oh my, it seems like they’re using beef and asparagus. I can sort of imagine what they’re trying to make as well.”
“As expected of Marthe-san! A veteran of thirty years in this field’s got different things to say!”
“Please spare me.”
“Now now, things are getting really heated up! As usual, this event is brought to you by a business that is always on your side – the Frater Company!”
This is getting exhausting, so please make it stop.
Lene, the owner of the company in question, was grinning.
“Alea-chan, how’s the meat?”
“I’ve finished grilling it! Could you please take a look at it?”
“Yep, it looks fine. I’m finished with the soup here as well. Let’s combine the two together now and carefully simmer it!”
Alea was eagerly giving it her all to support Lene.
Claire-sama also watched over them with a worried look on her face.
“It looks like both sides have finished with their dishes! We’ll be moving onto the tasting phase! Let’s start off with the Empire’s side…… wait, it looks like something incredibly amazing is being brought out!?”
The chefs from the Empire’s side brought out several skewers that were packed with chunks of meat out.
The scent of the spices drifted in the air and blew over towards our noses.
Immediately after that, I heard the sound of a stomach growling from right next to me.
“T-That was my mistake. I can’t believe my body reacted towards the head chef’s cooking.”
“Well, they made something delicious, after all.”
“……. Have you eaten it before?”
“Yeah, sort of.”
Of course, I was referring to my past life, though.
“I feel like a traitor.”
“I’ll make it at home for us next time. Although it’ll probably be budget-sized.”
Putting our conversation aside.
“I made a dish called a doner kebab. It’s been gainin’ popularity lately, so I’ve always wanted to try makin’ it. Ye could also have this in-between some bread and fill it with veggies, but this time, I wanted ye to enjoy it with just the meat and the spices alone.”
With a largish kitchen knife, the head chef shaved off pieces of meat off the lump of meat his subordinate supported.
Not only did they have the taste locked down, but they were also going for performance points as well.
“Now then, judges, if you will, please eat up!”
Philine and the others began eating the kebabs.
“It’s delicious. Ever since I first heard about these, I’ve always wanted to try them. With the use of the spices, it tastes quite spicy, doesn’t it?”
“I’ll give them a point for the beef tallow that is sandwiched within all of this. The meat juices that keep dripping is unbearable, though.”
This was also being quite well-received.
Just looking at the dramatic pose he was striking, the head chef looked strong.
“Now then, let’s move onto what the Bauer team made!”
“Our dish is a cream of asparagus soup made with veal.”
Lene introduced the name of the dish, while Alea went to serve the judges.
“On the surface, we combined the savory and tender grilled veal meat along with the cream of asparagus soup, which is a traditional dish in the Empire. Please enjoy the taste of this classic dish that we made.”
From the veal meat that was floating around in the soup to the rich butter and the in-season asparagus, all of the scents drifted together through the air.
It wasn’t as flashy as the doner kebab, but instead, it was so elegant that it made you want to sit up straight for it.
“Well then, please eat up!”
The judges took their spoons to their mouths.
“This is…… delicious! This also gives off a really nostalgic taste, but it also feels quite new……”
“This soup really gives off the feeling of spring…… As expected, you can’t go through spring without having cream of asparagus soup at least once.”
“This is delicious. Can I get another bowl?”
We seemed to be getting a good evaluation as well.
As expected of Lene.
Money wasn’t the only thing on her mind.
As the proprietress of an up-and-coming business, she was certainly proving her abilities here.
“It’s time to make a decision! If Bauer fails to take the point here, it’ll be considered a loss for them, but the result isー!?”
Another drum roll started playing.
The cards that got raised wereーー
“One point for the Empire, and two for Bauer! It’s a victory for Bauer! Hooray!”
“That was quite a surprising result, wasn’t it?”
With this, we’ve returned to an even playing field.
“Shall we grab the opinions from our judges? Philine-san?”
“I thought the kebab was delicious as well, but I think the soup is a better choice to serve at the banquet.”
“I see~ What about you, Joseph-san?”
“I ended up valuing its seasonal taste. It was delicious and dignified as well, but more than anything, the grease and fat in it is a little tough on the elderly.”
“I see, I see? What did you think, Your Majesty?”
“I gave a point to the kebab. It was simple and delicious. I like that.”
That would’ve been quite dangerous for us had the old man not been an elderly person.
“Thank you very much! With this, the match is now even with one point to each side! Things are getting more and more interesting, wouldn’t you agree, commentator Marthe-san!”
“That’s right. It seems that the cooks from Bauer are quite capable too. That girl’s name was Alea-chan, wasn’t it? She did an amazing job. I’m looking forward to what she can do in the future.”
“This message has been approved by a thirty-year veteran! Alea-chan, the future looks bright for you!”
“T-Thank you very much…….”
Alea seemed a little abashed by the commentary.
She was having a hard time with all of the patronization going on in kindergarten, so I hoped that, after today, perhaps she could feel a little bit more confident in herself.
“……. Hah, aren’t ye lucky? Things won’t go yer way next time.”
“The next match will decide who takes the series, huh. Please go easy on us.”
“Don’t be stupid, ain’t it more interesting if we’re not going easy on each other! Fires and fights are just a feature of the Empire!”1
Wasn’t he basically saying that invasion was one of the Empire’s principles?
Hey, that’s kind of dangerous.
“Our final match will be the dessert dish! Make sure to stay tuned to this channel until the very end!”
Of course, the channel that the commentary was referring to was a type of channel formed through the use of wind magic.
It had nothing to do with televisions from the 21st century.
“Like usual, this event was sponsored and brought to you the Frater Company – a business that is always by your side!”
I told you to stop.
1) In Japanese, the head chef has a “child of Edo” (Edokko) accent, which means he speaks like somebody from the Edo period (before 1868). This phrase is supposed to be a parody of a saying back in the Edo period. ↵