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374 The Olfactory Sense Five Times an Ordinary Person

 Yuan Zhou stepped into the banquet hall. It was brightly lit inside and everything was laid out orderly. There was only a long empty long table. Standing along the edges of the banquet hall were girls dressed in black formal dresses. Each of them were pretty and good-looking.

In front of the long table were three judges, their nameplates were Chairman of China Chefs' Alliance, Research Doctorate of Precious Food Ingredients, and Great Reviewer of Food, respectively.

Each of them appeared to be very famous. Except for the first chairman, however, the other two seemed to be no more than 40 years old in their prime.

"It turns out to be true that chefs have a certain requirement on age." Yuan Zhou suddenly thought of the royal chef that retired.

He turned his head and then saw the contestant chefs. They were quite conspicuous as they all wore blue silk ribbons on their wrist, like a decoration, while those who came to watch the competition nevertheless wore red ones. As a result, people would find it easy to recognize them correctly.

Chefs attending the contest were all fantastic masters, therefore, many of them basically knew each other. They stood together in twos and threes and chatted leisurely.

However, those who had unique and independent characters were only six people.

One was the solitary person, Yuan Zhou, who knew nobody at all. Although he wanted to verify his culinary skills, he wouldn't greet other unknown chefs rashly. He just took a cup of water and stood at the side silently.

The arrogant person Chu Xiao, however, stood at the forefront with an influential aura. He revealed a hidden meaning of "You are all nobodies!" from every inch of his body, which made people dare not to approach him and also blocked many people that wanted to get to know him.

After all, senior chefs always had their own pride. No one would like to go up and seek embarrassment.

The others were, naturally, Lee Yanyi and Xing Min who would surely argue with each other whenever they met. The air between them was fairly tense. Therefore, their students had to comfort them respectively nervously.

Xin Min said again, "Old fellow, let's have a contest between men if you are really capable."

"An aged man still thinks himself a young man in the green?" Lee Yanyi gave a cold look at Xin Min, without an extra glance.

Then, Xin Min became irritated again and their students started to calm them down again.

However, the person who was really nervous about that was Xing Min's assistant. Because every time Lee Yanyi got offended, he would give a fatal answer indifferently, which made Xing Min angrier.

Once the time went to 9:05, an old man whose nameplate had a title of "Chairman of China Chefs' Alliance" stood up.

"Everyone, now I invite you to come and look at these food ingredients. Communication comes before the competition," the aged man said vigorously.

Once he spoke, the contestants immediately stopped talking and then started to listen to him carefully.

"That's right. Communication comes first." The major chefs chimed in one after another.

"Yeah. Anyway, I will be the winner. That's definitely out of doubt." Chu Xiao's words instantly made all speechless.

"This young man is really young and aggressive! The winner might have been you in previous years. However, this year, that isn't for sure." Lee Yanyi humphed and said bluntly.

"Oh? Do you mean it's probably him?" Chu Xiao looked at Lee Yanyi earnestly with his fingers pointing at Yuan Zhou.

Chairman Mao had once said that, "Believe that you can triumph over your opponents but never underestimate them."

Although Chu Xiao didn't despise Yuan Zhou, he didn't attach enough importance to him. He was just a little bit interested.

"You are right." Lee Yanyi nodded his head.

Nonetheless, Chu Xiao only smiled faintly and had no other reaction.

"I'm sorry. I don't like to be pointed at by others. Please put your finger down. Making an empty show of strength could only make you weaker. Besides, you shouldn't use your fingers when it has nothing to do with the cuisines." Yuan Zhou frowned and said with a solemn expression.

"Oh?" On hearing that, Chu Xiao looked toward Yuan Zhou with a surprised manner.

"I think we can get started now. I'm No. 4. What about you?" Yuan Zhou didn't actually pay attention to Chu Xiao's gaze which was showing slight interest, but just asked straightway.

"Do you want to compete against me?" Chu Xiao felt a little funny.

Ever since he made a name for himself, no one had dared to compete against him on this aspect, because his olfactory sense was five times more sensitive than ordinary people. After his continuous training, he could distinguish the origin, time, maturity degree, and freshness of each food ingredient. On that aspect, no one could outmatch him.

"You are wrong. This is the true meaning of the contest." Yuan Zhou said calmly, without any desire to win.

"You seem to be quite confident. So it was the difficult problem at the door that gave you confidence?" Of course, Chu Xiao recognized Yuan Zhou's confidence in winning the contest; therefore, he said with a joking tone.

"I think the contest should commence now. After all, it isn't good to waste time." Yuan Zhou didn't pay any attention to Chu Xiao anymore. Instead, he just checked the time on his phone and said lightly.

"Interesting." Chu Xiao didn't really care about Yuan Zhou's silence. With a gaze showing interest, he just lowered his head and touched his cuff.

"Yeah, this Master is right. We ought to start the contest now." Seeing the several people confront each other with daggers, the chairman of China Chefs' Alliance didn't stop them but only came out to quell the incident when Yuan Zhou reminded him.

It wasn't because he attached no importance to this contest, but because he believed that young chefs should naturally have their own air of arrogance and pride. Besides, they would never go overboard as these old men were still there.

If they didn't care about these things at all, most of these people would probably not make such progress.

After all, only the reasonable desire to excel over others would enable people to improve.

"The first round will start with this stuff. Master No. 1, please come over here and tell the answers." The chairman directly signaled that the contest was to start.

This contest had a very weird rule that was different from others.

It had no judges but also had judges because the contest was about who knew more food ingredients.

The organization committee of the contest would first select 500 food ingredients. Then the contestants from No. 1 to 12 were required to go up to distinguish the origin, maturity, and the time that was most suitable for the ingredient to be made into a dish. The first ingredient would be distinguished by Master No. 1. If he made it, the next master would distinguish the next ingredient. If he didn't make it, the next master would continue to distinguish the first ingredient.

If he didn't succeed for three continuous times, he would be eliminated. When the food ingredients were all distinguished, the remaining contestants would attend the contest on the next day.

Such a method was actually not fair, but the chairman believed that luck was also a part of one's capability, therefore the number 4 obtained by Yuan Zhou was a good one.

However, Chu Xiao's number was even ahead of Yuan Zhou's. He was No. 2.

What appeared first were several greenish-blue wild peppers, which were fairly easy to be distinguished.

The contestant No. 1 was a tall young man who wore a pair of big glasses and looked rather ordinary. He went up calmly and observed it carefully. According to the rules, he could neither touch it nor get close to smell. About 1 minute later, he started to speak without stopping.

"Wild pepper, also called Zanthoxylum schinifolium, Zanthoxylum armatum, Zanthoxy piperitum, cayenne pepper and red peppercorns. It even appeared in some ancient poems. It's best used for cooking dishes with a fragrant and spicy taste. The wild pepper in red or greenish-blue color can both be used. The maturity season is from July to September."

"As for the origin of the wild pepper, judging from its strong fragrance, it's supposed to be produced from the area of Chengdu. The taste of the wild pepper there is the most authentic." The young man in glasses said that confidently and after that, he prepared to step back.

"I'm sorry, but I can't agree." Chu Xiao took a step forward and said straightforwardly.

Yuan Zhou nevertheless just stood there silently and had no reaction. Instead, he was more interested in the several people that suddenly entered the scene.