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Food Wars: Tavern

In the bustling city, there is a tavern that operates only between 7 PM and 12 AM. The food here is fancy and delicious, but surprisingly not expensive! Any ordinary ingredient, when in the hands of the owner Zane, shines brightly. Many people go crazy and become obsessed with his cooking! ----------- This novel is a chill, slice-of-life novel. 10 advance chapters: patreon.com/angelictranslating

AngelicTL · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
177 Chs

Zane's Cuisine Can Change Everyone

Thump, thump!

The beef continued to twitch.

Having been freshly slaughtered, the A5-grade beef still had nerves around the muscle fibers that hadn't completely died, and adenosine triphosphate inside hadn't been fully depleted.

Thus, with slight external stimulation, the beef could still twitch—this is known as the "postmortem reflex."

Ikumi took a deep breath to calm herself.

Then, she gripped her carving knife tightly, focused her gaze, and swiftly chopped down, skillfully slicing through the large chunk of A5-grade beef.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!

Bright flashes of the knife passed in a blur.

Ikumi, appearing unfazed, sheathed her carving knife with a slight smirk.

With a "click," the tantalizing A5-grade beef began to crack.

Ultimately, to everyone's amazement, it transformed into beautifully cut pieces like rose petals, falling onto the cutting board at a visible speed.

These pieces of beef, shining under the light, looked glossy and stunning—simply beautiful!

"Now for the main event."

After speaking, Ikumi cut several pieces of butter and added them to the hot pan.

She didn't add any more oil; instead, she used a low heat to render the fat, aiming for a "fight fire with fire" effect.

Once the pan sizzled, she quickly added the freshly cut beef slices.

She cooked the beef over high heat just until it was barely pink in the center, then added finely chopped onions, continuing to stir-fry.

Once the onions softened and the beef was just cooked, she added a small dish of sugar and mixed well.

Gradually, after adding the sugar,

The beef and onions in the pan began to stick and color.

...

"Sugar, under high heat, creates two types of substances."

"One is small molecular aldehydes and ketones from the breakdown of its internal structure, which then condense further."

"Through this caramelization reaction, the moisture inside the beef is instantly sealed, creating the perfect temperature for the Maillard reaction to occur."

"And, the sugar also tenderizes the beef's fibrous tissues."

"It makes the beef even more tender to eat."

"It's odd."

"Why would Ikumi think of this?"

"With her remarkable ability to control temperature, shouldn't she first control the heat and directly extract the flavor of the beef through roasting?"

From her guest room, Erina watched every move of Ikumi's, murmuring to herself.

Meanwhile, Soma was also busy.

He began by crushing garlic into a paste, slicing onions, then heating a pan with cold oil, adding the garlic and onions, and cooking until the onions were just done.

He sequentially added soy sauce, dark soy, black pepper, salt, sugar, a good amount of cumin seeds, then stirred and added cold water, boiling it before adding the fatty beef.

He then laid the cooked beef and onions over rice, finally drizzling some broth over and garnishing with scallions and pickled plums.

Lastly, he prepared a soft-poached egg, placing it on top to finish.

...

Sizzle! Sizzle!

When a bottle of high-alcohol white wine was poured into the scalding hot oil, it made a "sizzle" sound.

Instantly, a thick vapor, no, water vapor, rose rapidly, spreading in all directions until it engulfed the entire competition venue!

"Hmm?"

"This aroma..."

Just after finishing his rice bowl dish, Soma, before he could celebrate, quickly turned his attention to Ikumi's side.

The scene before him was indeed shocking, and he couldn't help but think:

All this for a rice bowl dish, is such exaggeration necessary, even creating a "smoke bomb" effect.

"White wine? Plus the earlier sugar."

"These two combined create effects like enhancing color, enriching flavor, removing gamey tastes, increasing elasticity, extending preservation, and keeping the meat moist and tender..."

"No, she's making a type of mirin-like specialty seasoning!"

Quickly, Erina, whose mind was racing, was also shocked to the point of nearly dislocating her jaw.

Only then did she realize that such a dish couldn't possibly originate from her, Ikumi, but... that pub owner, Zane!

Continue high heat to let the alcohol evaporate cleanly, preserving the aroma of the rice wine without the bitterness of alcohol.

Then add soy sauce, switch to low heat, add a large bowl of water, just enough to slightly cover the ingredients.

Since she's using fresh A5-grade beef, which is harder to cook than the fatty beef Soma used, adding some water to stew will create a rich, sweet broth.

Finally, serve the freshly cooked rice in a ceramic bowl, then layer it generously with the juicy beef and onions.

The substantial serving of A5-grade beef rice bowl is complete!

...

"Let's move to the judging phase."

"First up, let's have Soma, who finished his dish first, present his rice bowl to the five judges for tasting!"

Following Rindou Kobayashi's cue, Soma hurriedly brought his beef rice bowl forward.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Soma's 'Evolution Version 4 of Yukihira Style Poached Egg Beef Rice Bowl'!"

The dish name might sound a bit convoluted and juvenile.

But upon seeing the rice bowl, the judges were impressed.

Who would have thought that merely using scraps of fatty beef could make such a tantalizing rice bowl dish.

Thus, they eagerly picked up their bowls, first sniffing them out of habit, then breaking the poached egg to let the runny yolk mix with the beef, onions, and rice.

...

Cheap and unassuming—that's the hallmark of Soma's cooking.

Even though such dishes wouldn't normally stand a chance on the grand stage of Totsuki's Shokugeki.

But the melt-in-your-mouth beef, the sweet and tender rice, the sweet and sour pickled plums... every ingredient was the "star."

In everyone's mouth, they performed a spectacular story!

"Sss!"

"This... this..."

"The fatty beef is so rich and tender, it tastes incredibly fresh!"

"Yes, the word 'delicious' doesn't even start to cover it. To taste such a dish in my lifetime is truly a fortune!"

"This kind of dish doesn't even need seasoning; just the rice alone, and I could eat several bowls."

"Huh?"

"These little brown specks, are... pickled plums?"

"Indeed, the ingredients used are nothing special, quite ordinary, even just scraps."

"But with the right combination, plus some inspiration from sukiyaki in using a poached egg to balance the greasiness of the beef and enhance the freshness of the onions and the stickiness of the rice, it reaches a level of refreshing deliciousness."

"No, no, no, I think the key here is the pickled plums."

"Right, the pickled plums are simply a stroke of genius!"

At this point, the judges were gobbling up the dish, praising as they ate.

Before long, the rice bowl Soma made was completely devoured, not even a grain of rice left.

...

White wine! Sugar! Rice vinegar! Beef juice!

And those rose petal-like pieces of A5-grade beef.

When Ikumi's beef rice bowl was presented, it seemed to glow under the light.

This made all the judges pause.

They had just eaten Soma's rice bowl and were quite full.

Yet, seeing such a rice bowl, a strange hunger resurfaced. Finally, they couldn't resist and began scooping up mouthfuls of beef and rice.

The moment it touched their palates, they could feel the silky, rich taste of the beef.

With a gentle bite, a rich burst of juice "spurted" in the mouth.

And the fresh onions, the soft rice, and the special soy sauce, along with the combination of white wine and sugar...

Hmm, just two words:

Absolute perfection!

...

"Incredible!"

"Is this still the beef rice bowl I remember?"

"I thought the highlight would be the A5-grade beef, but I realized that wasn't the case when I tasted it."

"The caramelization of the sugar makes the beef even tastier after the Maillard reaction."

"And looking at how the onions softened and the beef was perfectly rare, the control of heat was impeccable."

"Then to add white wine at just the right moment, to bring out the flavors of all ingredients, merging and resonating with each other."

"This dish might look simple, but it contains an endless depth of flavor!"

"Satisfying!"

"Truly satisfying!"

"The A5-grade beef lives up to its reputation, and the skill of the Ikumi family is astonishing!"

"I can't analyze further."

"I need to eat, I need more..."

Clearly, Ikumi's beef rice bowl.

Almost instantly upon tasting, it conquered all the high-ranking judges.

...

If Soma's rice bowl represented a fearless matador,

Then Ikumi's cooking was like a bull's strength and made fiercely aggressive.

It used the most ruthless and brutal force to knock the matador flying, achieving an instant victory!

Finally, the judging phase ended.

And when the screen showed a 5:0 result, the whole venue buzzed.

Soma had been completely defeated!

"That was thrilling, though it was a clean sweep by Ikumi."

"But that Soma only lost because he didn't understand beef as profoundly as Ikumi."

"If he had used the same quality A5-grade beef, it might have been a different story. Hisako, it was you who leaked the info about the pub to Ikumi, right?"

Having watched the entire match, Erina turned to look deeply at Hisako, asking softly.

"Yes,

 Miss Nakiri."

Hisako didn't hesitate and nodded immediately.

"No wonder." Erina sighed, "Previously, she was too obsessed with the quality and handling of meat."

"It seems that Zane's cooking can indeed influence everyone, even changing Ikumi to produce a more balanced dish, not just focused on 'meat.'"

"Miss, to be honest,"

"I didn't expect such a change in her after just one visit to the pub."

Hisako agreed deeply.

...

"Well, the match is over."

"The Donburi Research Society is now redundant. Notify them."

"Right away, Miss Nakiri."

Following Erina's orders, Hisako promptly contacted the demolition team by phone.

And so, another research society at Totsuki was utterly wiped out.

Although Erina's methods might seem despicable,

On the surface, she was addressing Totsuki's financial issues by removing these "cancers" clinging to the academy.

Yet, everyone knew that although Erina possessed the divine tongue and was a prodigy who entered the Elite Ten as the top student from the junior high section,

Her position as the tenth seat of the Elite Ten was still considered the lowest.

Thus, she had to seize others' resources to compete for other Elite Ten positions.

At this moment, seeing the 5:0 score on the screen, Soma felt as if an invisible knife had stabbed deep into his heart, causing immense pain.

This was his first taste of "failure" since entering Totsuki, and it was understandably hard to accept.

But no matter how regretful or unwilling he was, it was useless.

He could only gather his feelings of loss, approaching Kojiro to apologize, "Senior Shinomiya, I'm sorry, I couldn't win this culinary battle, and now the Donburi Research Society..."

"It's okay, you don't have to blame yourself."

"This outcome was to be expected."

"Besides, even if you had defeated Ikumi, it would have only angered Miss Nakiri even more."

Shinomiya managed a slight smile and said bitterly, "Soma, I truly appreciate your efforts."

...

"It's my lack of skill."

"Last night, Grandmother Fumio mentioned that my cooking's flaw lies in the beef."

"But exactly what breakthrough I needed in terms of beef, due to the rush of time, I hadn't figured out."

"I thought of using some scraps instead, focusing on the ingredients like pickled plums, poached eggs, rice, onions, etc., hoping that might defeat her. But..."

"I didn't expect her to do the same, focusing elsewhere rather than on the beef!"

After speaking, Soma sighed deeply.

Perhaps at this moment, he finally understood the warnings from Satoshi and why his father, Joichiro, had sent him to Totsuki.

"Totsuki Academy is indeed an interesting place."

"Dad, I used to focus solely on defeating you, thinking that would be enough to take over Restaurant Yukihira. Now, I see how naive that was!"

At this moment, Soma's eyes deepened, reflecting a maturity and understanding far beyond before.

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For 10 advance chapters: patreon.com/angelictranslating