Editor: King of the End
Yesterday, Duchess Renalier put me through a trial. The content was to point out the mistakes of the dishes that were prepared by her chefs, then make dishes that surpassed them. I cleared the trial safely, and while I’m staying in this place, I’m wearing the title of Honored Head Chef, facing the banquet with the four Grand Duke’s attendance, and obtaining permission to use the enormous budget as well as all the facilities in this estate to my heart’s content.
However, happy isn’t the only thing that I’m feeling. There are only six days left to fulfill my duty of creating the best menu.
There’s not much time.
The full course this time is created to showcase the ending, my pastry. There’s no room for any compromise.
“Kurt-sama, you’re thinking about the menu, aren’t you? Can’t you use the menu that you’ve thought of before coming here?”
Looking worried, Tina asks that question to me.
Frankly speaking, I’ve approved of a menu before, I’ve even prepared everything and let them rest.
In particular, I’ve fermented a condiment to be used in the main dish; I’ve put it in a sealed jar, and it’s still going through the fermentation process right now.
The day I have to cook the full course, it will be just the right time to be enjoyed.
And then, I also have the shikabushi, venison flakes, that are several weeks old. Other ingredients that needed to be fermented for a while like chocolate has already been prepared too. I’ve come here after arranging all sorts of ingredients from Eclaba, the town in Margrave Fernande’s territory.
“I wonder if that’s beneficial at this point. I kind of changed my mind after seeing the tuna that we ate yesterday. That sort of ingredient couldn’t be found in Eclaba, and that was actually really good.”
I never dreamed that I would be this attracted after eating that top grade tuna. I planned to put a tuna dish as hors d’oeuvres. And then……
“Just from going out to the town for a bit, I might find other great ingredients. That’s why, today I intended to go tour the town. If I can think of better recipes from scratch there, I’m going to gradually change them.”
I must do that if I aim for the ultimate full course.
“Kurt-sama, amazing as usual. But, maybe it’ll disturb the balance in the full course that you’ve thought about, so it’s dangerous.”
“That’s a difficult issue to tackle. I don’t have time to test them out either. But, compromising is impossible for me, so I can only do my very best to prevent that from happening.”
That’s my stubbornness as someone who’s in the food business.
While I was having that kind of talk with Tina, someone knocked on the door. It should be the arrival of the guide to the town that I asked for from Duchess Renalier.
The door is opened.
“Hmp, nobody knows better about the marketplace in this town than I do. For an all-important banquet, I’ll contribute my own power too.”
The person in front of me is a man with a great physique in his prime age…… the head chef who belongs to Duchess Renalier, Venaritta.
“I’m really grateful for the knowledge and experience that you’re sharing with us. But is it really all right?”
I ended up crushing this man’s pride to dust in that trial. I made head chef Venaritta admit in front of his master that he wasn’t as good a chef as I was.
“You lad, don’t fret about what’s passed. It makes you dull. I recognize your skills. So I gotta pay my respect. Besides, this full course will decide our master’s fate. If I can do something good for it, I won’t hold back from cooperating with you.”
I was slightly surprised. He’s truly a big-hearted man. Only a few will admit their inferiority against someone else, let alone cooperate with that same person.
“Well, I owe you lad a favor too, though.”
“You kept under the rug my boys’ reckless moves that obstructed you from your task. Sorry about that. I heard about that afterwards. They were only thinking about me that they did such thing to a chef. If you told Duchess Renalier about it, boy, everyone wouldn’t just get discharged. Usually, they are a sincere lot towards cooking. It’ll be painful to see them fall just from one mistake.”
So it’s about that case. I didn’t tell the duchess out of my self-interest. I just didn’t want to let it blow out of proportion.
“No, don’t mind about it. I still could make a nice dish anyway. Besides, if that small hindrance caused me to get your help, I got it for cheap.”
“Again, thank you. I will give you my full cooperation, along with the boys’ too. And then, please let them learn a lot of things from you lad. I think that you will breathe some fresh air into the stagnant cooking of this town.”
“Likewise. Please let me learn a lot of things that I don’t know here, as well.”
Head chef Venaritta and I stiffly shake our hands. His help would be greatly appreciated, though. There should be countless secret spots and special purchasing routes that could only be known by a big wheel in this area. Every chef has their own connections. That’s something that I can’t achieve as a newcomer. With that being settled, we head out to the marketplace by the coach that Duchess Renalier arranged before.
The coach was shaking on the way to the marketplace. There are head chef Venaritta, my cute silver haired fox kin girl assistant, Tina, a pretty elf with golden hair, Chloe, and then several men who posed as guards/helpers.
“So, what do you want, lad? The marketplace here is huge. We can’t make a full round, you know.”
We definitely won’t have enough time.
The only thing that I won’t budge on is the dessert, the chocolate cake. It is my specialty. There’s no way I will bend this one over.
The main meat dish is the same; I’ve prepared the condiment for that dish for more than a week. I prepared the duck meat that would be just right to be eaten at the banquet’s timing. So I can’t change out this one either.
In that case……
“Herbs and spices. I want to try and obtain everything that I can only buy in this place. It should be able to make the flavors deeper or more complex than now. And then, fish. My current fish dish still doesn’t have impact. I want a simple and fleshy fish. It’ll be better if it’s the white-fleshed kind with strong umami flavor.”
When head chef Venaritta heard me, he kept nodding his head. And then, he speaks.
“If you’re looking for herbs and spices, I know a good wholesale dealer. There are ordinary varieties there, but the owner also showcased all their prized ones to me. Let’s head over there.”
Wholesale, huh? I see, in that place, there’s no need to take a look around many shops then, in that case.
“And next, the fish. There’s a goods distributor who always delivered his best fishes to me, he’s some kind of connoisseur too. I always get the fish that he’s handpicked. If we go to his place, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
How very Renalier’s employee-like, these selections. Terrifyingly efficient.
The day passes as we visit one small shop after another. We decided to go to the wholesale dealer and goods distributor that head chef Venaritta recommended. In that kind of moment.
“Wait! Stop the coach, please.”
I issue the order in panic and immediately leap out of the coach. We just crossed paths with hunters. They are robust-looking men. They were carrying some deer over their shoulders, that had been blood-let and cleaned. I call out to them.
“You, wait up! Are you selling that deer?”
“The hell, man? You just jumped out of a fancy-looking coach.”
“Don’t mind that. I’m asking if you’re selling that deer.”
“Yea, you got it right. We’re hunters from a nearby village. We came here to sell the things that we’re not eating there.”
As I thought. In that case, I have something to request of them.
“I see. Today’s meat looks great, but if you catch a deer early in the morning six days from now, can you deliver the deer to the place I’m staying at? I want something freshly caught in the morning only. I’ll pay five times the market price.”
In the full course this time, I have a startling budget. That’s why I can do things recklessly like this.
“Five times, how can we trust you?”
“As the chef in the ducal house of Renalier, I’m making something special six days from now. The deer is necessary for that. I won’t lie with Duchess Renalier’s reputation as my responsibility. Take a look at the coach behind me.”
When I say so, the hunters take a good look at the coach behind me. They found the Renalier House’s crest and their eyes widened in an instant. After all, she’s this town’s governor. The hunters will definitely recognize her crest.
“You, so you’re that kind of important person. Got it. If I get the help of my fellow hunters, I’ll deliver a freshly caught deer for you. Because you’re gonna pay up five times the normal price properly, am I right?”
I grin. Originally, without fermenting the meat after the hunt first, it’s hard to get that umami flavor. However, the dish that I’m going to make is an exception; it really needs a freshly caught deer.
That’s why I intended to strike it off of my list. But if I can procure the fresh ingredient, I can make the best hors d’oeuvres. These hunters caught the deer while barely wounding it, they also seem to do the follow up work with expertise.
After that, we chatted for a while before splitting up after I gave them the deposit. Since there’s a possibility of them failing to hunt a deer or to run away after getting the deposit, let’s procure a back up plan.
After that, I’ve bought plenty of great herbs and spices that I’m satisfied with. With these, I can give depth to the dishes. And then, I found a fish that I finally saw in this world….. It’s eel. An eel dish is unexpected, but they are highlighted in the French cuisine too. After deciding the fish dish this time to be eel-based, I buy them. With that, the shopping is done. With this, the quality of the fish dish just jumps up with a rise. I finally decided the details of the full course’s dishes from the ingredients that I procured today. But first things first……
“I have to make some white sugar. I wonder if it’ll turn out good, though.”
My chocolate cake won’t be good to be paired with honey. It’s important to use sugar, but the only thing existing here is only some unrefined brown sugar. Brown sugar retains the impurity in the flavor. Though I can make a pastry that will highlight that rustic beauty of the flavor, it’s difficult to make a delicate, high class pastry with it. That’s why, I have to refine some white sugar from the brown sugar with my own hands.
Truth to be told, I only knew how to do it, but I never did it before. Whether I can obtain it successfully or not will change the dessert’s quality by one rank. I feel a little anxious, but let’s try it first anyway.
This is the turning point. I put in my fighting spirit.
So can I ask you to buy me some fishies? ?? https://ko-fi.com/isecai
Don’t ask me why the title is “Eclaba’s Ingredients” when it’s clearly Märlar. =v= It’s still the same too in the LN.
The unrefined brown sugar is called “black sugar” in Japanese. Sounds poetic when being compared with white sugar, eh?
Unagi (eel) dish is always expensive in the Japanese restaurants around me //cries I really love me some unadon though ;;;; But I haven’t tried French-style eels -v-