Editor: King of the End
At last, it’s only two days before the banquet being attended by the Four Great Dukes. The whole Renalier estate is buzzing with activity.
In the Four Great Dukes’ banquet, it’s not only the Dukes who will be attending; their subordinates and even their servants numbering close to a hundred people in total.
Starting from tomorrow, the guests of honor will arrive in sequence. And then, each of them will require their own special hospitality, which is why this kind of busy atmosphere isn’t strange form.
“Head chef Kurt! Would this be appropriate for the preparation?”
“I finished the stock. Please taste it!”
Right now, I’m in the kitchen hall. Over here, the chefs of the Renalier house are receiving my instructions. After all, having more people means having more hands. It’s impossible for me to prepare all the staff’s duties on my own. And as expected, even without considering the servants of the guests, just the subordinates of the Four Great Dukes have surpassed thirty additional people already.
I don’t make them just by myself; on top of letting the servants help me out, I have to drill the cooking methods into them as well. As expected, though. Being a chef in this place means that their skills as chefs are first rate. Anyhow, besides the elites that Margrave Fernande handpicked and brought as my helpers, I also have the help of the prided chefs of Duchess Renalier. They quickly grasp the gist and remember them.
However, I still personally made the servings intended for the Four Great Dukes on my own, because I want to prepare the best of the best for them.
At the same time, there’s also the dessert, my chocolate cake specialty. If any troublesome mishaps occur in that, there’s no one else who can handle it but me, so I must make it by myself from start to finish.
The cake’s taste will deteriorate in one day after being fresh out of the oven. Frankly speaking, I want to make them all on the exact day, but there’s not nearly enough time for that. That’s why, other than those that will be served for the Four Great Dukes, I will make everything one day before. When I think about it, in reality, today is the deadline to drill all the necessary techniques into the other chefs. The time is running tight. Still, after being instructed for a few days now, they finally shape up.
“Yosh, the fish’s preparation there is great. The soup is…… yes, the sweetness of the vegetables are drawn out. But, the herb bouquet. It needs to be better. Add more parmesan.”
If they keep this up, they should be able to perform well in the day.
I open the paper that contains the recipes.
- Appetizer Tuna Tartare Steak and Seared Deer Liver
- Salad Steamed Shellfish and Tomato Salad with Deluxe Sauce
- Soup Deer Medicinal Soup
- Fish Dish Eel Soup in Puff Pastry Pie
- Meat Dish Roasted Jade Duck
- Dessert Deluxe Chocolate Cake
Overall, the main purpose is to keep the fat content low while raising the appetite.
For the cooking in this era, the tastiness of a dish equals the amount of grease. That’s why, I intentionally turn away from the fat content.
It is exactly because they are accustomed with greasy food that my skills will be the determining factor. That kind of full course dishes must be yet unknown to the Four Great Dukes. Delicate dishes that will showcase the natural flavor of the ingredients and bold preparation that will astonish the guests; those are my cooking’s forte.
“Yosh. Everyone, gather around. Let’s taste the soup.”
The soup this time is made through quite some time and effort. I pile up the vegetables and herbs of various kinds, and then extract the flavor for a whole day long. Bouillon de Légumes. With a technique that recently got extravagant praises in French cuisine. It’s the technique for a vegetable-based stock.
I’m not using herbs just for the taste. It is said to heal the stomach of those nobles who are so used to eating extravagant dishes day after day, accelerate their digestive system as well as used as medicine for internal disorders. I chose this dish to create the effect of making the dish afterwards even more delicious, efficiently so. This soup is a delicious and edible medicine. The role of the Soup in a full course meal isn’t simply as being delicious. It has to lead to the great flavor of the next dish. This vegetable soup is delicious on its own. However, there’s a little bit more to it.
“Typically, soup is carefully boiled for a long time. But this one is not just about that.”
The western soup is the same as here, typically prepared by boiling the ingredients until they turn into a rich soup. According to that theory, this cooking is finished after boiling the vegetables for a long time, like now. However, this is a deer soup. The real deal has only just begun.
“Look at it. It’s the soup technique of the far east land.”
I shave the shikabushi that I brought here with a knife into transparent flakes. Shikabushi is made from the most delicious hind legs of a deer, then dry aired and cured until it looks like bonito flakes.
Due to the curing process, the flakes version has overwhelmingly stronger umami than the raw meat. Even the Western world recognizes this method, the bonito flakes have that fishy smell that they cannot accept.
This shikabushi is the counter-measure for that issue. It doesn’t stink and it has strong umami; shikabushi is suitable for any kind of cooking.
I heat it up before pouring the vegetable soup into a small pot. And then, I add the thinly transparent shikabushi into it, and stir it for about ten seconds. That’s all it takes. It’s the so-called clear soup method. It’s enough to draw out the umami, and with such a short time, it won’t cause any bad smell from the meat. The moment the shikabushi is heated up, it will still ooze the wild game smell, after all. But with this, I can make a clear soup wherever I am. It’s still necessary to carefully boil the vegetables to pull out all those delicious flavors, but for meat, this method is better to obtain the umami without making it smell raw. It’s truly a soup that combines the Western and Japanese.
“Drink it up.”
When I speak like that, the surrounding chefs look bewildered. Their heads cannot catch up to the foreign cooking method.
“I shall be the first to try.”
Head chef Venaritta took a step forward, then received a small plate from me. He sipped the soup.
“……Delicious. I see now. So we can actually draw out the meat’s umami and vegetable’s sweetness to this extent. With the slowly boiled vegetables as the base, you sharply add the meat’s umami in an eye-opening harmony. There’s no wild game smell at all, which must be contributed to the unboiled method. Wonderful. This kind of soup is a new invention. I feel moved and will remember it well. Boys, what are you dallying around for!? Quickly drink that. You’ll learn well.”
With those words, the chefs started to drink from the soup that they had gathered before.
“So this kind of flavor does exist. What a perfectly clear taste.”
“With only ten seconds I can taste the meat’s umami to this extent.”
“So it can be this delicious even without butter or oil?”
The fellow chefs voiced out their impressions. Those sound like good reactions. The soup I made this time is exactly a foul play, though. Bouillon de Légumes, the latest method from the French cuisine world; the most advanced ingredient, shikabushi; moreover, the clear soup method of Japan. Also, the techniques to combine them with medicinal cooking knowledge. For the chefs of this world, it’s a soup that they absolutely cannot create.
“My, my. I thought I wouldn’t be surprised by anything that you brat made, but I’m still struck dumb. There will be hidden surprises in the other dishes too, won’t there?”
“Of course there will. This is a soup that will make the main dish shine until the very last moment, just a minor performance.”
The other dishes are elaborately planned with everything that I have as well. However, if it’s only about causing pure astonishment, this soup has to take the crown. It is completely different than the custom here.
Serving this to these chefs is deliberately planned so that they will have an easier time of listening to me afterwards. With that out of the way, if I make the dishes that will blow away their stereotypes, the chefs will instantly soften up to the idea. This should make their work after this become easier.
“Everyone, we don’t have much time. Let’s keep doing the preparations!”
To my voice, they……
Everyone in this place answers with the yell of their fighting spirit. One by one, they receive my training towards their performance and the cooking instructions. With this pace, we can somehow prepare everything up to the real event in time, I’m sure.
I wonder if you can buy me some stews? ????? https://ko-fi.com/isecai
I think the “new method” that Kurt keeps saying refers to the shikabushi. We knew that bouillon de legumes is a long standing tradition!
The reason why Kurt uses parmesan escapes me though. Is it good?
That being said, I wonder how they taste differently to one of my staple vegetable dish that looks eerily similar here in SE Asia… Maybe not different at all? We eat them fresh instead of after being slow cooked for a whole day though… I wonder if that makes all the differences. 🙂